Remember Verzuz? Or, should I say, the golden age of Verzuz? During the time of this seemingly endless pandemic where being holed up inside was still new and entirely virtual… I’m talking about the bleak, bleak spring and summer of 2020. We all needed something to boost our spirits—and pining for a simpler time without masks or vinyl gloves. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland decided to do just that with Verzuz.
Seeing some of our R&B and rap GOATs indulge in their top hits for a little friendly competition between greats was the break we needed. And it made for some excellent social media commentary. Nelly vs. Luda, The Dream vs. Sean Garrett, DMX (RIP) vs. Snoop, Brandy vs. Monica, it was peak entertainment.
It may be surprising to learn that such a wholesome treat is now the subject of a major lawsuit, but Swizz Beatz and Timbaland are taking Triller to court for $28 million.
In 2021, the duo sold the show to Triller. If you don’t know what it is, the app is similar to TikTok: Short-form video content. However, its focus is DIY music videos, so it’s an ideal move for an app that wants to use star power and an already successful model for a leg up against the clock app.
As part of Triller’s acquisition of Verzuz, Timb and Beatz received equity in the app, as well as the artists who appeared on the show up until that point, like 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Patti LaBelle, and Jill Scott.
Apparently, according to the legal documents, Triller missed a payment to the two in January. Then, after going back to the drawing board with their initial agreement, a new one was created as part of a settlement. Triller was to pay them both $9 million by March 20, 2022. In addition, an extra $1 million per month for 10 months. The lawsuit states that this did not happen, and still hasn’t.
Now, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland are seeking the $28,095,000 for damages, interest, legal fees, and “other further relief as this Court deems just and proper.” It’ll be interesting to see how this case turns out if future acquisitions like this happen. What if, for example, TikTok acquires a show like NPR’s Tiny Desk and refuses to make payments?
We’re already seeing music-based apps include a wider range of offerings; for instance, Live Nation is allowing Spotify to sell tickets from their app.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see which of our predictions for Verzuz battles came true and which didn’t.
Photo via Alexandra Gavillet/Peloton