A website called HitPiece that has been selling music-related NFTs has temporarily closed after artists accused it of appropriating their work without permission, Rolling Stone has reported. Outraged social media posts were issued recently from artists including Jack Antonoff, Eve 6, and Sadie Dupuis. "Any [Bleachers] NFTs are fake," Tweeted Jack Antonoff. "I do not believe in NFTs so anything you see associated with me isn't real."
The HitPiece website is apparently built on top of Spotify's API. Before shutting down, it appeared to be offering NFTs of songs and albums from the likes of John Lennon and BTS, including photos and album artwork, according to the Internet Archive.
hey you stupid fucks @joinhitpiece we don't have any deal with you or any NFT site and there SURE DOES LOOK like an active auction going on for a speedy ortiz song
hope everyone's reporting this garbage to email@example.com as a few folks have recommended @GoDaddy https://t.co/VFg4gq5wVK
— speedy ortiz ÷ sad13 ÷ sadie dupuis ÷ haunted guy (@sad13) February 1, 2022
Like many other NFT business models, however, it's not clear what HitPiece was selling, exactly. "This particular grift doesn’t really affect artists in that HitPiece wasn’t even selling files of the songs — just the receipt of purchase to the general idea of them," Infant Island guitarist and grad student Alex Rudenshiold told Rolling Stone. "It's still copyright infringement. It's re-commodifying the metadata (art, song and album titles, etc.) to make money without permission."
HitPiece, founded by former indie label owner Rory Felton, issued a statement. "Clearly we have struck a nerve and are very eager to created the ideal experience for music fans," it said on Twitter. "To be clear artists get paid when digital goods are sold on Hitpiece. "We are continuing to listen to all user feedback and are committed to evolving the product to fit the needs of the artists, labels and fans alike."
However, artists are skeptical of HitPiece's claim that they will be paid. "They steal your music, auction NFTs of it on their site, and when they get caught they say don’t worry you 'get paid,'" the group Deerhoof tweeted. "I get that corporate types are simply greedy and cruel on principle but what kind of mind could even imagine that doubletalk like this could somehow make it OK?"