Seattle man says his music was formed into NFTs, marketed for sale without permission

A Seattle musician said his own music was formed into NFTs and then marketed for sale online, but he never gave anyone permission to do so.

NFTs — or nonfungible tokens — are unique digital assets sold online.

A website believed to be responsible appears to have done the same to many other musicians.

Jeremy Blake says music is his passion and work. His website and YouTube channel showcase him as Red Means Recording.

Blake was surprised when he found his music marketed for sale online as NFTs at a site called HitPiece.

“I have not minted any of my work as NFTS and I’m not interested in that at all,” said Blake.

Blake found 21 of his Spotify tracks marketed as possible minted NFTs and tried to have them taken down. But with no way to contact HitPiece, he resorted to calling the website out on social media.

“I was one of thousands that were affected by this because they took everything. They took everything from anyone who was on Spotify,” said Blake.

HitPiece took Blake’s songs down, along with all the other artists’ music, but Blake said the damage was done.

In a tweet, HitPiece said:

“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.”

Blake said he’s unsure if any of his songs sold as NFTs, but he hasn’t been paid.

“They couldn’t actually be purchased yet. It was almost like this weird empty proof of concept thing,” said Blake.

Currently, a trip to HitPiece.com ends at a one-page site that says, “We started the conversation and we’re listening.” There are no other pages, only links to Twitter and Instagram pages and the company’s privacy policy.

“It was incredibly disappointing and exhausting to now have to get myself involved in something like this,” said Blake.

The Recording Industry Association of America told HitPiece to stop minting songs into NFTs.

“There’s always someone looking to exploit their (fans’ and artists’) excitement and energy. Given how fans were misled and defrauded by these unauthorized NFTs and the massive risk to both fans and artists posed by HitPiece and potential copycats, it was clear we had to move immediately,” a statement from the group’s chairman said.

Seattle University law professor Steve Tapia said NFTs are like receipts — one-of-a-kind proof you bought something. With music, it doesn’t mean you own a song.

“Copyright law says a lot about copying the song or using the song or arranging the song, but there’s nothing in copyright law in and of itself that says, ‘if I give you a receipt that says you have some strange ownership right to a digital copy of my song,’ — there’s nothing in copyright law that prevents you from doing that,” said Tapia.

“Everyone I know that makes music in Seattle that has put it on Spotify has been effected by this. I probably personally know 100 people that were affected by this,” said Blake.

Blake said it’s possible that HitPiece was never meant to go live, which leaves him wondering what the fallout may be.

“It really boggles the mind that anyone thought any part of this was a good idea,” said Blake.