Sony Music has launched a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Triller.
This complaint is the most recent development in a disturbing history of allegedly unpaid invoices for the app, which intends to go public despite the failure of its $5 billion SPAC transaction.
The company revealed a $14 million scheme last year that would pay 300 Black authors $4,000 per month in cash and stock in exchange for their posts on Triller. However, many creators reportedly did not receive these payouts or did so very slowly and irregularly, according to a press report publication. Triller’s creator program wasn’t the only thing that received late or absent payments. Verzuz, a livestreamed music series produced by Grammy winners Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, was purchased by Triller in March 2021.
Over 40 artists who had performed on Verzuz, including John Legend, 2 Chainz, Alicia Keys, T-Pain, and others, received shares from the two artists, who also became shareholders in the business. Triller allegedly owes Timbaland and Swizz Beatz $28 million in unpaid bills, according to their latest claim.
The parties agreed that Triller would pay the two artists $1 million per month for the following ten months after paying them $18 million by March 20. However, the lawsuit claims that Triller skipped a significant payment to the two artists in January. Triller is alleged not to have made any of these payments in the case. Triller asserts that there is only one $10 million payment at issue.
Now, Sony Music claims that it also experienced issues with the social media site. Triller “historically failed to make payments in a timely manner,” the company claims, but things became worse in March when Triller ceased making any payments. Triller provided “near-total radio silence in response” when Sony Music asked for this unpaid invoice, as reported. As a result, Triller’s contract with Sony Music was ended earlier this month. However, the copyrighted music was still available on the platform, which prompted Sony Music to file an infringement lawsuit against the app.
Additionally, Triller ran into problems with Universal Music Group last year, which took its music off the app after complaining that Triller had delayed payments. At the time, Triller CEO Mike Lu refuted these allegations, calling the incident “a bad ‘Punk’d’ episode.”
Triller recently disclosed that it had raised “significant” debt and equity financing in order to get ready to IPO in early Q4. Triller declined to disclose the investment round’s total raised as well as the proportions of debt and equity.