Triller settles lawsuit filed by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz over Verzuz payments

Credit: Solen Feyissa

Video-sharing app Triller, a US-based challenger to TikTok, has settled a lawsuit filed by superstar producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz over alleged missed payments from their song battle platform Verzuz.

The settlement was reported by Variety on Thursday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the parties reportedly said that the settlement “will increase the ownership stake given to the artists that Timbaland and Swizz Beatz brought to Triller as part of the original deal.”

“Verzuz and Triller will always be a safe place and outlet for creators and their art. Nothing will change that… Nothing will change that. Creators started this and will continue building it. This is a victorious moment in the Triller and Verzuz relationship as we march together toward the public markets. Stay tuned,” Triller’s Executive Chairman and co-founder, Bobby Sarnevesht, was quoted by Variety as saying.

The lawsuit is in relation to Triller’s acquisition of Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s song battle seeries Verzuz in early 2021.

The duo launched Verzuz on Instagram Live in March 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns. They then signed a partnership with Apple Music in July of the same year before Triller offered to buy out Verzuz in January 2021.

On August 15, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz (real names Timothy Mosley and Kaseem Daoud Dean ) filed a lawsuit against Triller in a Los Angeles court, claiming that the latter missed one of its required payments in January after closing the deal a year earlier.

The lawsuit, Rolling Stone reported at the time, alleged that Triller failed to make payments to Timbaland and Swizz Beatz in March 2021 and in the following 10 months.

Most recently, both parties reportedly reached an “amicable agreement,” while pledging to “continue giving fans the music and community that they’ve come to know and love from the brand.”

“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 cited by Variety.

The Verzuz webcast has since hosted a number of rap battles including between R&B stars Mario and Omarion, singers Teddy Riley and Babyface, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, Brandy and Monica, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle. Ludacris and Nelly, as well as Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane also held battles via Verzuz.

Last year, Verzuz partnered with the NFL for a four-day event called ‘The NFL Pro Bowl Verzuz’ where NFL stars went head to head for 10 rounds showing their on and off-field highlights from the 2020 season.

“Swizz Beatz and Timbaland remain proud of the platform that they created with Verzuz and its acquisition by Triller due to the company’s willingness to celebrate and showcase artists,” according to the joint statement.

The settlement with Verzuz marks a sigh of relief for Triller after the company has been hit with several lawsuits at a time when it seeks to become a publicly listed company.

Less than a month ago, German consultancy firm Phiture sued Triller for unpaid services under their agreement signed in March 2021. The deal includes a license to use Phiture’s optimization client software that improves the placement of Triller’s app on the Google Play store and Apple’s App Store.

Phiture is seeking $132,686 in the lawsuit.

Nearly a month ago, Sony Music Entertainment also filed a legal action against Triller in the US for its alleged illegal use of Sony Music’s copyrighted sound recordings on the Triller platform.

In June, Triller called off its planned IPO via merger with video advertising software provider SeaChange International and instead decided to launch its own IPO. The company is targeting a listing by the third quarter of this year.

“The Triller IPO will be the largest creator IPO in history,” Mahi de Silva, Triller’s Chief Executive Officer, said in June.

Triller counts Metallica and Snoop Dogg among its backers.Music Business Worldwide

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