A controversial NFT marketplace has drawn the ire of many in the music industry and the creator economy in general.
Legions of musicians are taking to social media to condemn HitPiece, a platform that allegedly mints and sells music NFTs without the artists' knowledge.
According to HitPiece's website, the marketplace "enables fans to collect NFTs of their favorite songs." However, it's unclear if the company acquired the rights to the songs and went through the necessary channels to publicly list them on its platform.
According to its website, HitPiece also claims it pays a royalty to artists whose music NFTs are bought or sold, but suggests the rights holder needs to create an account to receive payments. "Each time an artist's NFT is bought or sold, a royalty from each transaction is credited to the rights holder's account," the site's FAQ section reads.
Many songs recorded by major contemporary and electronic music artists appear to have been minted as NFTs and listed on HitPiece's website, where users can bid. For example, a listing of "Pure Grinding," a song recorded by the late dance music icon Avicii, is currently "Accepting Bids" at an initial list price of $100.
HitPiece's legality has been publicly questioned by many, including Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone's chief research editor.
"Hello, looks like your service will hook into a streaming service (Spotify?) and fetch all available titles," Ehrlich wrote in reply to a tweet published by HitPiece. "Curious how exactly you legally sell artist album NFTs without their permission?"
Digital art misappropriation has become a topic of dismay in the tangled and bizarre Web3 era. The emergence of NFTs has led to widespread fraudulent activity, as in March 2021 when allegedly thousands of dollars worth of tokenized art were stolen from the popular marketplace Nifty Gateway.
"'HitPiece' is a (sic) pretty apt name for this scam," tweeted EPROM, a renowned electronic music producer and DJ. "Literally NFT snoops for any artist with digital distribution."
A member of HitPiece's executive team did not immediately respond to worldmusic.blog's request for comment.
In response to a Twitter user who openly accused HitPiece of being a "scam," the company denied the claim.
"Hi, to be clear, we are definitely not a scammer," HitPiece tweeted. "If you want more information."
“Feel free to send us a DM,” is another reply. "Your music is not on our site, nor do we stream music."
Editor's Note: Following the publication of this report, HitPiece released a statement via Twitter. "We've definitely struck a chord and are very keen on creating the ideal experience for music fans," wrote HitPiece. “To be clear, artists get paid when digital goods are sold on HitPiece. As with all beta products, we continue to listen to all user feedback and are committed to evolving the product to meet the needs of artists, labels and fans alike."