Update: 3:10 p.m. ET (Sept. 24, 2022) – Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have settled their lawsuit with Triller. Read more about it here.
Original story below…
Verzuz founders Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have filed a $28 million lawsuit against Triller, accusing the streamer platform of missing multiple payments. According to the suit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday (Aug. 16), Triller has failed to properly compensate the producers per the terms agreed to upon the platform’s acquisition of Verzuz in January 2021. In addition to the $28 million, Swizz and Timbaland are also seeking $95,000 as interest, as well as attorneys’ fees, and other costs.
The suit alleges that Triller “unequivocally and unconditionally guaranteed to Mosley and Dean the payment and performance of Triller Hold’s obligations under that agreement and related agreements,” but have failed to uphold those terms. The Verzuz founders’ legal team also claims Triller has “failed and refused to respond to plaintiffs’ written notice and demand for payment,” and has “continued in default of their payment obligations.”
Triller has since responded to the suit in a statement to the NY Post. “We hope it is nothing more than a misunderstanding driven by lawyers,” the platform said. “We do not wish to air our dirty laundry in the press, but we have paid Swizz and Tim millions in cash and in stock.” Triller also acknowledged the success Verzuz has experienced while working with the company and voiced its desire to continue its business relationship with Swizz and Timbo.
“No one has benefited as much from Triller to date. Triller has helped fuel Verzuz to new heights – making it the global cultural phenomenon it is today. We hope to resolve this amicably and quickly, and truly hope it’s just a misunderstanding.” However, Triller also noted its willingness to take their legal battle to court and the company’s confidence that there has been no wrongdoing on its part. “If we are forced to defend it, we are more than optimistic the truth and facts are on our side.”
Upon Triller’s acquisition of Verzuz, the company agreed to pay Swizz and Timbaland in multiple installments, with the first payment due one week after the deal, as well as on the first and second anniversary of the agreement. Triller made payments to Swizz and Timbaland in January and April 2021 but defaulted on the first-anniversary payment due on Jan. 28, 2022. After agreeing to a new payment structure in February, Triller made a payout to Verzuz that same month and was to pay $18 million by March 17, with $1 million due each month for the subsequent 10 months for a total of $28 million. However, according to the suit, Triller has failed to meet the terms of that new agreement and have not since paid.
The terms of the original agreement between Triller and Verzuz have yet to be disclosed, and it’s unclear how much Swizz and Timbaland have been compensated thus far. News of the fallout between Triller and Verzuz is the latest instance of the company being accused of failing to uphold their contractual agreements. Dozens of Black creators on Triller have publicized their own issues about compensation after being recruited to create content for the platform in an attempt to compete against popular social media platform Tik Tok.