It was only a matter of time before we encountered a clear conflict of interest in the domains where blockchain and intellectual property rights intersect. Metaverse concerts and virtual merchandise have become viable revenue streams overnight, with pop artists like Zara Larsson having early success on platforms like Roblox. However, like any gold rush, the lust for music NFTs has given rise to startups like Hitpiece. This platform has listed multiple artists’ catalogues without their permission and claims to have the means to pay artists out for NFTs without ever having their info on a database. Sound kinda funny? Let’s hear more.
So what did Hitpiece do wrong?
As with many scams and swindles, Hitpiece is operating under the guise of altruism – helping artists get paid by selling NFTs of their music. The difference here is that an entire database of artists’ content has been used without their knowledge let alone prior agreement. Now, while there are plenty of music tech companies out there that have built strategies on the very same narrative, this is far more opportunistic with a good deal more red flags. Simply by scanning over the webpage you are immediately confronted with a few aspects of the Hitpiece business model that seem highly suspect. Despite apparently operating as a blockchain platform, Hitpiece implicitly states that it only accepts payment via debit and credit card and does not currently support cryptocurrencies.
With the uproar from artists, labels, and fans online combined with the rather vague response from the company itself, it seems highly likely that Hitpiece will face multiple lawsuits. Behind the platform is music exec, podcaster, and former rapper Michael Berrin aka MC Serch, who has since released only a single tweet in response to the entire debacle. As the widespread shunning of the platform continues online, more and more artists continue to surface, speaking out against the misuse of their likeness and content and the fact that it is being sold without their knowledge. We could be witnessing a shift into new areas of growth within the music industry, as NFTs become a more common source of revenue for artists. Hopefully in future the legal infrastructure will grow too, preventing opportunistic schemes from taking advantage of artists in this manner.
More about Hitpiece:
- The response on Twitter caused more problems than it solved.: Hitpiece/Twitter