In the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Universal said it notified Triller on Tuesday that it is terminating the agreement due to Triller’s repeated breaches.
The complaint follows a similar lawsuit in August, in which Sony Music Entertainment alleged that Triller continued to use Sony’s music even after it had stopped paying license fees, and after Sony had terminated their agreement.
In the new lawsuit, Universal alleges that Triller has not paid invoices for the last three quarters on both a “framework agreement” and a “music app agreement.” The lawsuit alleges that Triller has also failed to provide quarterly usage reports that would detail the use of Universal’s music on the app.
“During the same time period that Triller was defaulting on its payment and reporting obligations, it was reported that Triller was spending substantial amounts of money acquiring companies, including Julius and Fangage, and throwing lavish events catering to members of the media and entertainment industry,” the lawsuit states.
Two years ago, Universal pulled its entire catalog off of Triller, alleging that the company had withheld artist payments and failed to negotiate a licensing deal. The two sides later announced a licensing deal in May 2021.
According to the complaint, Triller agreed to pay nearly $3 million for licensing and past use of the Universal Music catalog. Those payments would be made in quarterly installments over two years. According to the complaint, Triller has missed the last three installments, though it has made “several written and oral promises” to fulfill its end of the bargain.
The lawsuit alleges that Triller also agreed to pay $1 million under a “framework agreement” for use of its catalog by third-party advertisers or in promotional content. The suit alleges that Triller has made only three of the required six quarterly installments under that agreement.
In a statement, Triller said the lawsuit was “nothing more than a minor contractual dispute with a publisher, not the label, and has no impact whatsoever on triller or its business.”
“This is a dispute about publishing for a very small percentage of the catalogue, and is the ordinary course of business for the music industry and over a small amount of money,” the company continued. “This will be decided upon in a proper venue in a few years, and we clearly believe we are in the right and that a court will find in our favor. It’s a plain vanilla case that virtually every social network has faced in one form or another. It’s not the first and won’t be the last but similar to the past disputes of these nature they tend to settle quietly and end up being a lot to do about nothing.”