Chances are, you’ve heard about NFTs by now. It’s unavoidable, unfortunately, and pretty much the entire art world is completely fed up with them.
The latest bit of NFT fuckery this week came in the form of a website called HitPiece, apparently run by rapper MC Serch of Non Phixion, venture capitalists Blake Modersitzki and Ryan Singer, and Roy Felton (whose Twitter bio lists him as an “entrepreneur”).
The site offered users to bid on songs that had been transformed into NFTs. Of course, they did not ask for any of the artists’ permissions, nor did they own any of the music being auctioned. The majority of the music belonged to independent artists, though they did offer NFTs of larger musicians like BTS and The Beatles (who surely did not give permission, either).
Multiple musicians took to social media to call them out on the obvious infringement.
Unsurprisingly, the site quickly delisted their auctions after multiple artists and labels threatened to file cease-and-desist letters. Their site currently displays the text, “We Started The Conversation And We’re Listening,” as if they had done anything monumental or original and didn’t simply steal some mp3s.
And, of course, the folks at HitPiece managed to get a snarky tweet in, too.
What is an NFT, exactly? Well, the acronym stands for “non-fungible token.” What does that mean? It means it’s a “unique” piece of data stored on the blockchain that uses up obscene amounts of energy. They’re like really expensive trading cards, except you don’t actually own the card, the card is breaking multiple copyright laws, and it sets a rainforest on fire thousands of miles away when you look at it.
Perhaps the most insidious aspect of NFTs is that they pretend to be “helping” artists. Spoiler alert: they don’t. In the case of HitPiece, for example, they claimed that artists would be paid for any NFT sales. However, seeing as how they did not own any of the music in the first place, it’s unclear how they would possibly pay the artists royalties.