A digital marketplace called HitPiece is allegedly selling songs as NFTs without the consent of artists or proper licensing.
According to LinkedIn, HitPiece was co-founded by industry executive Rory Felton and Michael Berrin (formerly known as the rapper MC Serch), with the financial backing of Blake Modersitzki. The marketplace went live in beta in early December, offering fans the chance to bid on a “One of One NFT for each unique song recording.”
This was news to many of the artists whose music is up for sale on HitPiece, and who only learned of the marketplace’s existence on Tuesday.
“Bottom feeding scavengers of late capitalism sucking the last marrow from our bones and/or running a scam on me, you, or everyone, because obviously, I didn’t approve this, and apparently neither did anyone else you’ll see on the site,” tweeted Ted Leo.
“this site ‘hitpiece’ is selling nft’s of our band and MANY others without permission,” Eve 6 posted on Twitter. “if you’re in a band click the link you may be on here. cease and desist motherfuckers. nft’s are fraud”
Ghostly International, a record label representing artists like Matthew Dear, Com Truise, and Mary Lattimore, said the NFTs were “unlicensed,” and “about 20 other artists and labels we know have been infringed so fuck em.”
Even artists who have publicly disavowed NFTs, such as Brian Eno and Kanye West, can be found on the HitPiece marketplace.
Consequence reached out directly to HitPiece, as well as Felton and Berrin for additional information about the company, including its licensing agreements. As of publication, none of the parties have responded.
However, in a statement posted to Twitter last Tuesday evening, HitPiece said “artists get paid when digital goods are sold on HitPiece. Like all beta products, we are continuing to listen to user feedback and are committed to evolving the product to fit the needs of the artists, labels, and fans alike.”
Update – February 2nd: As Pitchfork points out, Felton spoke about HitPiece’s business model in an interview with the Business Builders podcast. The platform is built on top of Spotify’s API, which enables it to grab the meta data of millions of songs. Each song is then sold as a one of one NFT, which Felton likened to a trading card. “You start to collect your favorite songs and build your ‘HitList,'” Felton explained. “And the idea is you get to show off to your friends or people around the world that you own the greatest HitList you can create of all your favorite songs.” Felton also claimed artists would be paid whenever their work is sold on the platform.
— HitPiece – Music NFTs (@joinhitpiece) February 2, 2022
You can see more artists reactions to HitPiece below.
Does @pattonoswalt know his art is for sale as an NFT on the super-shady @joinhitpiece site? https://t.co/PFmldHfb7n
— Unironic Malört Enjoyer (@encounterparts) February 2, 2022
wow just found out a website minted NFTs for a bunch of songs by bands I play in without our knowledge or permission, very cool! if you're a musician who's released stuff on a major streaming service it seems like this might also have happened to you? pic.twitter.com/WssRu0tVgg— girl Jughead ~Audrey~ Jones (@audreyotherway) February 1, 2022
These people have taken my entire catalog and put it up for sale as NFT’s without my knowledge or consent. I saw many other artists on their site too. Modern day thieves. As if it wasn’t hard enough to be a musician in this era. pic.twitter.com/2hhHxeMq1l— Jackie Venson (@jackievenson) February 1, 2022
Hey @joinhitpiece why is my music on your website? I didnt authorize this shit. You owe me MONEY (not crypto, REAL FUCKING MONEY)— nat “cops break laws to terrorize/intimidate” puff (@LeftAtLondon) February 1, 2022
Feel free to send us a DM. Your music isn't on our site, nor do we stream music.— HitPiece - Music NFTs (@joinhitpiece) February 1, 2022
Hello @joinhitpiece pic.twitter.com/ZLVhm5nliF— Sunday Dinner Records (@sundaydinnerecs) February 2, 2022
How do I buy NFTs with my IRA?— felton.eth is hiring (@Roryfelton) February 1, 2022
yo, go scoop some cliffy NFTs from hitpiece!! lol jk we’re mad about this i think pic.twitter.com/zvnDiKqmsz— ?????????? (@cliffdiverOK) February 1, 2022
Uhhh???? What the fuck is this? https://t.co/YsOSwLGZSw pic.twitter.com/0Rse79Octv— stevie (@adultmomband) February 1, 2022
Wow, they even appear to be selling NFTs of my old music that barely anyone has listened to for years. Looks like they raided the Spotify database?! https://t.co/QVoZ2vQwWJ— Martin SFP Bryant (@MartinSFP) February 1, 2022
illegal?theft ? take down ? cease & desist ? lawsuits ?fines ? incoming ? dumbass ? NFTs https://t.co/WJjF6jiAEZ— speedy ortiz ÷ sad13 ÷ sadie dupuis ÷ haunted guy (@sad13) February 1, 2022
You can also mint this interaction, auction it, and then shove it up your ass. You have my full permission. pic.twitter.com/prVXdAAQGT
— Wolf Van Halen 🐺 🚐 🙌 (@WolfVanHalen) February 2, 2022