Artists slam website HitPiece for listing songs as NFTs without permission

Jack Antonoff, Clipping., MUNA, Eve6, and many more artists took to social media to slam the website, which claims to “let fans collect NFTs of your favorite songs”

Multiple artists have slammed a website called HitPiece that appears to be auctioning off their music as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) without their knowledge or permission.

HitPiece claims to “let fans collect NFTs of your favorite songs,” according to an FAQ section on the website. “Each HitPiece NFT is a One of One NFT for each unique song recording. Members build their Hitlist of their favorite songs, get on leaderboards, and receive in real life value such as access and experiences with Artists.”

The website currently shows hundreds of what appear to be active auctions for NFTs tied to artists’ albums and songs, from prominent artists such as the Beatles, Taylor Swift and Bob Dylan to smaller independent acts.

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Several musicians who said they did not consent to their music purportedly being auctioned off as NFTs on the site slammed HitPiece on social media on the night of February 1. “Hey you stupid fucks,” tweeted Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz and Sad13. “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.”

BleachersJack Antonoff meanwhile, posted: “Any bleachers NFTs are fake. At the moment I do not believe in NFTs so anything you see associated with me isn’t real. And thanks to M for sending me this bullshit 🙂 i’m on one today!”

“Cease and desist motherfuckers,” tweeted Eve6. “NFTs are fraud.” In a follow-up, they called NFTs a “multi level marketing scam” that are “awful for artists”.

Nat Puff, who makes music as Left At London, tweeted: “I never have & never will sell NFT’s. & now some motherfuckers are selling NFT’s of MY music? Fuck I’m supposed to do? Fuck y’all.”

“Hey [Hitpiece] why is my music on your website? I didnt authorize this shit. You owe me MONEY (not crypto, REAL FUCKING MONEY).”

“Get ready to hear from our lawyers,” Tyler Shelton, vocalist of the Florida metal band Traitors, commented on HitPiece’s Facebook page. “We can make sure that this is class action I promise.”

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See other responses from artists including clipping., MUNA and more:

Shortly after the outcry on social media, HitPiece issued a brief statement on Twitter that began: “Clearly we have struck a nerve and are very eager to create the ideal experience for music fans.”

The statement claimed that “artists get paid when digital goods are sold on HitPiece.” It also described the current iteration of HitPiece as a “beta product”, and said Hitpiece is “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.”

On LinkedIn, HitPiece’s co-founder is listed as Rory Felton, while Michael Berrin is named its Chief Creative Officer. Venture capitalist Blake Modersitzki is also listed, along with Ryan Singer. According to HitPiece’s LinkedIn page, it was founded in 2021 and its headquarters are based in Provo, Utah.

HitPiece has collaborated with some artists to release NFTs of their songs, such as Nashville-based artist Cort Dingman and Utah band The National Parks. HitPiece also held a beta launch party at the prominent art fair Art Basel in 2021, which was apparently hosted by Busta Rhymes, N.O.R.E., Murda Beatz and more.

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As artists called HitPiece out, some of them raised questions about the the functionality of the website, given there is no blockchain wallet connection available through HitPiece. Adult Mom’s Stevie Knipe remarked: “It doesn’t seem like you can actually BUY anything or bid on our catalogue on there at this point.”

A brief section on HitPiece’s FAQ page relates to artist royalties for NFT sales, offering that “Each time an artist’s NFT is purchased or sold, a royalty from each transaction is accounted to the rights holders account.” It does not explain how that transaction would take place.

“Fuck this scam shit,” tweeted clipping. after being alerted. “I love that every bid on every auction is for the same amount of money. Seems super legit.”

At the time of writing, several songs by artists who have called out HitPiece still appear to be up for active sale, such as ‘Summertime’ by clipping. and ‘Alone with Girls’ by Speedy Ortiz.

Musician Al Riggs shared a screenshot of a message exchange they had with HitPiece. “Your content is on our site via Spotify’s API,” HitPiece wrote, providing a possible explanation for how the sheer number of artists, from wildly popular to relatively obscure, appeared on the platform.

 

NME has reached out to HitPiece and Spotify for comment.

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