Triller Strikes Music Licensing Deal With Publishers | Billboard

March 24, 2021

"Music is foundational to Triller's platform," says National Music Publishers' Association president and CEO David Israelite.

Short-form video app Triller has come to an agreement with the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) on behalf of its members, compensating its network of publishers and songwriters when their songs are used in videos on the platform.

"NMPA is pleased to have come to an agreement with Triller to account for the past use of songs as well as a forward-looking license for our eligible independent publisher members," NMPA president and CEO David Israelite said in a statement shared with Billboard. "Music is foundational to Triller's platform and it is essential that the songwriters who create that music are paid for their contributions to the Triller experience."

"Music and video offer limitless potential to social media platforms, however compensating songwriters must be a primary consideration, not an afterthought," he continued. "Triller has recognized the importance of music creators and made a positive step forward by coming to this partnership."

Added Triller chairman/co-owner Bobby Sarnevesht: "We are very excited to enter this partnership with the NMPA, which ensures that songwriters are fairly compensated and fully recognized for their work. David Israelite and the NMPA team are truly amazing advocates for writers and publishers, and we greatly look forward to working with him and the NMPA membership to demonstrate Triller’s ongoing commitment to supporting writers."

The license is opt-in, meaning that eligible publisher members will need to take action to be covered (as opposed to being covered automatically). Israelite had been critical of Triller's music licensing over the past year, accusing the platform of using music without the proper licenses in several heated posts on Instagram -- which only intensified as the app continued to lure over top influencers and prepare for an initial public offering (IPO). Triller also faced a $50 million lawsuit from Wixen Music Publishing in November alleging copyright infringement on more than 1,000 songs, but a federal court in California dismissed the suit earlier this month due to a lack of information about the songs in question.

Triller previously had music licensing agreements with Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group as of December. In February, however, Universal abruptly pulled its catalog from Triller, claiming that the app "shamefully withheld payments" to artists, and Triller "categorically den[ied]" those claims.

In other Triller news, earlier this month, parent company Triller Network acquired Timbaland and Swizz Beatz's popular battle series Verzuz and tapped stars like Justin Bieber and Doja Cat to perform at its upcoming "Triller Fight Club" boxing match.

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