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HitPiece NFT scam explained as musicians issue warning over stolen music

The musical NFT selling platform (Image via joinhitpiece/Instagram)
The musical NFT selling platform (Image via joinhitpiece/Instagram)
Abhirup Sengupta

NFTs continue to court backlash online after multiple artists claimed on Twitter that HitPiece is allegedly selling their music without permission. The controversial website claims to sell One of One NFT for each song recording.

As per their website's vague claims about the process, the marketplace auctions the music as NFT for seven days. During the week, bids are made, and after the auction is won, "the NFT is minted and delivered to the winner's custodial wallet."

The firm's response to the controversy on Twitter (Image via joinhitpiece/Twitter)
The firm's response to the controversy on Twitter (Image via joinhitpiece/Twitter)

As of February 2, the FAQ section of the website does not elaborate on the process of how the NFT is owned and the legality behind ownership.


Artists hit back against HitPiece NFT marketplace for "exclusive songs"

On February 2, multiple artists took to Twitter to label the business as a "scam." They also alleged that the firm sold their music without permission. Amongst several artists and groups, Tennessee-based independent record label Needlejuice Records claimed that they did not consent to their music's NFTs being sold.

Meanwhile, musical artist, TheRealSullyG is considering all legal options over the alleged sale of his songs as NFTs without permission.

@joinhitpiece How are you going to pay me for the 5 albums/EP’s that I self-released and own the masters to? Please explain how this is going to happen.
The worst thing about this is how they are so willing to take advantage of artists who don't have a big enough voice.As artists, we're just trying to make a living, but things like this delegitimize all the blood, sweat, and tears we've put into our work.Shame on you. twitter.com/joinhitpiece/s…
Apparently, this outlet called @/joinhitpiece has been minting music-related N/F/Ts. I just want everyone to know two things:1. These aren't ours. None of us signed up for this, and it especially does not align with my anti-copyright stance.2. Check if your project is here. https://t.co/2fqLFGGQQo
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. https://t.co/65qwDr8zNI
@joinhitpiece “clearly we have struck a nerve” lol the absolute mental gymnastics to understand your thinking on this is mind boggling. You can’t sell someone’s house without their permission and then be like “oh but we’ll pay them!” You have no right to sell it in the first place.
@joinhitpiece Can you please send us the licensing agreement that guarantees we get paid? I don't remember signing off on one for your company.
@joinhitpiece Except your site listed my catalogue for purchase without ever determining whether those rights were for sale. As an attorney who practices in the areas of IP and Securities law, I can confidently say that you are committing fraud. Tempted to file suit against your company.
@joinhitpiece No. Every single artist I’ve spoken to about this never gave permission for their music to be sold as an NFT on your site - myself included. How exactly were you ever planning on paying us? 🤔 oh wait, you weren’t. https://t.co/B0Yl6KHCj6
@joinhitpiece oopsie woopsie! we bwoke copywight laws and pissed off the entiwe musix industwy úwù
@joinhitpiece i don't know if "striking a nerve" is quite the same thing as "infringing upon copyright law"
Neither us nor our artists have consented to @joinhitpiece selling NFTs of our music. Crypto grifters prove once again that they do not care about artists or ethics- just their dystopian end goal of turning every facet of life into a stock market pump & dump scheme.

What does HitPiece claim about the artist's royalties?

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According to their website, the NFT minting firm states that the artist receives a royalty every time an NFT is sold or purchased. They claimed that "royalty from each transaction is credited to the rights holder's account."

The platform made the same claim via a Twitter post after several artists were angered and alleged that the firm's business was a scam. The platform's process of paying royalties to the artist begs the question regarding their right to sell the music in the first place.

The publishing right of music either lies with the record label or the independent artist who owns the master. This means that unless the firm acquires streaming or reselling rights from the owner, HitPiece is not legally permitted to reproduce or resell the music in any shape or form.


Does the firm have the right to sell music-based NFTs?

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As of February 2, the firm's website had 291 live NFT auctions. It is possible that some indie artists signed up to the platform and gave them legal permission to sell the music. Following the massive backlash on Twitter, numerous record labels, artists, and musical groups were not even aware of the NFT auctions of their music.

The website offers artists and their teams the ability to register for the royalty program on the platform. However, the process and legally binding contractual obligations are not known.


Edited by Srijan Sen

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