the makers sold Verzuz to Triller more than a year prior to the lawsuit.
Timbaland and Swizz Beats sued social networking app Triller for $28 million, claiming that since Triller bought their rap battle show Verzuz last year, the firm has repeatedly failed to make payments to the two producers.
Swizz and Timbaland, whose real names are Kaseem Daoud Dean and Timothy Mosley, claim in the lawsuit that they have been attempting to obtain the remaining proceeds from the transaction since the start of 2022. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday. Triller “unconditionally and unconditionally guaranteed to Mosley and Dean the payment and performance of Triller Hold’s obligations under that agreement and related agreements” with the Verzuz acquisition, the lawsuit claimed. Dean and Mosley and Triller did not reveal the purchase’s value at the time of the transaction. How much Triller has already paid the two Verzuz founders is unknown.
Both Dean and Mosley’s representatives turned down Rolling Stone’s request for a comment.
Verzuz was developed by Dean and Mosley during the start of the pandemic, and it quickly gained popularity as artists and viewers turned to the programme while confined to their homes during quarantine. From informal rap fights on Instagram Live, it swiftly developed into a full-fledged media firm showcasing higher-quality productions, attracting millions of viewers, and presenting special content for the NFL’s 2021 Pro Bowl. According to a previous Rolling Stone article, at its peak, a Verzuz appearance could increase an artist’s streaming by as much as 250 percent.
In 2020, Verzuz signed a contract with Apple, and in 2021, Triller purchased the show in search of content to counter TikTok. According to the lawsuit, as part of their original agreement, Triller was supposed to pay Dean and Mosley both soon after the deal and on the first and second anniversaries of the purchase. Triller officially closed the Verzuz purchase on January 21, 2021. Triller allegedly paid the pair in January and April 2021, but on January 28, 2022, the business allegedly failed to make its subsequent due payment.
Triller allegedly entered into a new payment settlement agreement with Mosley and Dean in February, and Triller paid its first payment under the new arrangement. Triller was seeking $100 million, under the deal, before paying the producers. Next that February payment, Triller was required by the new contract to give the couple $18 million by March 17th, then $1 million per month for the following 10 months, until a total of $28 million had been paid. Triller allegedly skipped all those payments, according to the lawsuit.
For Triller, the lawsuit is merely the most recent incident in a long line of claims that the company is not fairly compensating creators for their work on its platform. Numerous Black content creators claim that Triller lured them to the service from TikTok with promises of a huge business potential only for Triller to pay them inconsistently, according to a lengthy investigation published last week in the Washington Post.
According to the Post, those creators are currently threatened with eviction from their apartments due to mounting debt. Additionally, Universal Music Group withdrew its music from Triller last year on the grounds that it was not paying artists for the use of their music. (The two businesses reached a new licencing arrangement by May 2021 for UMG’s music on Triller.)
Mahi de Silva, the CEO of Triller, stated the company “has met its financial commitments to the creators in this programme and will do so” in a statement to the Post about the creator programme. We particularly take satisfaction in our part in developing a platform that honours Black creator material, he told the publication. No other media has contributed as much to this frequently ignored and underrepresented sector of the creator economy as Triller has.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Triller said that he is “more than optimistic” that the truth and the facts are on his side and that the company intends to “resolve this amicably and soon.”
The corporation responded, “This is extremely terrible and we hope it is nothing more than a misunderstanding caused by attorneys.” “We don’t want to air our dirty laundry in the media, but Swizz and Tim received millions from us in cash and shares. Triller has so far helped no one as much.