The online VERZUZ brand has been sold to the Triller Network, which owns the TikTok rival Triller, for an undisclosed amount. Its founders Swizz Beats and Timbaland are now “larger shareholders” within the Triller business, and have allocated a portion of their equity to all of the performers who have performed on the VERZUS programs.
VERZUZ battles are similar to classic hip hop cyphers, where two artists play different highlights from their music career to in a friendly competition for their audiences. Past battles include Ashanti vs Keyshia Cole, Ludacris vs Nelly, Alicia Keys vs John Legend, DJ Premier vs RZA, Jill Scott vs Erykah Badu, Babyface vs Teddy Riley, Swizz Beatz vs Timbaland, T-Pain vs Lil John and French Montana vs Tory Lanez.
While many of these battles were done virtually, with both artists playing their songs off a computer, Legend vs Keys was done in-person, with the two performing their songs live. D’Angelo was by far the largest performer to break the VERZUZ mold, as he held a show at the Apollo, where he faced-off against a number of guests including Method Man, Redman and H.E.R. Although it originated on Instagram Live, VERZUZ exploded in popularity in a year and now hosts integrations with Apple Music and Twitter.
Triller faced some hardships earlier this year as Universal Music Group (UMG) pulled their entire catalog from the platform. UMG alleged that the platform withheld royalty payments from the service, a claim that Triller has vehemently denied. “We categorically deny we have withheld any artist payments (our deal has only been one week expired) and if anything, it is UMG using their artist names as a front to extract ridiculous and non-sustainable payments for themselves and not their artists,” Triller alleged in a statement.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat