The non-fungible token (NFT) craze that has been sweeping the internet for months is truly a sight to behold. Huge sums of cryptocurrency are traded for these “elements” of the Ethereum blockchain, alongside dreams that one day they will be worth much more.
As a result, the hype around NFTs (especially when they relate to a certain type of art) has reached astonishing levels, with new projects popping up all the time promising to revolutionize this and democratize that. As the music industry is often criticized for not doing enough to support artists, some platforms decided they could do better.
So far, it hasn’t gone well. In early February, the RIAA intervened to issue a cease and desist against HitPiece.com, describing it as a scam site designed to mislead and defraud fans with its offer to sell them NFTs genuinely associated with artists. . According to their RIAA, this certainly was not the case.
NFT music stream
With HitPiece now in something of a hibernation, another NFT-focused platform has been thrown into the limelight following its launch this month. NFT music stream promises a “new chain of sounds” alongside promises to unite artists, fans, distributors and labels “in one beautiful, efficient and transparent NFT music platform”.
“NFT MUSIC STREAM is a fun and exciting private NFT Music platform where content creators can charge for audio and music content and get paid in crypto. It gives investors the freedom to distribute, monetize and stream music. audio through our NFT MUSIC streaming platform,” the service says.
“We have implemented a decentralized music distribution and royalty management system to better reward artists and their fans. NFT Music Stream connects fans directly to artists in a beautiful music player interface.
Streaming service upsets artists
This music player was available on Streamer.fm but despite its claims to help “cut the middleman” to give artists a bigger share of the spoils, many quickly realized something was wrong. According to the masses of complaints from artists on Twitter, few – if any – had agreed to have their music placed on the platform.
Composer Kerry Muzzy, for example, took to Twitter to complain that the new streaming service had no rights to monetize its copyrighted works. However, after an indefinite number of DMs to the @nftmusicstream account, they blocked it in the same way many other artists manufacturing similar complaints.
Of course, big questions remained. Why did NFT Music Stream think it had the right to distribute artists’ content without their explicit permission? Likewise, where did he get his music and illustrations to feed his music player? And, indeed, was it somehow authorized, and if so, by whom?
NFT Music Stream YouTube Music Subscriber
Since the NFT Music Stream white paper is just six pages and provides almost no useful information on anything, it was up to the more technical artists to take a quick peek under the hood. It didn’t go well either.
Posting on Twitter, @shyphomusic expressed concern that the “next evolution of the industry” was actually a “glorification interface for YouTube.” Another one claims that the site code was using a domain owned by Spotify for API usage.
With YouTube’s claim raising a number of eyebrows, artists pressed NFT Music Stream on the details. Surprisingly, the company was quick to admit that rather than the “decentralized music distribution” system mentioned in its advertisement, its player is indeed a front-end for YouTube, accessible through a “bundled subscription“, which means that when a track is played, “royalties are paid to the artist through their agreement with YouTube”.
When the issue of artist consent was raised, the company said that since artists gave YouTube permission to show their content, NFT Music Stream also had permission.
“The artist has consented to make their music available to YouTube, which charges us for its use and passes the royalties on to the artist. We don’t make NFTs out of them. We don’t profit from them. An NFT musical can only be created from music directly uploaded and created by the artist themselves,” the company said. replied.
“If you don’t want your music provided as part of a subscription service, you can cancel your agreement with them. That said, email our support team with proof of ownership/representation to remove it,” the service stated bluntly. added.
NFT Music Stream Player disassembled
Given that NFT Music Stream is now recorded saying that it does no NFT from artists content ripped from YouTube, the big question is why it was put on the service in the first place. NFT Music Stream said many users are “missing the project”, which is interesting given that the artists it claims to support have clearly not been informed enough.
“First, we have not taken advantage of musicians and artists in any way, in fact we have lost money by paying YouTube Music (not to be confused directly with YouTube) for the rights to host the music which then pays royalties accordingly. Our goal is for the future where artists can retain 98% of streaming profits through NFT distribution,” they said. added.
With artists in general clearly outraged by the launch and baffled by the business plan, NFT Music Stream also managed to annoy musician and musicians’ rights champion David Lowery. Not just because he was annoyed on behalf of artists, but because his music was also made available on the platform without his express permission.
“Don’t Blow Me,” Lowery warned the platform. “In case you’re unfamiliar with my work,” he added, linking directly to an article detailing its class action lawsuit against Spotify that cost the streaming service tens of millions of dollars.
Worse still, screenshot illustrations posted by Lowery indicate what appear to be unauthorized uploads of his music to YouTube. This suggests that no matter how much mental gymnastics is applied to the music player service or NFT Music Stream’s business model, Lowery is unlikely to earn a penny from either.
A worse start for a pro-artist service is hard to imagine, but all signs suggest it won’t be the last.