“VERZUZ has always been a platform that is by the artists, for the artists and with the people,” Swizz Beatz and Timbaland said in a statement. “We are pleased to reach an amicable agreement with Triller and continue to provide fans with the music and community they have come to know and love from the brand.”
Triller, a TikTok-like app that allows users to create and share short videos, announced in March 2021 that it would pay an undisclosed amount in cash and equity to acquire Verzuz, the pandemic-era hit in which two artists battle in live streaming. music match. Under the original deal, the Grammy-winning producers and entrepreneurs joined Triller Verzuz’s management team to help oversee music and other corporate strategies. The deal also made Timbaland and Swizz Beatz major shareholders in Triller and allocated a portion of their ownership to the 46 artists who had performed on Verzuz prior to the acquisition. Now, according to the settlement, these artists will now have an increased ownership stake in the company.
Artists who became shareholders and partners under the original deal included John Legend, DMX, Alicia Keys, Ashanti, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Too $hort, Patti LaBelle, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, E-40, Bounty Killer, D’ Angelo, Ludacris, RZA, The Dream, Babyface, Nelly, Jagged Edge, Keyshia Cole, Fred Hammond, Jadakiss, Fabolous, Brandy, Monica, Gladys Knight, Boi-1da, Hit-Boy, Ne-Yo, Johnta Austin, Teddy Riley , Scott Storch, T-Pain, Lil Jon, DJ Premier, Mannie Fresh, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, 112, Kirk Franklin, Sean Garrett and D’Angelo.
On Aug. 16, Timbaland (Timothy Mosley) and Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Daoud Dean) filed a $28 million lawsuit, claiming that Triller failed to pay them the money promised in the agreement. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Triller claimed the two hitmakers had already been paid “over $50 million in cash and stock to date” and that the company believed the pair had yet to meet certain required thresholds for further payments.
Further details of the settlement were not disclosed.
“VERZUZ and Thriller will always be a safe place and outlet for creators and their art. Nothing will change that,” they said Bobby Sarnevesht, Triller’s executive chairman and co-founder, in a statement. “The creators started this and will continue to build it. This is a triumphant moment in the Triller and VERZUZ relationship as we march together toward the public markets. Stay tuned.”
After launching in 2015, Triller emerged in 2020 as a competitor to TikTok when the Trump administration said it was considering banning the popular social media service from the US market due to its ties to the Chinese government. Triller – whose investors include Snoop Dogg, The Weeknd and Marshmello – made aggressive moves to compete with TikTok by courting influencers to the platform, but also experienced severe hiccups. Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, pulled his catalog from the platform in February 2021 over royalty issues before eventually settling the case and restoring the songs a few months later. The service too was accused of — and then rejected — increasing the number of users just weeks before it was expected to go public as part of a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) merger.
The SPAC merger didn’t happen, but recently Triller has made another play to go public. After canceling a proposed $5 billion merger with video technology company SeaChange International in June, the company filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering.
Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s lawsuit wasn’t the first time this year that Triller has been accused of not paying his bills. In June, boxing reporter Dan Rafael reported that Triller had not fully paid several fighters from a fight in May 2022. And earlier this month, Washington Post reported that Triller had a spotty history of paying black influencers who had been recruited to join the platform; the company strongly denied these claims.
Recently, Sony filed a lawsuit against the video-sharing social networking app, claiming it owed millions of dollars in unpaid licensing fees as well as copyright infringement for using its music after receiving a termination notice and failing to pull the company’s music catalog from the platform.
Thriller is too facing a lawsuit from smartphone app consulting firm Phiture, which has accused the company of failing to pay more than $130,000 it is owed under a service contract it signed with Triller in March 2021.