Black creators on video sharing network Tik Tok have long complained that they were unsupported on the platform and recently accused the Chinese-owned company of banning some accounts. Many turned to a competitor, Triller, which has moved to increase the presence of Black creators and viewers by buying Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s popular artists battle platform and webcast series, Verzuz.
The acquisition by Triller brought an end to a recent partnership between the livestreaming song battle franchise and Apple Music. While the financial details have not been disclosed, Timbaland and Swizz will become brand visionaries and join the Triller Verzuz management team as part of the deal, Rolling Stone reported.
Some on Black Twitter weren’t too happy about the sale of a growing Black-owned company.
“Jay Z did it and y’all doing it too. Come on now,” one user tweeted in reference to recent sales of Black-owned companies such as by Jay-Z, who sold a majority stake of his boutique music streaming service Tidal and half of his champagne brand Armand de Brignac.
Another posted, “Verzuz was so authentically for the culture! Black celebrities are not trying to build the culture! They would sale their own Mama if the price is right!”
The two mega-producers have also become shareholders in Triller and said they will give part of their equity to all 43 performers who’ve performed on Verzuz since its inception.
Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s first Verzuz was a DJ battle against one another on Instagram Live in March 2020. Since then, producers, songwriters, and recording artists have battled, and now they will all get equity in Triller.
The artists include dancehall veterans Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, John Legend, DMX, Alicia Keys, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Too $hort, Patti LaBelle, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, E-40, D’Angelo, Ludacris, RZA, The Dream, Babyface, Nelly, Jagged Edge, Fred Hammond, Jadakiss, Fabolous, Brandy, Monica, Gladys Knight, Boi-1da, Hit-Boy, Ne-Yo, Johnta Austin, Scott Storch, T-Pain, Lil Jon, DJ Premier, Mannie Fresh, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, 112, Kirk Franklin, Sean Garrett, and D’Angelo, Dancehall Magazine reported.
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“The show has proven to be a significant booster for featured artists’ streams for their catalogs too, with Knight and LaBelle seeing over 200 percent increases in streams in the days following their show,” Rolling Stone reported.
Beenie Man and Bounty Killer’s May 23, 2020, battle pulled in more than 500,000 live viewers on Instagram alone.