Several artists and labels have denounced the NFT site HitPiece for selling NFTs of songs without the artists’ knowledge or permission. HitPiece has since been taken offline, with a single screen on their website reading, “We started the conversation and we’re listening.” Some artists, however, are no longer open to conversation.
HitPiece was originally advertised as a digital space where users could purchase NFTs of their favorite songs in a “gamified” experience. According to their website, members could “build their hit list of their favorite songs, appear on charts, and receive real value such as access and experiences with artists.”
It quickly became clear that in their operations, HitPiece was blatantly ignoring copyright laws.
Musician Wolfgang Van Halen has been among the most vocal in condemning HitPiece on social media. He called the website a “scam”, writing: “I just don’t want to live in a world where people like this don’t understand what is happening to them. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they saw no consequences for this egregious level of theft. Really disgusting shit here. Everyone at HitPiece should be ashamed.
Van Halen is not alone in criticizing HitPiece. Jackie Venson also expressed his disappointment and frustration with the situation, calling HitPiece “modern day thieves”.
HitPiece tweeted a public response to the backlash. “To be clear, artists get paid when digital goods are sold on HitPiece,” the statement read. However, it’s unclear how the artists would have been paid if they hadn’t made a deal with the platform.
In fact, Jack Antonoff from Bleachers has confirmed that he has no connection to the NFT trade. “[A]all NFT bleachers are fake. at the moment I don’t believe in NFTs so anything you see associated with me is not real,” Antonoff says in a social media post.
It’s not just the artists themselves who come after HitPiece. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released a letter calling for the permanent shutdown of HitPiece. “HitPiece appears to be little more than a scam operation designed to trade on fans’ love of music and the desire to connect more closely with artists, using buzzwords and jargon to disguise their utter failure to obtain the necessary rights,” Chief Legal Officer Ken Doroshow said. writing.
The RIAA said fans were tricked into believing they purchased NFTs directly associated with their favorite artists. But, in reality, HitPiece was selling information they didn’t have the rights to.
“Given how fans have been misled and defrauded by these unauthorized NFTs and the enormous risk to fans and artists posed by HitPiece and potential imitators, it was clear that we had to act immediately and with all due diligence. urgency to uphold fairness and honesty in the marketplace,” said RIAA President and CEO Mitch Glazier.
While the HitPiece situation is certainly not the first NFT controversy in the music industry, it has caused significant damage to artists and users.