Following the music industry’s outcry over HitPiece‘s plans to auction unauthorized NFTs on its marketplace, there’s another platform getting slammed for allegedly hosting unlicensed content on the blockchain — and it’s now pledging to respond to the criticisms.
After some of the music business’ attention turned from HitPiece to NFT platform NFT Music Stream, also known as Streamer, on Monday, the site posted on Twitter early Tuesday (Feb. 8) that it would soon release a statement responding to allegations of music appearing on its site without artists’ consent. According to NFT Music Stream’s Tweets, the company’s goal is to “cut out the middle man” of labels and distributors. “We have established a decentralized music distribution and royalty management system to better reward artists and their fans,” its website states. “NFT Music Stream connects fans directly with artists in a beautiful music player interface.”
That interface now shows an error page reading, “We are fixing the tubes that bring you the tunes, stay tuned!” and tells users to come back in “a few days.” While there is currently no artist tab or way to see what artists are supposedly included on the platform, the NFT Music Stream Facebook page (created April 25, 2021) encourages fans to stream The Weeknd’s “Take My Breath” and Troye Sivan’s “Youth,” as well as music by Olivia Rodrigo and Megan Thee Stallion’s “greatest hits” directly on NFT Music Stream.
A series of Tweets posted by @nftmusicstream stressed that “people are missing the point of the project,” and clarified that NFT Music Stream pays streamer YouTube Music directly in order to host music on its platform. As NFT Music Stream’s CFO, who on Twitter goes by Brett, explained on Twitter Monday night, “[NFT Music Stream] pays for the music that is presented. When a track is played royalties are paid to the artist via their agreement with YouTube. We are NOT using the bulk subscription music to mint NFT’s. We provide this free service to our users at our own expense.”
In a series of tweets Tuesday, the company said, “A statement will be released soon as I think a lot of people are missing the point of the project. Firstly, we have not profited in anyway from Musicians and Artists, in fact we have lost money as we pay YouTube Music (not to be confused with You Tube directly) the rights to … host the music who then pays the royalties accordingly. Our goal is for the future where artists get to keep 98% of streaming profits through NFT distribution. We understand a lot of artists are still not familiar with what even an NFT is … so we will do our best shortly to address the concerns being raised by releasing a statement clearing up all the issues raised that we actually want to support artists as this is future of music distribution.”
“Should you wish for your music to be removed we will honor your wishes and remove it for you, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org,” promised the fourth and final Tweet addressing concerns. “We are on YOUR SIDE and are going to flip the industry on it’s head by cutting out the middle man & giving control back to you profit wise.”
NFT Music Stream did not respond to a request for comment at time of publishing.
The uproar around NFT Music Stream follows a similar response to HitPiece last week, which sparked outrage for listing thousands of NFTs for auction without consent from artists whose artwork and other information was pulled from Spotify’s API. As a result, on Friday, the RIAA sent a demand letter on behalf of major labels alleging the infringement of their intellectual property rights and threatening litigation.
“As you are no doubt aware, your clients, through the HitPiece website, have been engaged in the systematic and flagrant infringement of the intellectual property rights of the Record Companies and their recording artists on a massive scale,” RIAA senior vp litigation Jared Freedman wrote to HitPiece’s attorney.
As for NFT Music Stream, one Twitter user claimed, “They stole my covers, I ask them politely, PRIVATELY, to take it down and they chose to block me,” along with a screenshot showing as much. Another posted a screenshot of the once-running interface along with the Tweet, “I just saw that you were offering my music on your platform, as streams, and NFT mintable material. I own it, 100%. Name? Louis Philippe. I want nothing to do with you. Take it down, now. And I mean: now.”
Non-artists are chiming in as well, with one Twitter user who claims to be the kind of “middle man” that the NFT platform is hoping to cut out, writing: “Middle man here, maybe this could be a FAQ: ‘I represent a lot of artists who don’t want to have to deal with people like you using their music without authorization. What’s the best way to make sure that all of their music is removed from your site without having to call legal?'”
NFT Music Stream simply replied: “Good idea. We will include this in an upcoming statement.”
Billboard has reached out for comment.