Music NFTs startup HitPiece gets off to a bad start with artists


We would – obviously! – never advise a startup to use music or related rights and content without the permission of artists. But we’d especially never advise them to do that with the music of David Lowery: an artist who knows tech, copyright law and isn’t afraid of taking even the biggest music services to task over their misdeeds.

Startup HitPiece finds itself in hot water today, then: Lowery is just one of the artists outraged to have seen his back catalogue turned into NFTs being sold on HitPiece’s new marketplace without his knowledge or participation.

Not a great start for a service that claims to be “building a community where you can purchase one-of-one unique music NFT’s’ directly from your favorite artists”.

Amid claims that HitPiece was scraping Spotify’s API and minting NFTs based on that data, the company responded to the complaints with this statement. “Clearly we have struck a nerve and are very eager to create the ideal experience for music fans. To be clear, artists get paid when digital goods are sold on HitPiece.”

How? Well, that remains to be answered: the ‘How do Artists earn royalties from HitPiece’ question on the startup’s FAQ page simply links back to its homepage at the time of writing.

A glimpse at its Twitter account’s ‘Tweets & Replies’ feed hints at the scale of artist and label complaints, with HitPiece asking them to direct-message for further information, while claiming that it is not selling or streaming music.

Coming shortly after one of the biggest NFT marketplaces, OpenSea, admitted that 80% of the items created with its new free-minting tool were “plagiarized works, fake collections, and spam”, it’s a reminder of the challenges in this space.

‘Move fast and break things’ may have helped Mark Zuckerberg and other tech bosses become multi-billionaires, but ‘Move fast and break artists’ trust’ is not a path to success in the music NFTs landscape. HitPiece has a lot of work to do now if it really does want to forge partnerships (and share revenue) with musicians.

Written by: Stuart Dredge