Triller Admits Liability in Sony Music Breach of Contract Lawsuit – Billboard

Triller Admits Liability in Sony Music Breach of Contract Lawsuit – Billboard


Triller has admitted liability in a breach of contract lawsuit Sony Music brought against the TikTok rival in August 2022, according to court documents obtained by Billboard.

In the lawsuit, Sony Music claimed Triller had “historically failed to make payments in a timely manner” and later “failed to make any monthly payments required under the Agreement, totaling millions of dollars” beginning in March 2022. Sony also alleged that Triller had continued using its music catalog even after the label terminated its licensing deal with the service in August, leading Sony to additionally sue Triller for copyright infringement.

According to a court filing entered by Sony Music attorneys Jeffrey Gould and Andrew Guerra on Wednesday (April 26), Sony Music and Triller have entered a stipulation establishing Triller’s liability for the breach of contract claim for $4.57 million. A settlement has not been reached on the copyright infringement claims, however, with the document noting that discovery “is ongoing” in that case.

Sony Music is asking the court to execute the judgment without delay, noting that Triller has previously claimed an “inability to pay.”

“Prompt entry of judgment is needed to protect against any further dissipation of Triller’s assets or, worse still, a bankruptcy filing,” the filing continues, noting that although Triller admitted liability, “it has not yet agreed to pay, so Sony Music needs the final judgment to enforce.”

Representatives for Sony Music and Triller did not immediately respond to Billboard‘s requests for comment.

Sony Music first signed a licensing deal with Triller in 2016 and amended the deal several times in the intervening years; the most recent agreement was signed in December 2021. Under that deal, known as the Eleventh Amendment, Triller was obligated to pay Sony an initial payment due at execution, followed by payments due on the first day of each month from March 1 through Nov. 1. At the time it brought the lawsuit, Sony claimed Triller hadn’t yet made any of those monthly payments or paid interest on overdue fees.

The Sony lawsuit is just one of several legal complaints filed against Triller over the last year. The same month Sony filed its complaint, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz filed a $28 million lawsuit against the platform for allegedly failing to pay money owed from the company’s purchase of their popular Verzuz livestream series. That lawsuit was settled the following month for an undisclosed amount. In August 2022, the smartphone app consulting firm Phiture sued Triller for allegedly failing to pay over $130,000 owed under a March 2021 services contract. That case was dismissed the following month without prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled, though it’s unclear if a settlement was reached.

Triller also continues to face a lawsuit filed in January by the publishing arm of Universal Music Group, which claims Triller stopped making payments in April 2022 under two separate licensing deals and had missed multiple required payments since then. In its complaint, UMG claimed that despite Triller’s failure to pay, the company continued “spending substantial amounts of money acquiring companies … and throwing lavish events catering to members of the media and entertainment industry.” UMG also alleged that Triller had breached provisions requiring the company to report how UMG music had been used on the platform. UMG said it terminated its licensing agreement with Triller on Jan. 3.


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