As TikTok amasses users, Triller amasses lawsuits

The news: Triller has two goals for the rest of the year. A) a successful $3 billion IPO is before the end of the year, and B) not get sued by anyone else.

  • The video-sharing social platform raised $200 million in loans and equity financing, according to the Wrap. Its target IPO valuation is down from an earlier $5 billion goal, which it abandoned because of market turbulence.
  • But a deluge of lawsuits and other complaints against Triller underscore how difficult it is to launch and maintain a successful upstart social platform.

Want a scandal? Take your pick: Musicians Swizz Beatz and Timbaland filed a lawsuit against Triller claiming the platform owes them more than $28 million after purchasing their live-streaming music competition Verzuz in January 2021 for an undisclosed fee.

  • A suit from Sony Music alleges Triller refused to pay millions of dollars in licensing for artists like Harry Styles, Britney Spears, and Lil Nas X. Universal Music Group hasn’t sued, but it pulled its catalog from Triller in early 2021, citing nonpayment.
  • After Triller revealed a $14 million program to hire 300 top Black social media influencers on one-year contracts last fall, several creators said they weren’t paid for their work.

The big takeaway: It wasn’t so long ago—perhaps early 2021—that people were comparing Triller to TikTok. Today, thanks to mismanagement, that comparison is hard to imagine.

  • Twelve percent of communications specialists planned to invest in Triller as part of their 2022 influencer marketing strategy, compared with 31% for TikTok, per March Influencer Intelligence data. It’s hard to imagine that gap narrowing if the survey were replicated today.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Marketing & Advertising Briefing—a daily recap of top stories impacting the industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.