The artist matchup platform -- Verzuz -- is rolling out a fee-based subscription model and Swizz Beatz and Timbaland are catching a lot of heat on social media about charging fees. According to Jay-Z, the backlash may be because the brand is black-owned.
Timbaland And Swizz Announce Verzuz Subscription
The Verzuz battles will cost a few pennies for a monthly subscription, which will be a boon for Swizz Beatz and Timberland venture, TrillerVerz, which is priming to go public. However, some fans are scoffing at the idea of paying a fee to watch the artist vs artist platform that grew organically from a free, friendly competition on Instagram to a massive multi-media event.
Verzuz announced that it is currently charging TrlillerVerz Passes for $2.99/month or $29.99/year online and on the app—with FiteTV—it’s $.4.99/month and $49.99/year. With a Triller Verz pass, fans can watch music/fighting events produced by Triller Fight Club.
The new fee would hit just in time for the upcoming Verzuz fight between Anthony Hamilton and Musiq Soulchild, causing many fans to take to social media to express their disapproval of the new subscription-based system. Fans have disavowed their support, some saying they’re not willing to subscribe to Verzuz because the platform isn’t consistent in their content quality and quantity.
One fan took to Twitter to say, “LMAO I got 3 concerts lined up in the next 3 months. I’m vaccinated and boosted. YOU THINK I’M ABOUT TO PAY FOR A CIROC AND DORITOS #VERZUZ BATTLE IN MY LIVING ROOM? WITH TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES? 1 HOUR + LATE START TIME? AND 45 SECONDS OF A SONG? DEFUND IT.”
Another fan said that Verzuz shouldn’t charge a fee simply because it was free for two years and insinuated that the move was anti-black.
Since the backlash ensued this morning, Verzuz has backpedaled and made the events free on Instagram. However, the question of whether Verzuz is being devalued remains. Jay-Z offered some keen insight on this issue when he faced similar challenges after buying TIDAL.
Jay-Z Spotlights How Tidal Was Devalued Because He Is Black
In a 2015 freestyle just after his purchase of TIDAL, Jay-Z responded to the backlash he was receiving from those who said they wouldn’t pay a subscription for the service. He took special time to address black people who don’t support “their own shit.”
Comparing himself to Apple’s Steve Jobs and Nike’s Phil Knight, he spit:
Oh niggas is skeptical when it’s their own shit
You bought nine iPhones and Steve Jobs is rich
Phil Knight worth trillions you still bought those kicks,
Spotify is nine billion they ain’t say shit
Lucy you got some ‘splaining to do
The only one they hating on look the same as you
That’s cool, I know they trying to bamboozle you,
Spending millions on media trying to confuse you,
I had to talk to myself, Hov you used to do it too
It’s politics as usual
Swizz & Timbo Take Verzuz Public
Swizz and Timbaland recently made a huge business move after making Verzuz available on the stock market for trade.
Timbaland and Swizz Beatz are on top of the world right now because Verzuz, via Triller, is set to become a publicly-traded company on the stock market. This new group of investors who are mostly creatives would make this venture historic.
Known as TrillerVerz, the new company will be listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “ILLR” and be valued at around $5 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022 after board approval, making shares immediately available to the public. Shares may be purchased using any NASDAQ trading desk.
Timbaland and Swizz Are Most Influential
Timbaland and Swizz Beatz were named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People of 2021 for their creation of VERZUZ. The concept for VERZUZ began in 2017 between Just Blaze and Swizz Beatz but did not reappear until 2020 during the pandemic. Verzuz involves two participants, usually Hip-Hop or R&B artists, and lasts for 20 rounds.
Additional reporting by Marckell Williams.