By Will Yannacoulias
For Indie music artists the struggle to earn money from their work is an everyday reality. The fact that the creators are often catching crumbs at the bottom of the revenue stream is frustrating, but when artists are cut entirely out of the buying and selling of their work it’s downright disgusting. Headlines were made this week when a new music platform called HitPiece was called out for operating a shady, poorly explained NFT selling scheme that dealt in songs; no artists were ever contacted for permission and the small matter of paying those who created the music still hasn’t been explained. Two Saskatoon bands, Me The Guts and Swayze, spoke out on social media this week about HitPiece using NFTs as a vehicle to exploit artists. NSMZ invited Derek Kuchirka of Me The Guts and Justin Bruce of Swayze to better explain the position of the musicians whose work is being traded.
“They are blatantly stealing from any and every artist who’s music is on the Spotify platform” Kuchirka succinctly told NSMZ. “Now that people have expressed their anger they’ve changed their tune to make it sound like they’re here to help artists and do it legally. If that was the case then why were we not contacted to have our albums loaded onto the page? In all honesty you’re not gonna make anything off of my band, but there are definitely artists out there that HitPiece could easily make a ton of money off of without the artist knowing.”
HitPiece shut their website down when the backlash began, posting a sorry-not-sorry notice that “We Started The Conversation And We’re Listening” but Kuchirka’s not buying it. “The whole ‘We started the conversation’ statement they released is such utter shit” he countered. “People expressed their anger about their work being stolen, so no, you did not start the conversation. You just got caught and are trying to cover your asses now.”
Justin Bruce, who was upset to find Swayze’s entire back catalog on the block, echoed Kuchirka’s sentiments. “The Hitpiece situation gaining so much traction online was very lucky because the backlash from artists got things shut down fairly quickly” Bruce explained. “It makes me worry though about how many similar operations have flown under the radar that are taking advantage not only of artists, but of regular people who think they're making some sort of a legitimate monetary investment.”
Colin Marit of Fixed Frequency Records (who distribute and promote indie artists including Me The Guts, but actually let them know about it) weighed in with utter disbelief, saying that “I think the whole NFT thing is creating a market for talentless people to steal works from hard working artists like Me The Guts and Swayze and sell their work as their own. It doesnt even make sense but its happening.“
HitPiece didn’t respond to our request for a comment, but probably screenshot it and are selling it online somewhere right now.