Timbaland, Swizz Beats' Verzuz Acquired by Triller

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Timbaland, Swizz Beats' Verzuz Acquired by Triller

After a public spat with Universal Music Group, Triller has bounced back with some serious star power.

The short-form social video app's parent company, Triller Network, acquired Verzuz, the online music battle platform launched last March by rappers Timbaland and Swizz Beats on Instagram Live.


As part of the deal, the two musicians will become "large shareholders'' in the Triller Network and will split some of their equity with the 43 artists who have already performed on Verzuz, including John Legend, Brandy, DMX and Alicia Keyes.

Since Verzuz debuted, just as lockdowns upended live music, it has gained 5.5 million Instagram followers and forged temporary partnerships with Apple Music and Twitter. Until now the program's premise has been dueling pairs of artists flaunting portions of their discographies to compete for viewers' adoration. The Verzuz brand has plans to expand beyond music, however, into sports, comedy and live events, the statement said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Triller recently sparred with Universal Music Group, which pulled its extensive song catalog from the app and called Triller's statement about the situation "removed from reality."

Triller was sued in November by Wixen Music Publishing for copyright infringement, though that case was recently dismissed on a legal technicality. The company has also had several public spats over whether it has juiced Triller's user numbers.

Following Triller Network's expansion into boxing late last year, sources familiar with the company floated Triller's intentions of going public via a SPAC. These sources said the valuation of the potential move would be dependent on a prospective acquisition by Triller. It is unclear whether Verzuz was that acquisition target and whether the SPAC plan will still go through.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Motional Links With Uber to Make Robotaxis a Reality

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Motional
Image courtesy of Motional

Motional, a self-driving taxi startup backed by Hyundai, will partner with Uber to bring its robotic taxis to cities throughout the United States within the next decade as part of its push to get people more comfortable with the concept of taking a ride in a driverless electric vehicle.

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