Triller CEO Barks Back — “We Have Never Inflated Any User Numbers”
Triller CEO Mike Lu has barked back against claims that the short-form video-sharing app inflated its monthly active user (MAU) totals.
The Triller founder and head recently took aim at the inflated-usership allegations in a widely circulated statement, after Billboard earlier this week reported that the TikTok competitor had misrepresented its MAUs in public releases. Specifically, the report cited an anonymous source who maintained that Triller, despite claiming to have had 50 million MAUs in a July of 2020 release, boasted approximately 25 million monthly users.
In the same release, Triller stated that it had achieved “over 600 percent” year-over-year growth, besides relaying that it was “larger than Musical.ly (later TikTok) when it sold to ByteDance for one billion US dollars several years ago.”
Worth noting here is that several former Triller employees alleged last year that the app’s user figures were inflated; the company pushed back against the claims in October of 2020, including by calling the former team members “disgruntled.”
And in an initial response to this newest usership controversy, Triller CEO Mike Lu appeared to suggest that any discrepancies between MAUs reported to rightsholders and actual MAUs were insignificant because there’s “no legal definition of MAU/DAU,” and because Triller, as an “open ecosystem,” encourages off-platform use that’s not reflected in MAUs. Lu, previously a Gree International exec, also emphasized that Triller’s chief focus was monetization, not user stats.
But today, in a different statement yet, Lu denied the usership-inflation claims outright. “We have never inflated any user numbers. The only ‘rights holders’ Triller has ever had are the labels who don’t receive the information in question and if anything, have just accused us of understating our numbers,” he indicated.
As an aside, the Big Three record labels reportedly have interests in Triller, which had a decidedly public falling out with Universal Music Group about two weeks ago and is facing a $50 million lawsuit from Wixen Music Publishing. Nevertheless, UMG and several of its subsidiaries were still listed as “Triller Partners” on the platform’s website at the time of this piece’s publishing.
“The allegation being made that Triller’s real numbers were 25 million MAU last year values Triller at a $10 billion plus valuation (using TikTok as a benchmark). We can’t tell if these ‘rights holders’ are trying to help us or hurt us?” continued Mike Lu.
It remains to be seen how – or whether – the reemergence of inflated-usership claims will impact Triller’s rumored IPO. The TikTok rival is reportedly considering merging with a special purpose acquisition company to arrive on the public market, but higher-ups haven’t publicly addressed the corresponding negotiations.
Possibly as part of an effort to diversify its offerings ahead of the reported IPO, the video-sharing app is set to officially launch TrillerTV this evening, with programs featuring DJ Khaled (who also has an exclusive podcast deal with Amazon Music), artist and YouTuber Domo Wilson, and others scheduled to air.