Music News

HitPiece accused of taking indie artists’ music, selling as NFT without permission

Tuesday was a wild day for independent artists and not in a good way. 

Details are still hazy but what appears to have happened is an NFT site, HitPiece, scraped digital distribution sites like Spotify, iTunes and other platforms, for songs from independent artists and started selling those same songs as NFTs on its website. 

By late Tuesday night, the URL was down: 

HitPiece promised fans access to NFTs from their favorite bands — they just didn’t reach out to those bands first to get permission or create any kind of partnership that would allow the bands to benefit from the sale of those digital files. 

UPDATE: HitPiece, late Tuesday, posted this by way of… explanation? apology? CYA?

Todd Farrell Jr., who has released music as a solo artist and with the band Benchmarks, said his work had been posted to HitPiece’s website Tuesday. 

“I just saw everyone else posting and searched my own stuff. I think this thing has only lasted a day, honestly,” he said on Twitter. Everything that I’ve distributed digitally through a digital distribution service (Spotify, iTunes, etc). Both Benchmarks and solo stuff.”

The same was true for Robyn Raymond, cohost of the Women in Vinyl podcast and a lathe cut record producer (the same person who came to Arkells’ rescue with their Christmas singles late last year). 

“Same here. Whole catalog that was available on Spotify,” she tweeted. “I read somewhere that it was ‘scrubbing’ info from Spotify. The search feature was still working on HP site, even Black Sabbath is listed.

“Part of the whole problem with streaming. ‘Ownership’,” she said. She’s filed an infringement notice against the company and is far from alone.

When called out by artists who found their music posted as an NFT on HitPiece’s website (before it shut down), the twitter account @JoinHitPiece replied repeatedly to artists saying only to DM for details. An account for what appears to be the owner or manager of Hit Piece, Rory Felton (@RoryFelton, appearing as Felton.eth is hiring), tweeted earlier Tuesday afternoon “How do I buy NFTs with my IRA?”

There are dozens more responses like this.

On Jan. 31, in a discussion on Twitter, Felton said that, “As a music fan I love supporting an artist by buying their shirts, vinyl, tickets, and their NFTs.” 

Neither the HitPiece account nor Rory Felton’s account replied to a direct message asking for comments on the situation — the invitation to talk is still available and I am happy to give the company, and Felton, a fair opportunity to tell their side of the story. 

Whatever the story might be — at this point, a lot of musicians are angry and not getting any kind of answers, at least not publicly, about Hit Piece or Felton or the legal recourse of taking someone else’s work and publishing it in some form without the original creator’s express permission, consent and cooperation. 

This is a developing story. If you’re an artist whose work has been turned into an NFT by Hit Piece, please feel free to contact me: [email protected]

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 515 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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