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Verzuz creators set their sights on Wall Street

by Tia Alphonse

Swizz Beatz’s and Timbaland’s highly scrutinized decision to sell the pandemic-born livestreaming web series Verzuz to Triller in March has positioned the creators and 43 artists who have performed on the series as stakeholders ahead of Triller Network’s IPO in the coming months.

“They can sell everything, but we can’t sell anything or we sold out. Nah, we sold in, all 43 artists are going public with us. It’s going to be the biggest creative IPO in history,” said Swizz Beatz in June about the Triller acquisition.

The network original planned to go public on the stock market in a couple weeks but has pushed its plan to make shares available to the public by October, according to dot.LA.

In the early days of the pandemic, audiences were lamenting the numerous canceled tour dates and missing the experience of hearing their favorite artists perform live. Artists began to experiment with going live on Instagram to perform and DJs were broadcasting their playlists live on social media as well.

Inspired by the changing landscape, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland created their hit web series to give Black music legends an opportunity to interact directly with their fanbases and celebrate the musical highlights of their careers.

The show’s format traditionally selects two musical acts with similar styles of music to battle against one another. If there has been beef in the media among the artists in the past, they seem even more likely to be selected — with Verzuz showcasing battles between Brandy and Monica, and Jeezy and Gucci Mane, and Bow Wow and Soulja Boy to name a few.

In addition to high entertainment value in the form of music, memes, and hot takes, the programming has also proven to be lucrative for artists who can’t make money from touring through concert tickets and concert merchandise. After the battles, audiences go to their streaming platform of choice and listen to their favorite songs by the artists that may not have made the setlist. The increase in streaming for the artist after the Verzuz battle has become known as the Verzuz effect.

After Jill Scott and Erykah Badu’s face-off, the singers’ catalogs had a combined increase of 217 percent, according to Nielsen Music/MRC 2020.

Although the series began as a response to the pandemic, it continues to have success even as communities and economies have begun to reopen. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland hope this success of their series will translate to good fortune for Triller Network in the stock market.

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©2019 Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine

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