Hitpiece's launch has been mired by a string of allegations — with bands alleging that their music has been listed without permission.
Artists have accused an NFT platform of stealing their music.
Hitpiece advertises itself as a marketplace that allows users to collect non-fungible tokens of their favorite songs.
Over time, they can cultivate playlists of the songs that mean the most to them, appear on leaderboards, and potentially unlock real-life experiences with the artists themselves.
But the project's launch has been mired by a string of allegations — with bands alleging that their music has been listed without permission.
To make matters worse, a number of the musicians in question are highly critical of NFTs as an asset class — pointing to the impact that they have on the environment.
Some have threatened to take legal action against Hitpiece, and the company has already received a number of cease and desist orders from record labels.
Hitpiece also appeared to list unofficial NFTs based on the intellectual property of major companies such as Nintendo and Disney — and copyright infringement cases could be especially nasty here given how such brands have deep pockets.
The project's existence has caused a storm on social media. Now, the website's contents have been taken down and replaced with a message that says:
"We started the conversation and we're listening."
Hitpiece's data appears to have been derived from a Spotify API. CoinMarketCap has attempted to reach out to the project to ask whether artists were approached before their songs were listed, and whether they would have been offered a share of the profits if the NFTs sold, but did not receive a comment at the time of writing.
It's fair to say that the arrival of NFTs has divided the music world… in a similar way to the art world.
Some bands, including Kings of Leon, have opted to embrace these digital assets — with many experiencing overwhelming demand for their collections. But earlier this week, Kanye West said he preferred to focus on creating value in the real world, writing on Instagram: "Do not ask me to do a f****** NFT."
While NFTs have been touted as a way of allowing fans to gain distinctive collectibles with proven authenticity, theft in the industry remains a real and enduring problem. And while a blockchain record may exist for the NFT in question, it means little if it's a record of a counterfeited product.