Verzuz, the live streaming platform based on performances by pairs of legendary artists in Hip-Hop and R&B, has been a massive hit since being spearheaded by music producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March 2020.
However, initial skepticism over Verzuz‘s partnership with Triller and how it will impact the future of the platform has reared its head again following reports that fans would have to pay to watch the forthcoming Verzuz battle, creating an uproar amongst longtime supporters of the series.
Consecutive posts on the official Instagram account for Verzuz broke the news while promoting tonight’s (Feb. 15) battle between R&B stars Anthony Hamilton and Musiq Soulchild. The posts stated that viewers would have to sign up for a subscription with the service and that the performance would not be available to watch on Instagram Live as has been the case since the inception of Verzuz more than two years ago.
“To watch, sign up NOW for the #TrillerVerzPass (14-Day trial* included (*trial offer expires on 2/11!! DON’T WAIT!!)) LINK IN BIO!!!” read the first post, which included a comment stating “THIS VERZUZ WILL NOT BE ON IG.”
However, after catching wind of the backlash, Swizz Beatz hopped on Instagram to set the record straight, refuting the change in programming while informing the public that the battle between Hamilton and Soulchild will occur as previously scheduled and will remain on IG Live.
“See y’all rite here tomorrow on insta @verzuztv,” wrote Swizz, adding, “You can also watch in HD on verzuztv.com. I was out the country don’t ask me who did it. It’s fixed.”
Swizz’s declaration led to a huge exhale from a large contingent of fans who felt the platform had gone corporate and abandoned the faithful fans who helped build Verzuz from a quarantine past-time into one of the fastest-growing events in the music world, regularly attracting millions of viewers.
We understand the old adage that money talks and that few things in life are free, still, we hope Swizz, Timbo, Verzuz, and Triller can find a happy medium between growing the business and catering to the fanbase that helped make the partnership possible in the first place.