Verzuz co-creators Swizz Beatz and Timbaland were elated when their pandemic-launched musical battle platform was acquired by the Triller Network in 2021, a year after the global livestream phenomenon launched and exploded during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, Swizz told Billboard that they didn’t originally have any plans to monetize the business and were just focused on giving people “some live, love and happiness” during the pandemic.
And then came the backlash from fans when it looked like Tuesday’s (Feb. 15) long-awaited Anthony Hamilton vs. Musiq Soulchild Valentine’s Day showdown would be available only on the paid Triller platform instead of for free on Instagram Live, where it has been since its inception; in a Feb. 4 Insta post, it was announced that tickets for the live show in Los Angeles had sold out.
According to reports, a promotional post for the show just a few says later originally asked fans to sign-up for a free 14-day Triller trial to watch the show, with the all caps warning, “THIS VERZUZ WILL NOT BE ON IG. Watch on VERZUZTV.COM with the #TrillerVerzPass.” It’s unclear when a change was made, but a promo post from last week — and another from Monday — no longer mention that it won’t be on IG, while still pushing fans to sign-up for the Triller pass.
Verzuz heads were not happy about the news, with some sharing their disdain on Monday’s VerzuzTV/Triller post promoting the show with comments including: “ain’t nobody paying for this,” “Wow! See it on YouTube after,” “not even w a gun to my head,” “Of ALLLLLLL VERZUZ why tf would you not put this one On IG🌚😭ya’ll starting to carter to the wrong audience damn shame smh” and “Well it was good while it lasted because I’m not paying for it.”
One fan put it most succinctly, when she wrote, “Y’all went and messed up a good thing. This was supposed to be fun and now y’all tryin to make us pay for an online concert essentially I’m good. I’d rather see them on tour where they’ll sing the whole song.”
Swizz clearly heard their voices, promising on Tuesday morning (Feb. 15) that after getting back home from a vacation overseas he “fixed” the situation. “See y’all rite here tonight on insta @verzuztv 😂⚡️ Who y’all rocking with @anthonyhamiltonofficial or @musiqsoulchild ? You can also watch in HD on verzuztv.com . I was out the country don’t ask me who did it 😂 it’s fixed 🤷🏽♂️ bless up 🙏🏽 love y’all,” he wrote.
Check out Swizz’s posts and some of the reaction below.
Verzuz will be on ig⚡️ https://t.co/V6WRxEwTfg
— SWIZZ BEATZ (@THEREALSWIZZZ) February 15, 2022
They want us to pay for Verzuz?! For songs that’s already in my phone?! pic.twitter.com/OyMmXgaq8k
— Anthony Moore (@AllThatandMoore) February 15, 2022
Idc if it’s Jesus #VERZUZ The Devil, I’m not paying to see it when all the other ones been free.
Y’all trippin. pic.twitter.com/QKgqgBpSdH
— The Nostalgia Queen ➐ 👸🏽 (@Snow_Blacck) February 15, 2022