Triller Acquires ‘Verzuz,’ Adds Co-Creators Timbaland and Swizz Beatz to Executive Roster

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Short-form video-sharing app (and prominent TikTok competitor) Triller has purchased Verzuz, a livestream music-competition program created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz.

Triller and Verzuz TV took to social media today to unveil the buyout, which arrives about one year after the latter’s debut amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither party revealed the precise financial terms of the transaction, but the deal encompasses an outright acquisition of Verzuz, and “EVERY ARTIST who did a Verzuz is now a shareholder in #TrillerVerzuz,” per both Triller (and specifically its parent company Triller Network) and Verzuz TV.

Prominent rappers including RZA, Nelly, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, DMX, and Gucci Mane are among the 43 artists who’ve competed on Verzuz to date, though the exact size of each professional’s stake remains unclear. Also worth noting on this front is that Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, who kicked off Verzuz with a five-hour-long episode late last March, “will now oversee Music strategy at Triller.”

Besides arriving on Triller, the program will still air (for free) on Instagram Live, and while upcoming editions are set to feature additional artist “battles,” Triller intends to continue “expanding into sports, comedy, and live events” moving forward.

On this front, the six-year-old company promoted Mike Tyson’s pay-per-view comeback bout against Roy Jones Jr. in November of 2020 and will host another fight card on April 17th. Moreover, Verzuz TV partnered with the NFL earlier this year to deliver NFL Pro Bowl Verzuz, with guests such as Cam Jordan, Myles Garrett, and Michael Vick.

48-year-old Verzuz co-creator Timbaland took to Twitter to comment on the Triller deal, writing: “By the artist for the artist with the people !!! #Verzuztriller … @triller @verzuzonline @therealswizzz Life begins after your comfort zone…… Let’s go. Thx for all your support.”

New York City-born Swizz Beatz, for his part, weighed in on the transaction with a series of messages, one of which features a clip of him and Timbaland celebrating the sale over wine.

“It’s a very BIG day,” reads a different post from the 42-year-old Swizz Beatz. And while the transaction certainly represents a major accomplishment for Timbaland and Swizz Beatz – Verzuz only debuted last March, once again – the move also appears strategically valuable for Triller, which is embroiled in a much-publicized licensing dispute with Universal Music Group.

But hosting performances (on Verzuz) from high-profile artists – Alicia Keys and John Legend competed on one episode, for instance – seems likely to aid the app as it works to continue growing its userbase and its presence in the music sphere.

Plus, Triller TV – which launched last month and encompasses programs from DJ Khaled, 2 Chainz, Jennifer Lopez, Jencarlos Canela, and more – looks to be well-suited for Verzuz, given that it airs live programming on a daily schedule.