Universal Music Group, the largest record label in the world, hit the Los Angeles-based company that owns the video-making and social networking app Triller with a major blow by pulling its entire catalog from the app. UMG alleges Triller has “shamefully withheld payments owed to our artists,” as well as refused to negotiate a license to use the music lawfully.
The label, which houses artists ranging from Kanye West, Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Billie Eilish, and more, released a statement regarding their decision to remove all of their artist’s rosters from the Triller app. “We will not work with platforms that do not value artists,” Universal said. 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.”
Proxima Media, the company that owns Triller, has categorically denied the claims, comparing the situation to being Punk’d by Ashton Kutcher. “This has to be a bad Punk’d episode,” Triller CEO Mike Lu told Billboard.
“I’m waiting for Ashton [Kutcher] to jump out of my closet. Our relationship with UMG is solid. Its biggest artists are investors and partners in Triller and Universal owns part of Triller. We find it hard to believe UMG wouldn’t give us any warning or notice but just tell us via press,” he continued.
“Triller does not need a deal with UMG to continue operating as it has been since the relevant artists are already shareholders or partners on Triller, and thus can authorize their usage directly,” the statement continued, referencing to the app’s co-owners, which include Lil Wayne, The Weeknd, and other early investors like Snoop Dogg, Young Thug, Kendrick Lamar, Tyga, and more.
Triller has also been in a heated legal battle with TikTok when its Chinese parent company ByteDance sued Triller for patent infringement.