Universal Music Group appears to be pulling its support for popular video-sharing app Triller after they removed its entire catalog from the app yesterday. After UMG made some bold accusations about the app’s inability to pay artists, Triller asserts that they don’t need the major music company to operate.
On Friday (Feb. 5), Triller told Hip Hop-N-More that, though their licensing contract with UMG recently expired, the company doesn’t need to renew their deal with UMG. Triller claims that they don’t need another deal since the imprint’s most relevant artists like Lil Wayne, The Weeknd, and others have already invested in the app as either a shareholder or a partner. They also deny holding back any artist payments.
“We categorically deny we have withheld any artist payments (our deal has only been one week expired),” the statement reads. “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. They did this exact same thing to TikTok for two years and virtually every other social network.”
The rival of TikTok and Universal Music Group first announced their licensing deal back in 2018. However, in recent days, that deal appears to have expired. After going a week without any successful negotiation to renew, Universal responded by pulling their catalog from the app and accusing Triller of failing to pay their artists.
“We will not work with platforms that do not value artists,” a UMG spokesperson said in a statement. “Triller has shamefully withheld payments owed to our artists and refuses to negotiate a license going forward. We have no alternative except to remove our music from Triller, effective immediately.”
Triller’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed. According to Music Business Worldwide, the app brought in a $100 million funding round at a $1.25 billion valuation in the final quarter of 2020. After obtaining the rights to show the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr boxing match last November, rumors began circulating that the company will go public soon. Since hearing Triller’s response to UMG’s claims, a UMG spokesperson countered by saying “Triller’s statements are removed from reality.”