If a theme song was needed for what’s happening with the popular music platform, Verzuz, then cue Dr. Dre’s “Next Episode.”
In a recent development from Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, all is not copasetic with the folks at Triller. The musical duo has sued the social media app for breach of contract to the tune of $28 million.
Trouble In The Land
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit claims that Triller started defaulting on payments in January 2022. Since the initial missed payment, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland agreed to a settlement in February. In that agreement, Triller was required to pay $9 million to both men by March 17. After that, the social media company would owe an additional $500,000 on the first of each month for the next ten months.
Additionally, the timeline for this payment arrangement would have been expedited if a proposed merger with SeaChange International closed. The settlement agreement also included $120,000 for Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s legal fees. However, the deal was allegedly not held up.
“To date, Defendants have failed and refused to make any payment to [Swizz Beatz and Timbaland] of the past due sums due and owing,” the court documents read.
Not Necessarily New To This
Accusations of non-payment are not a new occurrence for Triller. According to a previous report from AfroTech, the company announced a partnership with Black Creators worth $14 million. This effort was a response to Black content creators’ complaints against rival social media app Tik Tok for not paying them what they were worth.
However, sources have claimed that Triller was allegedly in breach of those contracts after several months into the program without payment.
How It All Began
In March 2021, it was announced that Swizz Beatz and Timbaland would join the Triller management team as part of an equity deal when the social media app acquired Verzuz.
During the early acquisition phase, the deal seemed beneficial to all parties.
“At the end of the day, Triller and Verzuz have always shared a very similar mantra which is, ‘by the artist, for the artist,’ with the people,” Triller boss Ryan Kavanaugh shared with AfroTech. “I don’t think anybody in the music business does that today – they can say that but don’t really do that.”
The Path Forward
Swizz Beatz and Timbaland look to recoup lost payments for the platform they built amid the height of the pandemic. According to Rolling Stone, Triller seeks a resolution that works for both parties.
“This is truly unfortunate, and we hope it is nothing more than a misunderstanding driven by lawyers,” Triller noted in a statement to Rolling Stone. “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. 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. If we are forced to defend it, we are more than optimistic the truth and facts are on our side.”