Triller on Wednesday denied it had severely inflated its monthly active user count in press releases, one day after Billboard reported the short-form video app and TikTok rival was padding its count of monthly active users (MAU) by millions.
According to Billboard, Triller often shared a different user count with the public than with its rights holders such as music labels. Last summer, the company claimed it had 50 million users, when in reality, it was closer to half that figure, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told Billboard. And CEO Mike Lu initially did not deny the app had inflated its user count in public statements. On Tuesday, Lu told Billboard there is “no legal definition of MAU/DAU” and that “Triller’s value is in monetizing users, not MAU or DAU.”
But on Wednesday, Lu pivoted to flat out deny Billboard’s report. “We have never inflated any user numbers,” he said in a statement. “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.”
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Last week, Universal Music Group accused Triller of “shamefully” withholding payments to mustic artists that have their music used on the app. Triller, in response, said its deal with UMG recently expired and that its been negotiating to reach a new agreement.
Lu continued: “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?”
A rep for Triller did not immediately respond when asked for a new monthly active user count from the company.
Billboard’s report comes at a critical time for the Los Angeles-based app. Triller is expected to go public via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in the near future, and recently hired a new chief financial officer to help with that process.
It’s unclear how Billboard’s report may impact that move, if at all.