TikTok is currently facing scrutiny over security concerns in the US, and it’s Chinese owner ByteDance is considering a range of options to avoid being banned in the market.
Meanwhile, today (July 28), we learn that one of TikTok’s biggest stars, Josh Richards, is leaving the platform, having formally been announced as an investor in US-based rival app Triller, which he will also be joining as Chief Strategy Officer.
In a press release announcing the move, Richards cites the ongoing backlash against TikTok as being behind his decision to join Triller.
“After seeing the US and other countries’ governments’ concerns over TikTok – and given my responsibility to protect and lead my followers and other influencers – I followed my instincts as an entrepreneur and made it my mission to find a solution,” he said.
“I am proud to announce that I am formally an investor in Triller and will serve as their Chief Strategy Officer.”
Richards is also co-founder of digital talent management firm TalentX Entertainment, which just this week signed a joint venture deal with Warner Records.
In addition to Richards, TikTok stars Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck have also joined a roster of influencers and content creators jumping over to to the US-born platform.
Johnson and Beck will serve as advisors and are also equity shareholders, joining a long list of celebrities – from Snoop Dogg to Lil Wayne – who have invested in the platform.
In addition to heading up strategy at Triller, Josh Richards will oversee the company’s implementation of live streaming and the addition of monetization tools.
Last year, Triller raised $28 million in a funding round led by Proxima Media.
Ryan Kavanaugh, Proxima’s founder and owner, is a strategic partner in the Triller platform.
In June, Triller hit 50 million monthly active users, surpassing TikTok’s user count when it was sold to ByteDance for $1 billion in 2017.
Following TikTok’s ban in India, Triller saw a significant spike in growth in the market.
Triller has music licensing partnerships in place with Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Universal Music Group.
“After seeing the US and other countries’ governments’ concerns over TikTok – and given my responsibility to protect and lead my followers and other influencers – I followed my instincts as an entrepreneur and made it my mission to find a solution.”
“Throughout my career as an influencer and entrepreneur, my goal has always been to protect my peers from the dangers of the industry and to be a mentor and friend,” added Richards.
“This is why, along with some amazing cofounders, I started TalentX.
“As part of my role with Triller, I will help guide the user experience and talent tools and technology to be the absolute best in the industry, focusing on what is needed for creators to succeed on both the content and monetization front.
“Today’s announcement is a major step towards achieving this goal and I couldn’t be more excited to start this next chapter.”
“As a the leader of the content creating influencer community and entrepreneur himself, Josh understands our culture and shares our value of putting artists first.”
Mike Lu, Triller
Triller CEO, Mike Lu, said: “As a the leader of the content creating influencer community and entrepreneur himself, Josh understands our culture and shares our value of putting artists first.
“Triller’s recent exponential growth has skyrocketed our global user base and Josh is a tremendous value add.
“He will ensure the voice of creators and influencers are always included and that our product’s roadmap consistently puts our users first. We are beyond excited to welcome him into our Triller family,”Music Business Worldwide