Verzuz, the popular online music battle platform co-founded by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, has inked an exclusive distribution deal with X, the social media giant owned by Elon Musk. This strategic partnership marks a significant milestone for Verzuz, bringing the platform’s vibrant music battles to X’s user base.

Verzuz became a sensation during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering live-streamed battles between high-profile rappers and DJs. It gained quick popularity with memorable matchups like Babyface vs. Teddy Riley, Nelly vs. Ludacris, T-Pain vs. Lil Jon, DMX vs. Snoop Dogg, and Alicia Keys vs. John Legend. Initially partnered with Apple Music in mid-2020, Verzuz was acquired by Triller in early 2021. However, financial disputes with Triller led to a lawsuit from Swizz Beatz and Timbaland over unpaid dues, culminating in their reacquisition of Verzuz in 2024.

With full ownership and creative control back in their hands, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have now aligned Verzuz with X. The deal, announced at the Cannes Lions conference on June 19, ensures that Verzuz will be streamed exclusively on X, which boasts over 550 million active users. The events will continue to be free to watch, making them accessible to a broad audience.

Swizz Beatz expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “We are beyond thrilled to have found the best partner for Verzuz. Not only are we excited to have Verzuz on X, we’re excited to help X build the biggest entertainment company in the world.” Timbaland echoed this sentiment, adding, “Our goal has always been to bring Verzuz to the world, which we can now do bigger than ever.”

Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X, praised the collaboration with Verzuz, highlighting the innovative spirit of both platforms. “X is so proud to partner with trailblazing creators, artists, and entrepreneurs Swizz Beatz and Timbaland. Our platform stands at the forefront of innovation, and Verzuz defines the essence of an innovative content experience.”

This partnership aligns with X’s broader strategy to enhance its content offerings and engage its user base with premium experiences. As Yaccarino noted, “Together, we will redefine how consumers engage with their favorite entertainment, one Verzuz at a time.”

Despite the excitement surrounding this deal, X is concurrently facing significant legal challenges. A group of music publishers, including industry giants Sony Music Publishing (SMP), Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), and Warner Chappell Music (WCM), have filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against X for copyright infringements involving around 1,700 works. The lawsuit, spearheaded by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NIMA), claims over $250 million in damages for “hundreds of thousands” of alleged infringements.

In March, a Tennessee court allowed certain elements of this lawsuit to proceed, which casts a shadow over X’s otherwise forward-looking partnership with Verzuz. How X will navigate these legal waters while advancing its content strategy remains to be seen.