Much of the global economy is in disarray and major entertainment industries are having a tough time of things: Witness the US movie Box Office, where monthly September revenue is set to fall to its lowest point in 25 years (outside the pandemic).
In the music industry, however, the big money keeps on moving.
Meanwhile, in the past 48 hours, Triller – the oft-controversial TikTok rival– has confirmed that it’s secured a binding USD $310 million investment from GEM (Global Emerging Markets), a Luxembourg based alternative investment group.
Confirming the deal this week, US-based Triller reiterated that it now expects to execute a public listing on the stock exchange in Q4 2022, and claimed that it’s on track to clear $100 million in revenue this year.
Under the new agreement, GEM will provide Triller with up to $310 million in equity capital for a 36-month term following a public listing of Triller’s common stock. (Or to put it in simpler terms: Triller has agreed to sell a bunch of stock to GEM for $310 million post-flotation.)
Triller said in a media statement that it is not obligated to draw the full $310 million from the GEM agreement but can do so in part or in whole at its discretion.
Triller added that it intends to use the capital “to make additional acquisitions to strengthen [our] toolbox for the creator community and reach break-even or profitability in the short-term”.
Triller confirmed that, if it banks the full $310 million equity facility from GEM, it will have raised more than USD $600 million to date. The company added that drawing the full $310 million would also mean “upon [our] IPO, [we] will be virtually debt free.”
One potentially costly event could possibly put a wrinkle in that plan: Triller is currently being sued by Sony Music Entertainment. The major music company claims that Triller used its recordings without a license, as well as “fail[ing] and refus[ing] to pay millions of dollars in contractual licensing fees”.
Earlier this month, Triller settled a separate lawsuit with Timbaland and Swizz Beatz; the producer duo alleged that they were owed missed payments following Triller’s acquisition of their song battle platform Verzuz in 2021.
Regarding the GEM deal, Triller claims that it will “control both the timing and amount of all drawdowns and will issue stock to GEM on each drawn down from the facility”. Triller will also issue warrants to GEM.
“Triller has been growing tremendously,” said Mahi de Silva, CEO and Chairman of Triller. “At our inception in 2019, we were a zero-revenue company; now we are on track to break $100 million in revenue this year.
“The Triller app has been downloaded more than 350 million times, and the company works with dozens of the world’s largest brands and thousands of top artists, disrupting the entire creator community.”
Triller claims to currently run 10 separate business lines, “eight of which are at break-even or profitable”. Those sub-businesses incorporate acquired companies/platforms such as Verzuz, Amplify.ai, Thuzio, Fangage, and Julius.
Triller says that it now attracts 750 million separate user interactions per quarter “each of which is a potential monetizable transaction for the company in the future”.
“The reason the [entertainment streaming] industry is so set on MAU, DAU and the like is that is how much time someone spends within one company’s particular closed garden and means that the social networks ‘own’ the user, revenue, brand and information. Triller breaks that system wide open.”
Mahi de Silva, Triller
“Triller is breaking all the rules of the closed garden systems. It is challenging the way the old establishment takes advantage of creators and users by keeping 99 percent of the money within the system for itself,” added De Silva.
“The reason the industry is so set on MAU, DAU and the like is that is how much time someone spends within one company’s particular closed garden and means that the social networks ‘own’ the user, revenue, brand and information.
“Triller breaks that system wide open. As an open garden, our goal is to put the power back in the hands of the creators and users, allowing creators and brands to connect directly.
“We provide tools to maximize those connections and how well each can be monetized. In addition, looking at the number of interactions we facilitate helps us to forecast future revenue since each one of those is a potential transaction fee for us.”
Triller says its journey to the Nasdaq is going smoothly. The firm filed a private S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month. This week, it said it was submitting what it anticipates being its final S-1 concurrently with the closing of the GEM facility.
Global Emerging Markets (“GEM”) is a $3.4 billion, Luxembourg based private alternative investment group with offices in Paris, New York and The Bahamas.
It manages a set of investment vehicles typically focused on emerging markets and has completed over 530 transactions in over 70 countries.Music Business Worldwide