Verzuz is a live stream web series created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. During the broadcast, two musicians participate in a three-hour “battle” session consisting of two 10-song rounds complete. Viewers vote on the song they like more as the musicians offer commentary to the tracks. The two icons, which usually come from the world of rap and R&B, discuss their musical relationship and their output. Participants have included rappers Ludacris and Nelly, singers Brandy and Monica and more.
The first broadcast, which featured a “battle” between producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, aired on Instagram and Tidal (audio only) March 24th, 2020 (shown below). Though they did not intend the live stream to launch a series, the success of the event led to Timbaland trademarking “Verzuz” the following month.
Teddy Reily vs. Babyface
On April 20th, 2020, the Verzuz battle between Teddy Reily and Babyface broke viewership records on Instagram (shown below).
Initially scheduled for April 18th, producers postponed the battle due to technical difficulties. InstagramComms tweeted, “We love how much you’re all enjoying the #TeddyRileyvBabyface Live on Instagram! We’re experiencing some technical difficulties on mobile apps but we’re working on it. In the meantime, live is available on desktop!” the tweet received more than 400 likes and more than 400 retweets in less than six months (shown below, left). That night, Swizz Beatz tweeted, “4mill plus tonight ! #verzuz we made history and crashed the internet !!!!! Thx so much to the culture” (shown below, right).
Brandy vs. Monica
On August 31st, 2020, the Verzuz TV Instagram account published a trailer for the battle between Brandy and Monica. Within 24 hours, the trailer received more than 1.1 million views and 100,000 likes (shown below, left). Later that night, the Verzuz aired on Instagram and published to YouTube, where it received more than 89,000 views (shown below, right).
That night, the Verzuz between Brandy and Monica trended on social media. People posted jokes and memes about the battle. For example, Twitter user @c0kahina tweeted a clip of Monica from the event with the caption, “Me pretending to enjoy myself at the function while the secret Uber I called is on its way #Verzuz.” The post received more than 37,000 likes and 13,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
— B*tch Hazel • 🇭🇹 (@c0kahina) September 1, 2020
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