Triller Network Buys Timbaland and Swizz Beatz's Verzuz - Rolling Stone
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Triller Network Buys Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’ Verzuz

The acquisition ends a recent partnership between the beat-battle livestreaming project and Apple Music

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Artists Timbaland and Swizz Beatz attend day 1 of REVOLT Summit x AT&T Summit on September 12, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Revolt)

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Triller Network, parent company to TikTok competitor Triller, has purchased the Timbaland and Swizz Beatz-founded livestreaming song battle franchise Verzuz, the company announced Tuesday. Neither party disclosed financial details of the sale, but as part of the acquisition, Timbaland and Swizz will become brand visionaries and join the Triller Verzuz management team.

The two prolific producers are now shareholders in Triller following the acquisition, the company said, and they’re giving part of their equity to all 43 performers who’ve played on Verzuz since its inception.

“This is a momentous occasion not only for Verzuz and Triller but the music business as a whole,” Swizz Beatz and Timbaland said in a joint statement. “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. 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.”

Timbaland and Swizz Beatz aired their initial DJ battle against one another on Instagram Live last March, and since then, Verzuz has become one of the most successful and influential livestreaming programs born out of the pandemic. The series’ episodes have featured prominent producers, songwriters and recording artists including Snoop Dogg, DMX, Benny Blanco, Ryan Tedder, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Gucci Mane and Jeezy to name a few. The stream has consistently drawn in hundreds of thousands of views each episode, with the most popular streams bringing in millions. The show has proven to be a significant booster for featured artists’ streams for their catalogs too, with Knight and LaBelle seeing over 200% increases in streams in the days following their show.

Before closing the deal with Triller, Verzuz previously had a deal with Apple Music to air episodes there as well as on Instagram. Verzuz will continue to air on Instagram Live along with Triller, a representative for Triller said.

Triller itself is currently facing a battle with Universal Music Group (UMG), which pulled its music from the app after UMG said Triller has been withholding payments over the company’s musical works, but the company did not discuss its label negotiations within the Verzuz announcement.

“Verzuz isn’t just a company, a platform or an event, it is a cultural movement and phenomenon,” Triller Network’s co-controlling shareholders Bobby Sarnevesht and Ryan Kavanaugh said in a statement. “In our generation, Verzuz has made a bigger impact on music than any other company we know. With this acquisition, Triller continues its evolution to be at the center of culture and the center of music. Who better to help shape Triller’s music future than the top artists in the world overseen by Timbaland and Swizz?”

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