Back in March of 2021, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz sold their Verzuz livestream music-competition program to Triller and joined the company’s executive roster. Now, however, the artists are suing the short-form video-sharing app over $28 million in allegedly missing payments.
The shocking lawsuit from Timbaland and Swizz Beatz was recently shared with Digital Music News, having been submitted to a California federal court just days ago. According to the firmly worded action, Triller agreed to make “certain payments” to the plaintiffs “on and shortly after” the Verzuz sale’s closing date as well as further payments “on the first and second anniversary of the closing date.”
Triller honored the first two agreed-upon obligations, the lawsuit states, having compensated Timbaland and Swizz Beatz in January and April of 2021. But late January of 2022 allegedly saw the TikTok competitor default on the payments.
Though the concise legal text doesn’t identify the precise circumstances associated with this alleged default, it does disclose that seven-year-old Triller, 50-year-old Timbaland, and 43-year-old Swizz Beatz finalized a settlement towards the end of February. That same month, Triller – which is pursuing an IPO after a planned SPAC merger fell through – is said to have made the first payment under the settlement pact.
Predictably, given the present action, Triller allegedly failed to keep up with the settlement installments, coming up short specifically with regard to an $18 million windfall ($9 million apiece for Timbaland and Swizz Beatz) that was due on the sooner of March 17th or three days after the company raised $100 million via securities, the plaintiffs maintain.
Then, once the latter “minimum funding” was in place, Triller would have been obligated to pay Timbaland and Swizz Beatz another $500,000 apiece for 10 consecutive months, besides reimbursing them for around $100,000 in legal fees, the text indicates.
Consequently, the plaintiffs are seeking north of $28 million from Triller, which addressed the matter via a widely circulated statement today.
“This is truly unfortunate and we hope it is nothing more than a misunderstanding driven by lawyers,” said Triller. “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,” concluded the platform.
Worth mentioning in conclusion is that Triller also bought combat-sports platform FITE TV last year. Having featured both boxing matches and live music at several hybrid events thus far, the company allegedly failed to make timely payments to several boxers for a May event at which they competed, in what may have been a sign of farther-reaching financial difficulties and behind-the-scenes capital issues.