Musicians have taken to Twitter today to complain about a website that is ostensibly selling their music as NFTs without permission. HitPiece claims to sell one-of-one NFTs, meaning each one is singular and unique (as opposed to the endless iterations of ugly monkeys we are now subjected to).
It isn't even clear exactly what HitPiece is purportedly selling, as they certainly aren't the original master recordings. The website claimed that "HitPiece NFT’s are one-of-ones and are the only NFTs for that unique recording in HitPiece," indicating they might only be unique in the context of HitPiece's platform — a sort of artificial scarcity in an artificial ecosystem.
This story really says it all to me; people who don’t own something, selling nothing, all to make a quick buck. If I “bought” a song from one of my favorite artists on HitPiece, I would not have the right to play the song, which is fine because I wouldn’t even be given an MP3 of the song with my purchase, and the artist wouldn’t make any money. I couldn’t bring the song into a game or music player or anything like that, I would just have a token with HitPiece that said I owned that “copy” of the song…which again, is useless.
Now listen, if HitPiece opened up submissions to artists and let those artists add their songs to the marketplace, then I’d be way more sympathetic. I wouldn’t use it, but at least it could defend itself by saying it’s a way for you to directly support the artists you love.
This all gets down to a fundamental problem with NFTs, and it’s that anyone can mint anything they want. The good version of this is that anyone who wants to sell something they made can get it out there (although they can do that a multitude of ways today, but I digress), but the bad version is that stolen content can be minted and sold as well. Or in this case, the idea of something can be sold.
If you want to support musicians today, the best thing you can do is go to their website and buy something from them directly. Buy their music, buy a physical version of music you stream on Apple Music/Spotify, buy a shirt, buy concert tickets… Or check if they sell their music though Bandcamp and upload the songs to your Apple Music library (I still can’t believe Spotify doesn’t allow this).