Triller Is in Serious Trouble — ‘Outstanding Music Licensing Related Payment Obligations’ Top $23 Million, Net Loss Cracks $90 Million, Filing Shows

triller music licensing
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triller music licensing
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Photo Credit: Solen Feyissa

Triller is in trouble, to the tune of $23.6 million in “outstanding music licensing related payment obligations” and massive net losses, according to a new regulatory filing.

The Verzuz owner, which has for several years been plotting an IPO, revealed these and a number of other operational details in a Form S-1. We last checked in on Triller’s music licensing woes in August of 2023, which brought the formal conclusion of an infringement suit filed against the company by Sony Music.

Independent of this substantial settlement, reports indicated in early  2023 that Universal Music had filed a separate infringement suit against Triller Corp., which, per the S-1, generates “an immaterial amount of revenue from the Triller app.”

Said amount refers particularly to $130,000 in revenue for the nine months ended September 30th, 2022, and just $20,000 (of $33.6 million overall) for the same nine-month stretch during 2023, the document shows.

Bearing in mind these figures and Triller’s historical song-rights challenges, the company in the same resource acknowledged that it’s “not in compliance with the payment obligations of a significant number of our contracts with certain of our counterparties, including with respect to our music licenses.”

All told, the broader Triller entity had “outstanding music licensing related payment obligations” of $23.6 million as of September 30th, 2023, a sum exceeding its cash balance at the time of the regulatory filing’s submission, according to the text. Once again as of September 30th, Triller’s “unpaid amounts owed” specifically under “music licenses” came out to $20.7 million, the S-1 shows.

And while the company is “currently working with our partners and counterparties and/or negotiating the terms of these various agreements,” per the document, it’s also said to be continuing to pay Timbaland and Swizz Beatz under the settlement deal negotiated in connection with their 2022 lawsuit.

Expanding upon that point, the and Julius parent (the latter purchase wrapped last February) shed light upon its net losses as well, including close to $91 million for the nine months ended September 30th, 2023.

“We have incurred net losses in each year since our inception,” Triller noted, “including $195.6 million, $773.6 million and $77.2 million for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Losses were $144.2 million and $90.6 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2022 and September 2023, respectively.”

Not helping matters is a minimum of $1.71 million in “non-cancelable contractual agreements related to music licensing” due in 2024 as described by the filing from Triller, which has in the past faced scrutiny over its exact MAUs total.