This NFT Website Just Listed Hundreds Of Artists’ Music Without Their Permission
"HitPiece has stolen my art and music and listed it for their own gain and I am fully against this."
Hundreds of artists have flocked to social media on Wednesday morning after discovering their music is being listed as NFTs on the website HitPiece.
“HitPiece lets fans collect NFTs of your favourite songs,” the website reads. “Each HitPiece NFT is a One of One NFT for each unique song recording. Members build their Hitlist of their favourite songs, get on leaderboards, and receive in real life value such as access and experiences with Artists.”
The website — which was virtually unheard of prior to this — features hundreds of live auction listings for everyone from Drake and The Beatles, to small Australian bands.
“HitPiece is building for solutions for Recording Artists to be able to mint NFTs of exclusive songs that aren’t distributed to commercial DSPs, monetise them in the metaverse, and providing [sic] unique ways for fans to interact with music,” the website reads.
Musicians have since demanded the platform remove their content — which was uploaded without their knowledge or permission.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am NOT selling NFTs of my songs on @joinhitpiece. HitPiece has stolen my art and music and listed it for their own gain and I am fully against this. You can count on me that I will never do NFTs. If HitPiece read this, take my shit down. pic.twitter.com/H14B5yTosl
— Icosahedron (@letsmoo06) February 1, 2022
Lol NFT website Hitpiece is trying to sell our music (and many others) without our permission??!!
If u PayPal us the $100 instead we'll come over and play downsides then we can have lunch. pic.twitter.com/l5exc4Y1nZ
— Columbus (@columbus_bne) February 1, 2022
It is unclear what exactly you are bidding on, or who profits from the live auctions on the HitPiece website, as it’s worth noting that the Twitter account has repeatedly denied that these are NFTs for sale.
According to social media users, it appears the website has scraped Spotify’s API and is using this data to “auction” music as NFTs with no real understanding of what you’re buying.
Send us DM and we would be to be glad to explain how our platform works. We arent selling your streaming your music. Have a nice day.
— HitPiece – Music NFTs (@joinhitpiece) February 1, 2022
It’s also worth noting that the website doesn’t have any blockchain wallet connection available, so it’s unclear if the items for sale are actually even NFTs in the first place. Artists, whose work has been uploaded without their permission, are unsure what exactly is being sold and have been unable to get in contact with HitPiece directly.
“From what I gather, they minted (not sure what that means) the links to the Spotify data for those songs,” US-based band Bedbug told Junkee. “In any case, I created those songs. Beyond the recordings alone, I named all of the tracks and I created the artwork. Regardless of what exactly is being minted, it’s my work used without my permission for a practice that I find exploitative and immoral. I didn’t sign up for it with my distributor, only to host my music on streaming platforms.
“The HitPiece folks haven’t replied to my tweet or messaged me. To many, they are responding that nobody has purchased any NFT yet, so no harm done… But if someone did, would I see any of that money? Even if I did, I disagree fundamentally with my art being used as an NFT, so would I have any recourse? But I guess ethics always come second to their wallets.”
For Bedbug, the issue — apart from the obvious fear of not making a cent from the auctions — is the fact that the band did not consent to have their work profited off in any capacity in the blockchain space.
“I think it’s important to note as well, even if artists were making money, it’s by participating in a system that we explicitly disagree with and never consented to. I could make money by investing in weapons or fossil fuels. I choose not to because I disagree with it,” added the band.
Dan Seymour of Brisbane-based band Columbus isn’t against the idea of diversifying your revenue stream as an artist — especially during COVID — but notes that this also makes it easier for “shady” third parties to exploit the system to profit off someone else’s art.
“Love ’em or hate ’em – NFT’s are likely here to stay whilst there is a demand for them. If an artist has an audience with an appetite for a certain product (whether that’s stubby holders, baby merchandise or NFT’s) — well more power to the artist who can sustain their passion through monetising that,” said Seymour.
“However — this also provides a lucrative opportunity in an unregulated market for shady bros to try and make a quick buck. HitPiece seems to have tapped into the Spotify API to “auction” off as many music NFTs as they can grab — perhaps in a bizarre marketing ploy, or in an impractical belief that artists will jump on board once their music is being digitally monetised.
“It’s a touch concerning, mildly amusing and a stark example of the speed of innovation within the tech industry.”
Seymour asserts the attention this has shed on the issue could be a great opportunity to rethink how artists make money. “Whilst NFT’s may not be the answer (and HitPiece will likely become a byline in a Wikipedia entry) — it could be a great opportunity for the shakedown in thinking when building sustainable careers for artists and reviewing the touring & streaming models that have precariously positioned the lives of many independent artists,” he added, referring to monetisation more broadly — not flogging your music on HitPiece.
The website has since crashed and is currently displaying a 404 error at the time of publishing this article. Junkee has repeatedly reached out to HitPiece and its founders for further clarification on what, exactly, is being sold and who is reaping the rewards.