HitPiece, the website selling NFTs of songs by musicians without permission, has been taken offline following a backlash from artists

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HitPiece, a website selling NFTs of songs without permission from artists and copyright holders, has been taken offline.

The site has been widely condemned by the music community over the past week for unauthorized NFT listings, including by Wolfgang Van Halen, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jack Antonoff, and Austin-based singer-songwriter. Texas, Jackie Venson.

“So it seems that fucking NFT scam site HitPiece thinks [it] can auction off everyone’s music using Spotify data,” Van Halen wrote yesterday (February 2). “Fuck everyone involved in this. Enjoy being destroyed by literally everyone, you stupid idiots.

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He added: “I just don’t want to live in a world where people like this don’t understand what’s happening to them. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they saw no consequences for this egregious level of theft. Shit really disgusting here. Everyone at HitPiece should be ashamed.

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Venson added his voice to the chorus of disapproval with a Facebook post on Feb. 1, which read, “These people stole my entire catalog and put it up for sale as NFT 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 back then.

Jack Antonoff – lead singer of indie pop band Bleachers – also tweeted: “All Bleachers NFTs are fake. At the moment, I don’t believe in NFTs, so anything you see associated with me isn’t real.

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Following the backlash, HitPiece offered a response on Twitter yesterday (February 2), writing, “We have clearly hit a nerve and are very excited to create the perfect experience for music fans. To be clear, artists get paid when digital goods are sold on HitPiece.

“Like 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.”

Right now, HitPiece.com just hosts a one-line post that reads, “We’ve started the conversation and we’re listening.” Wolfgang Van Halen, however, doesn’t seem interested in a dialogue, replying, “No… I’m pretty sure this conversation is over, you gargantuan piece of shit.”

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In a recent conversation on the Business builders podcast (by Fork), one of HitPiece’s co-founders, Rory Felton, explained that the platform is built on Spotify’s API, and therefore has access to the streaming platform’s entire music catalog.

“The idea is that you can show off to your friends or people around the world, for example, you have the biggest hit list you can create of all your favorite songs,” he said. “Artists receive royalties not only from the initial auction, but also from each time they are traded.”

Despite his comments, as some have noted, it’s unclear how or if artists will be reimbursed if they haven’t reached an agreement with the platform.

The subject of NFTs is increasingly unavoidable for the regular Internet user in 2022, but for the uninitiated: NFTs (or Non-Fungible Tokens) are a means of establishing ownership of digital assets such as art. visual or music. When a transaction or sale of an NFT is made, it is recorded on a decentralized digital ledger known as a blockchain.

While decentralization and the absence of a third party monitoring these transactions can be beneficial in establishing digital autonomy, it is also a double-edged sword in that criminal or controversial activity is more difficult to control.

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