Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, co-creators of the Verzuz battle series, are suing Triller for $28 million in defaulted payments.
In 2021, the two partnered with video-sharing social platform Triller to expand the webcast series, which was initially hosted by Instagram exclusively at the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020. Now, one year after selling the show to Triller, the producers have filed a $28 million lawsuit against the platform, alleging the social video platform defaulted on the deal after two payments in January and April 2021. Along with $28 million in damages, the Verzuz creators are also seeking $95,000 in interest from Triller.
Per Rolling Stone, Swizz and Timbaland — whose real names are Kaseem Daoud Dean and Timothy Mosley — entered a new deal with the platform in February 2022, in which Triller agreed to secure $100 million for the producers. Although the February payment was made, Triller was obligated to pay $18 million by March 17th, followed by $1 million per month for the remaining 10 months until the full $28 million had been paid. According to the lawsuit, Triller missed those payments. “Defendants have failed and refused to respond to plaintiffs’ written notice and demand for payment,” the producers’ lawyers wrote in the complaint, according to Billboard. “To date, defendants have failed and refused to make any payment to Mosley and Dean of the past due sums due and owing, and defendants continue in default of their payment obligations,” the lawyers added in their brief.
In March 2021, Verzuz was acquired by the Triller Network, with Dean and Mosley overseeing the app’s music department. “This is a momentous occasion not only for Verzuz and Triller but the music business as a whole,” the producers said in a joint statement at the time. “By putting Verzuz in the Triller Network ecosystem and expanding the Verzuz brand to be side by side with the powerful Triller app, we will be able to continue to grow and evolve the music business as a whole, as we have been doing.”
They added, “To have partners in Triller who share our vision, specifically to celebrate and elevate the amazing artists who continue to shape culture around the world and give the consumer more direct access, is game-changing.”