We Asked Ditto Music If They Pay Mechanical Royalties. This Is What They Said…


A publisher gave us a tip that they were not being paid iTunes Match mechanical royalties from various independent distribution companies. So we began researching this. I sent emails to the companies this publisher mentioned.

My email read:


It has been brought to my attention that (YOUR COMPANY)  is not paying publishers the mechanical royalties owed to them from iTunes Match. As written in the iTunes contract under Exhibit J (Cloud Features), Section 6(a), COMPANY (YOUR COMPANY) is responsible for paying these mechanical royalties directly to the publisher from the cloud service (iTunes Match).


As you know, Amazon and Google have opted for the compulsory license and are required to pay publishers directly these (Locker / Cloud) mechanicals, but iTunes chose to negotiate this directly with each distributor. So the responsibility has been on the distributor to pay these mechanicals. By US Copyright law, Locker mechanical royalties are different than streaming (or download) royalties.


Can you explain why you haven’t been paying these mechanicals to the appropriate publishers? Or if you have been, can you put me in touch with a few publishers you’ve paid to confirm this?


Every other distributor responded with a professional answer explaining how they handle iTunes Match mechanical royalties. This report is coming soon.

However this is what Lee Parsons, CEO of Ditto Music responded (and CCed his legal department along with Paul Resnikoff, owner of Digital Music News):


Are you a lawyer now Ari or are you simply blackmailing a hard working company that you know nothing about for the sake of a few web hits?


If you had looked into this properly, with ourselves and the Harry Fox Agency who are helping with this then you would not be issuing such a threat.


I have a great legal team and a wealth of knowledge on this subject that you clearly do not.


I understand you asking me about this. I do not understand you blackmailing me for a comment so that you can get hits on your website.


I won’t be commenting to you and my legal team will be combing your articles with a look to sue for every libellous (sic) comment printed.


Paul. As a supporter, writer and an advertiser on your site. Consider our relationship terminated if  i ever hear from this “employee” again.




Lee Parsons
Founder & CEO


I’m not quite sure what Lee means by blackmailing. Or threatening. It was a private email asking a question for a potential story. I make sure to get my facts straight before publishing anything. If there has been an accusation made against a company I will always contact them to get their side of the story before passing judgement or publishing anything.

+Read What Every Other Company’s Response Was

My angle was not to attack Ditto (or any distribution company). Just to get the facts. And the truth.

It is a very serious accusation made that distribution companies are not paying out royalties. So we’re looking into it.

But, Lee, these facts are that you personally attacked me for asking a question. And threatened to sue me. And then childishly CCed my boss, to what, get me fired?

This speaks volumes about your service. I’ve heard horrible things about Ditto’s service from many of my readers and haven’t reported on it publicly. But now, I will.

From an email sent by a musician:


Subject: DITTO fyi…Horrible


I bought the 5 singles and 5 albums deal and the CODES they provided me have NEVER worked. If I would have known “saving” by buying submission credits ahead of time was going to cause me this much stress, I would have paid $39 at CDbaby per single. This year, I missed important release deadlines and grammy submissions.


I asked Ditto numerous times to help me and they tried to fix their IT system. It took an eternity and the codes still didn’t work. Finally, I just asked for my money back which was = $148.93 USD (or £89.00 GBP). Everytime I tried to use their codes it would bring the price anywhere from $600 to $1200 to release a single (normally $7).


Every time I contact them about my refund they give me the “We’ve contacted accounting and you should see your money in paypal within 24-48 hours”. And now, they just ignore me.


Just an FYI, this has been going on for almost a year.



And another (from a comment on Ari’s Take digital distribution comparison):


I started working with Ditto last year. I distributed through them 4 albums of Eldorado (rock band from Spain). I had plenty of problems with Ditto and I think it may be worth sharing them:
– When starting the distribution: the songs have bad names in some shops, wrong genre,
some albums appeared duplicated in some shops, the albums appeared in shops that were marked as NOT to be distributed (as Grooveshark)


– Trying to solve these problems: I open different tickets in the customer service of
Ditto. All were answered very politely saying that they will take care of the problem, but then half of them were not solved, not pursued. There were also inconsistencies in the sales reports and I needed to report that repeatedly to have the real money added (all this according to their unmatching data, I don’t know the real figures).


– Once I tried to have the album taken down: after months of this situation, I asked them in 2013, July, 23rd to have all the four albums taken down. They informed me that would take from 4-6 weeks to have them off all the shops. Right now, 4 month and a half after the request, the albums keep being available in most of the shops. I have opened 5 tickets since then with Ditto, sent them the specific url of the different shops where the albums are on sale still. I also exchanged emails with Matt Parsons (co-CEO with his brother Lee Parsons) who asked me to be patient because they will be solving the issue as fast as they could (that was 6 weeks ago, I have
opened a new ticket since then).


During those 4 and a half months, the shops keep selling the songs and I guess Ditto keeps receiving the money. Nothing has being reported or given to the band.


And at the same time, as the albums are not taken down from the shops (not anymore
available on iTunes, that is true) I cannot start distributing them through another aggregator.


And I am currently trapped there unable so far of getting free of all this mess.


Natalia Talayero


This isn’t the first time Digital Music News has been threatened a lawsuit and I’m most certain it won’t be the last.

Threatening a lawsuit does nothing but make you look bad. And get your email printed.

+Want To Know Who The Best Digital Distribution Company Is?

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog, Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

80 Responses

  1. mickeymac520

    Good to know he has a cracker-jack legal team – looks like he’s going to need it!

    • Dario

      you know now they stream music DITTO in different iTunes store without musician know they are stream because example: One from italy can’t open account in swiss shop iTunes so they know that and they stream music they get money and the poor artist have nothing… this is what they do now all over especially in asutralia who artist can’t see what happen on the european store are 2 man with some problem maybe born to poor..

  2. Kevin Rivers

    iTunes Match royalties are something we are currently paying to our Venzo users and will begin to transition into our Streammer brand next year. It’s very crucial artists are able to maximize their earnings potential on the iTunes Store. Definitely a bad stunt on Ditto Music’s part.

    Kevin Rivers
    CEO, Venzo Digital

  3. BW

    Well I love looking at various aggregators. Looks like I am staying away from this one. Paranoia always has a reason to be there.

  4. steveh

    seems like this Ditto guy can’t take the heat.

    perhaps he needs to vacate the kitchen…

  5. Lee Parsons


    Jeff Price sent us the exact same email to us and other distributors when he tried to force us all into using Audiam (his company) for publishing with legal threats and extortion.
    We, like most others, didn’t give in because it would harm our clients and our company, so he used you to take another swipe.

    The truth is you don’t want a discussion, you want to cause a stir, create a headline, get some hits and worry about actual facts later on.
    This article still has zero facts about what you you originally asked me about.

    And then your response of printing someone’s email plunges the barrel of ethics and maturity so low that there is now no way of having a proper discussion
    What could have been a serious factual discussion and actually help artists, has once again been ruined by finger pointing in the hope another slanging match for web traffic.

    If anyone wants to contact me and learn more about publishing, iTunes match, what we do at Ditto. Here is my email.
    If any more reputable blogs would like to talk to us, we would be happy to talk more in depth.


    [email protected]

    • ThomasG

      Woah, this dude doesn’t know when to just shut up! Ditto company implosion in 3… 2… 1….

    • steveh

      Hey Mr Ditto

      All you have to do is say whether you pay these particular mechanicals or do you not pay these particular mechanicals.

      Well what do you do?

      Do you pay them? Or do you not pay them? We await your clear answer. Yes? or No?


    • Gerry


      Your making your position even worse answering in this way.
      Your company should put you away from any keyboard around you…

    • JasonJ

      This response reminds me of every response the mayor of my city makes to every difficult question: sidestep + reverse-accusation.

      (I’m from Toronto)

    • Willis

      If you just answered the question, there wouldn’t be any problem (provided there is no problem). Do you or don’t you pay the required royalties?

      • Michael

        Dont try to receive any response. They just don’t pay, so the only action we can do is to avoid artist to publish with Ditto

    • Dave

      Hi Lee,

      We have been distributing our music via Ditto for almost 2 years now. it worse mentioning that every year the service of your team lacks professionalism more and more. After you renewed your website we began to experience numerous problems, i.e. with the payouts, with submissions of new releases. Every time we have a problem with the payouts your customers service feed us with some nonsense like “smth is wrong with your paypal, smth has happened with our system and so on”. Sometimes it takes your team more than a month to proceed our payouts. Moreover, your employees usually leave our comments, inquiries and tickets ignored. This is truly annoying and unprofessional. I guess there are lots of people facing the same inconveniences working with DItto. I don’t know why does it always take you so much time to proceed the payouts. I can assume several variants on why does it happen: first one is that your Ditto system just simply doesn’t work correctly. The second is that you use the money for payouts to your customers for your company’s business purposes, i.e. like any bank or financial organization. I guess if you won’t eliminate the problems with the payouts we will have to take the legal actions against DItto.


      Since you guys are having problems making sure that my singles are being sent to the stores on the actual date, JUST HAVE EVERYTHING THAT IS “APPROVE” SENT to the stores right now rather than wait until the date that I had put on. I get rather tired of emailing you guys over and over again over the same issue. I did not have this experience with TUNECORE.COM



      MY SWORD

























      [email protected]

    • Ben Dover

      Dear Lee.. I am one of your customers. I have an album along with some singles released through your service, and ever since the beginning (3 years ago) I’ve had alot of ‘fishy’ issues with you guys. Slow payments, false earning-reports (we’ve earned more than you have published. I know it, you know it. Don’t make a fool of yourself even more trying to say otherwise) – So how do you think I even winded up in this very article in the first place..? Exactly. You messed up. Ofcourse, I started double guessing my own intelligence, thus, Googling to see if others were in the same boat as me. And boy am I not surprised to see this very article written by Mr. Herstand. And the most ironic part, is that we’re almost in 2017 now. This article is *old* – Just know that I’ll be one of the few in front of the line when your scam company gets pulled apart. Bit by bit. And as a ‘fellow musician’ that you claim to be, you probably know this; when you dance with the devil, you dance till the music stops.

  6. JTVDigital

    I’ll just comment on a few points here.

    Quick intro: I met Matt (Lee’s brother) at Future of Music Forum in Barcelona recently, and we had a friendly and opened conversation about the digital distribution business and this whole “new music industry” playground. Don’t judge someone who may be (over)reacting in writing / by email before actually meeting in person – just saying.

    This mysterious “publisher” may miss some bits of information here:
    – people (indie artists, labels) uploading and distributing content via digital aggregators usually do not bother filling in the various (and sometimes yes it can be a headache) info fields that will later be translated into metadata files (XMLs in most cases) sent to the digital retailers (iTunes, Amazon…Etc.), and the “publisher” field is typically one of these. There can be multiple reasons: they don’t have any publisher, they don’t know who the publisher is, they do not give a s*$t since the publisher metadata information is not mandatory (was it as input or output value)
    – as a consequence, stores do not receive the publisher info, which is not a problem in countries where mechanical and performance royalties are managed by collecting societies (to make it simple, everywhere except USA, Canada and Mexico)
    – even if stores receive it, there is no obligation for them to ingest this information probably since it is totally useless when it comes to just selling / streaming content (you only need very basic info like artist, title, name of label, year…Etc.)
    – publisher is not a mandatory value neither in the sales reports received from stores
    – and finally sales reports do not usually split between mechanicals and “master” royalties

    So here you are: the publisher information is, in most cases, missing from all parts of the digital supply chain.

    The only entities who maintain a relevant publisher database/information are HFA for the US, and the collecting societies for rest of the world.
    This is why they are involved in this process and have started chasing distributors, asking who the mechanicals were paid to.
    As Kevin explained above, these are paid to “users” of distribution companies, whoever these users are.

    Jeremie Varengo – JTV Digital

    • Gerry

      That’s great, someone else from another company is answering instead of Ditto….way to go!
      Hey, let’s not forget he met Lee’s brother eh!

  7. JJ

    Not everyone needs to be nor deserves to operate a music business. If you don’t pay your suppliers correctly and on time, don’t expect to have suppliers for very long (that goes for any business). Just because you can code a website, doesn’t make you an entrepreneur…
    Good luck on getting your act together ditto, but I won’t be one of your suppliers.

  8. EmmaCairoMusic

    This is very concerning. I’ve also experienced issues with them. When I uploaded my EP in their IT system, it placed the songs in the wrong order so I had to open a ticket and wait for them to take down the EP from iTunes etc, then upload it again. That way my release got pushed back a week.
    I also remember when I was starting the release, it appeared as though you had to buy the option to start your own record label to release anything and that was expensive. I had chosen Ditto because it seems very inexpensive (I can’t remember, but I think somewhere between $10-$25 to release an EP) But it ended up being around $100 because the option to use Ditto as my label was hidden – you had to scroll down, though it looked as though the whole page was being showed on the screen. I’m sure a lot of people fall for that trick like I did 🙁
    I’ve never seen any money from them in my paypal, though I’ve talked to a lot of people who claim to have bought my EP so I should be seeing at least some sales…

    • Anonymous

      “I’ve never seen any money from them in my paypal, though I’ve talked to a lot of people who claim to have bought my EP so I should be seeing at least some sales…”

      Uh, not good. 🙁

      Perhaps Ari actually got it right for once…

  9. Anonymous

    In regards to iTunes Match, Audiam works for the publishers of

    Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Steve Vai
    James Taylor
    Dean Wareham
    Pretty Lights
    Mike Campbell (Tom Petty co-writer)
    Jason Mraz
    Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
    Graham Nash
    Thomas Dolby
    Tercer Cielo
    Linkin Park (new album only)
    Victory Records
    Epitaph Records
    Ruthless Records
    Mothership Publishing
    Silva Music Publishing
    G360 publishing catalog

    And thousands more

    We are hired by our clients to get them paid for the digital use of their compositions

    iTunes Match is one type of digital use

    If Ditto distributed a sound recording of any of the songs written by any of the songwriters listed above (or any other Audiam client), and that sound recording was accessed by someone via ITunes Match, publishing money was generated and paid by Apple and Ditto was legally obligated to pay the money to the entity representing the publisher.

    In April, 2014, Audiam began to represent these compositions for the publishers

    On June 9th, 2014, I contacted Ditto inquiring about payment of the iTunes Match publishing royalties Apple had paid to Ditto and that Ditto were legally obligated to pay to the publishers.

    It is now Oct, 8th, 2014, four months later.

    We still have never received a payment from Ditto (or any entity on its behalf) for any of the publishing money paid to it by Apple that is owed to publishers we represent

    Jeff Price

  10. awdyam

    jeff, are you saying ditto distributed a song written by one of the songwriters your publishing clients or are you just suggesting they may have? Is this a fishing exposition? And you are now a publisher and not just a typical you tube middleman?

    • AwwwwDamn

      he’s not saying that they owe him any money. he’s carefully saying everything but that in a post that doesn’t lack for detail except the ones that matter. it’s also highly unlikely that ditto distributes any recordings by the artists he is referring to so he is asserting that there are versions of songs written by songwriters he represents, but recorded by others, distributed by Ditto. Proof would make all of this speculation and word play go away, but I suspect that is much harder to come by than getting a hatchet piece run on DMN.

      • Jeff Price

        Im glad you brought this point up as its an important one. Its not that a label or distributor distributes a RECORDING by the artists in the list, it’s that a label or distributor distributes a recording of one of the songs the artists wrote.

        For example, if any artist recorded a version of I Cant Take My Eyes Off You, Cute Without The E, Under The Bridge, Boys of Summer, I’m Yours or any of the other thousands of songs that our customers wrote, then the songwriter is owed the money Apple paid to the label/distributor.

        There is a lot of money out there in world that has already been generated and just not paid.

        My two cents, music has value. Pay for it and pay accurately.

        Jeff Price

        • JTVDigital

          Hi Jeff,

          So you mean cover songs, right?

          For distributing a cover song in US/CA/MX you (the recording artist) need to acquire mechanical licenses upstream, via songclerance (Limelight) or HFA. So the songwriter and publisher get paid.

          In the rest of the world, digital retailers (iTunes…Etc.) pay the collecting societies, for performance and mechanical royalties. So the songwriter and publisher get paid via their collecting society.

          What is the exact issue here then?

          I probably missed something in the debate.


    • Jeff Price

      Im saying that music has value. Songwriters, artists and labels deserve to be paid the money they earned

      In this case, Apple has paid money owed to the songwriter/publisher to the label/distributor. The label/distributor is required under their agreement to pay the songwriter/publisher their money.

      The songwriter/publisher is not required to contact anyone to have this occur. The onus is on the label/distributor to pay accurately and on time.

      This is not happening.

      if you don’t want to do that, don’t use the music.

  11. Mike

    Honestly Digital Music News, it’s okay that you post articles purely to provoke an inflammatory comment section and increased web traffic, even if it is with little regard to basic journalistic techniques such as impartiality and you know, fact checking. Lots of websites do it, and you need to make a living. But don’t act like you are holier than thou as some sort of serious, culturally important website part of some greater-good industry movement. This underdog theory that you seem obsessed with clinging onto doesn’t exist anymore (the whole industry is losing money, the majors, independents, tech start ups, etc), and only panders to artists who sadly will never be good enough and who will desperately search for anything to blame other than their own inadequacy as an artist. This article, like almost every other on here, is a flagrant attempt to exploit this dangerous and problematic sensibility and translate it into web traffic.

      • find new indie music

        I’ve been blogging on this drama going down and this Mike guy’s comment sounds very similar to another Michael who is a major label hack against indies commenting on Lee’s Twitter. Birds of a feather flock together so we should all be concerned about what this is truly about, the true forces behind Ditto Music.

        I was just listening to an indie promoter / radio host who pointed out major labels are creating their own “indie” labels which are a shill for the major labels. You have to question how friendly Ditto Music is to indie musicians after seeing how their CEO(s) responded to Ari.

        Bottom line is this guy wouldn’t know or care what is good music which is a big reason why major labels are sinking.

  12. Bryan

    Crikey, I was looking at using DITTO because of Ari’s very positive initial commentary. Would I now trust my music with a company like this? No way.

      • Ari Herstand
        Ari Herstand

        Yeah, after my initial conversation with Lee last year I was (mistakenly) impressed with his service. I gave it a favorable review in my comparison piece. After I was flooded with reader responses of their horrible customer service, unreceived payments, incorrect track order and an overall inability to get albums removed or problems resolved, I have since updated my report to reflect this. I have now also added this incident to it.

        The CEO of any company is a reflection of the company as a whole. This attitude will get passed down to every employee and will be infused in the fabric of the organization.

        I felt mislead after my conversation last year with him. He does a very good job of selling his company, but obviously cannot take criticism very well. And it seems he has no sense of professionalism.

        Whereas every other company responded to my identical email very professionally, Lee attacked me and threatened a lawsuit. Getting so defensive makes me believe they are hiding something serious and are afraid someone will find out their entire operation is flawed.

        I apologize if my initial report led anyone to sign up for Ditto. Hopefully you haven’t had any issues. I know many have and I feel horrible if people signed up because of my urging and then were unhappy.

        There are many distribution options out there other than Ditto.

        • Nancy

          Ditto has a great website and brochure which I saved from a recent music conference. I reached out to them for a quote on a PR package and didn’t hear back, so wrote again, and just got a response that the staff was busy at ‘face the music.’ That’s the only response I got… I was willing to try them (and those PR packages aren’t cheap), but it seems they don’t need the business.

  13. Jerri

    Same here. DITTO was on my short list but not anymore. I hope this story gets picked up beyond DMN and gets out to more artists.

  14. [email protected]

    This Parsons fellow has a way with omitting words. Sure, Ari’s message is fishing for info that could lead to a story. Parson’s vacuous reply guarantees a story! Nice work, Lee. Why are you not smart enough to answer the question? Obfuscation is a poor strategy here in the Information Age.

  15. KnobTwiddler

    Jeff Price answered the question (so I guess maybe he IS good for something after all – who knew?).

    There’s really nothing more for Lee to say, save for ‘I’m sorry, to whom do you wish your cheque posted?’

  16. Bag Of Gas

    100% of distribution contracts I’ve seen (and I’ve seen every major US distributor and a lot of the indie ones) say that the responsibility for obtaining and accounting for mechanical rights lies with the licensor, in this case the label.

    Distributors as a rule don’t pay mechanicals, unless they offer some opt-in arrangement to do this (which is then outsourced to a third party like HFA or RightsFlow).

    The reality is of course that lots of labels don’t do this, or if they do they are not including match royalties. I suspect most labels don’t know anything about it, most US mechanical licenses from publishers don’t speak to match royalties since iTunes is the one-off weird case in the streaming/locker world where they don’t just use the compulsory licenses or some other deal directly w/ publishers. The formula for calculating match royalties is also somewhat complex, and I suspect is not included in most royalty software packages that calculate mechanicals (could be wrong on this one).

    • Ari Herstand
      Ari Herstand

      HFA put together some great guides to help calculate Locker (and all other) mechanical royalties. This is such a new frontier that most in the industry are playing catchup.

      My full report on this which will hopefully help clear up some confusion is coming…

    • Robbie Fields

      Finally someone (Bag of Gas) gets it. The stone throwing peanut gallery doesn’t and Taleban Ari is a shill for Jeff Price, that much is obvious.

      Anywhere outside North America Apple is paying these mechanical royalties. They ought to be in North America, too, but their PhDs and J.D.s have maintained the fiction that iTunes is not a licensee of music, merely a retailer. By that logic, the digital distributors aren’t either : they are wholesalers and wholesalers have only ever been responsible for mechanical royalties only if they import (a red herring here).

      As Apple has passed the buck to the distributor/aggregator level, they in turn contractually require the provider of the recordings to do the actual mechanical licensing. Some on the middle tier sensibly duck this issue by refusing to distribute “cover” recordings (but may do so unknowingly).

      Yes, Ari you’ve turned a technical issue into a moral crusade. Nobody above the label and recording level is misappropriating these nano pennies. I hear you crying … it’s the principle! You dare not reveal how much is at stake here. Yes, you make an oblique reference to how little.

      Apple (iTunes) pays a gross amount to the aggregators and their other direct accounts. The aggregators take their usual cut and pass on the reduced amount to the labels. Do the indie labels and vanity labels break out the mechanicals from their gross receipts and account? Rarely, sad to report. For 30+ years, indie labels have resisted proper mechanical licensing and accounting. You see it does not go well with their artists to see their piece of the pie shrunk to accommodate others.

      The very real problem for publishers is getting a full accounting of all mechanical royalties from North American sales made by the Big 2, iTunes and Amazon.

      If Jeff Price wants a crusade, go pick on them, not some pisher distributors trying to do the right thing and caught unawares on a purely technical issue.

  17. James (Widows)

    They are awful. Ive had both my first ep and album released through these idiots and not only did they manage to miss both release dates (despite numerous assurances), but it took several weeks to get the ep released via their service. Once they.failed on the album release i had my label pull the album and go with code7 who were waaaay better.

  18. Michael

    I’ve been waiting 3 months to receive my royalties, but every answer is “will be soon”. I published my album with Ditto Music in June. They said: we will pay 45days after the end of june. It’s October 13, and nothing changes. It seems its the only distributor that doesn’t receive trends from spotify each month.

    I don’t know whats happen, but I think this is the last time I use this distributors. I’ve met other colleages that are working with another distributors and they pay every month.

  19. jerry

    Good thing i didnt pay the password setup was a mess n took forever, like a comment above said the scrolling on the website was clearly a struggle, and every good reveiw i foud was from a UK muscian never from and american, looks like they go all out for there people but put aside us usa or other coutries aside, with the sorry ditto music inbox is full bullshit, horrible people call themselves helpers to young muscician when they just get rich n do what they did to them at once, F¿*€÷€

  20. Paul

    Hello everyone. Well I just set up an account with Ditto and now you have me wondering if that was the right thing to do???? Who is the best digital music provider to go with if you have a lot of albums? From what I read about Ditto they seemed to be great. I called and had a chat for about 30mins with someone who knew his stuff and was great. So I thought go with them. Now reading this maybe I was wrong???? Can anyone shed some light on this?


  21. JoJo

    Not to happy with Ditto either. There customer support is very unprofessional and no doubt I truly believe that they do burn their clients. My experience was nothing positive with them. I suggest looking for another distribution company

  22. Pdr

    I’ve recently used Ditto to distrubute 2 albums.

    I had no issues and found their site excellent to use.

    The problem I see here is that Ari wants to make a statement ‘Your company is doing X, and this is bad’. Rather than say ‘Can I enquire how your company deals with XYZ?’ Thus, not opening a dialogue in which we can help artists and tackle issues ( and this is something people clearly need to discuss and understand) Lee has responded and provided his email address and invited people to direct questions to him – being helpful and supportive.. I think Lee’s response was wholly justified. Publishing the email was not – this to me seems like a rather unprofessional thing to do. It does not add fact, opinion or helpful advice for the readers – and is an attack on the service which is a personal attack. If the author genuinely believes the service to be bad, he must give reason, backed up with facts. Not some reviews which have been cherry picked to suit the end. That is – how many customers of Ditto were satisfied with the service? Well – looking at their RECSS Customer Support Award for ‘Best Online Service Provider’ will answer that one for you.

    Balanced reporting seems to have gone out the window in this ‘article’. Shame.

    A satisifed Ditto Customer.

  23. Jason Walker

    I have been looking for a online distributor and i was just about to sign up with ditto but decided to do my research first.

    Can anyone recommend one or two?

    I don’t know what to believe

  24. Ole

    ditto have alot of issues with their website. I does not funttion they way it should. And you don’t get the help you need in the tickets

  25. Neil

    Ditto’s website is a shambles. I uploaded an album in October. A month later it hadn’t been distributed because I choose “classical” from their own dropdown which they didn’t support. 3 weeks later they had it up but the track titles were wrong. over 3 months later and the track titles are still wrong. Today after complaining, writing a blog on the issue and asking for a further refund, I was accused of threatening behavior and blackmailing (because I said I’d make sure the blog was read far and wide) and they cancelled my account and are pulling 18 releases offline. Classy. For the full story, read on… http://www.neilmilton.co.uk/blog/?p=850

  26. Mark Johnson

    Wow, I’ve been on the fence about using dittomusic, there are loads of negative comments about them online but I really like the sound of some of their services (like registering for uk chart entry). Reading this email along with some of the negative comments I don’t think they’re a company I can take a risk with.

  27. Tonyo

    This is unfortunate. I was on the fence as far as using them or another company. I am thinking now to go in another direction. Mr. Lee why should I go with you after all this negativity. I am still willing to try but I need to hear something

  28. unknown

    Hello, this is Matt Parsons the CEO of Ditto Music.

    It has been brought to my attention that you emailed HMV directly to complain that your release was not on sale.  This is in direct breach of your contract with us and is the most unprofessional action i have ever heard of in 10 years in the music industry.

    We are totally within our rights to ban you BUT as i am sure you were perhaps a little over-zealous then this is your final warning.  if you ever contact my company again you will be banned and no refund will be given – this is also in line with our terms.

    Your music will remain on sale and usual royalties will flow.  As long you adhere to the above request.

    Matt Parsons


    Ditto Music

    • Andrew L

      Another classy response from the Parson bros. Congrats Ditto, you’ll never have to deal with me!

      • Adam

        What in the world, not a single nice thing from the Parson brothers just more threats in the post confirming the way they work. I was looking to find a good company to sell music through and to pass on to others and my students and it defiantly is NOT Ditto!

  29. unknown

    Our customer service has won awards.  You have been harassing my staff daily for weeks.  Emailing HMV to ask why one release is not live on their digital store (which is powered by 7Digital) is inexcusable and disgusting.

    You will receive a partial refund of the £49, you put thru a release and whilst 7Digital and HMV may not work as you wish them to, Ditto did what we promised and got it to stores.

    Never contact us again.


    Ticket: http://support.dittomusic.com/helpdesk/tickets/48794

    Matt Parsons

    CEO // Ditto Music

    • Mark Johnson

      I was considering using DITTO music for my upcoming album as I like the services you offer but I just cant now. Do you not realise that your behavior is so unprofessional? The correct way to respond to disputes like this is to remain unemotional and professional, particularly with the language you use.

      What sort of company CEO responds to a complaint by a customer on a public forum by saying “Never contact us again”? The correct response is to say if you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact us.

      This is just insane and no way to run a service business. I’ll be going else where.

      • Xeirt

        Exactly my thoughts. I as a label owner was looking for a distributor and I had just registered for Ditto before reading this. After seeing these comments I am now looking elsewhere. What a ridiculous way to represent your company..

    • Unprofessional

      I think the fact the CEO comment in here shows this company for what it really is. Just out to make money off people when claiming to be in it for helping independent artist.

  30. Loose Records

    I found out about this website by searching for reviews of digital music distributors online.

    I manage a record label based in Japan and have worked with Dittomusic for 2 years.
    However, I have decided to cease the deal with Dittmusic due to a number of reasons, most of them surprisingly mentioned on this website by other Dittomusic clients.

    I strongly believe these issues are worth mentioning so that people become aware of what might happen.
    My aim is to provide an objective review on Dittomusic’s services, both positive and negative.

    Let’s start with the positives:

    1) Customer service in terms of attitude and promptness is quite good and helpful BEFORE signing up. They will answer your questions and occasionally make changes you cannot figure out how (This was with their previous system, I don’t know about their current system).

    2) Their distribution network is vast and streaming services are updated regularly. However, there is an extra sign-up fee if you want your music available on Beatport.

    3) They offer a bunch of extra services, although I haven’t tried many of them.

    Now, for the negatives:

    1) Once I signed-up and paid, customer service started to get worse. Replies to emails took up to 2 weeks. Replies would usually come after expressing disappointment with Dittomusic’s service and “threat” to cease the deal with them.

    2) 2 releases were lost and uploaded up to 6 weeks after the scheduled date. After the first time this happened, Dittomusic suggested I send them a confirmation email when I upload music. However, the same situation happened again.

    3) Stalling and illegally attempting to withholding payouts – This is by far the worst. This was done in two ways.

    First, Dittomusic charges a fee to keep releases available on stores every year, which is perfectly fine as each company is free to choose their business model. However, Dittomusic refused payouts claiming that I hadn’t paid the renewal fee even though I didn’t want to keep the release available on stores for an extra year. It took me 3 weeks to solve this situation due to delayed response from customer service.

    Second, we had an issue with unlicensed remixes. One remix was from a famous band that doesn’t exist anymore. At the time, I unknowingly thought copyright of bands that don’t exist anymore would lose copyright. I later found out that they don’t. Copyright for bands that don’t exist anymore last for 70 years in the US. All the other remixes were from personal friends of mine so I assumed there would be no need to do so. When I sent Dittomusic emails from the artists’ personal email accounts to prove they had given permission to do the remixes, Dittomusic claimed that was not enough. I understand that there are legal ramifications regarding remixes so I asked for payouts from original tracks. However, they deliberately ignored that and kept on sending me links where I could obtain licenses for the remixes. I asked them how much I was owed from original tracks and they simply told me to figure it out myself. I eventually did and sent them an invoice. This situation also took around 3 weeks to solve.

    The next time I asked for a payout, Dittomusic did the same thing again. I had to reiterate that I had no intention in getting payout from remixes but they still redirected me to links where I could obtain paid licenses deliberately ignoring the real issue. Only after several email exchanges where I told them that what they were doing was illegal, telling them I would expose this fraud and cease the deal did they payout what I was legitimately owed. Dittomusic tried to withhold the total amount of what I was owed using the excuse that I didn’t have appropriate licenses for remixes as an excuse to do so – twice. Their attitude towards their client is terrible and downright insulting.

    4) Requests to remove releases take too long. It’s been a year and a half since some releases should have been removed and they are still available. I am starting to wonder if the removal of releases work at all.

    At the moment, I got paid from all original tracks but they still withhold sales originating from remixes. I tried to solve this issue in a civil way by suggesting Dittomusic transfer all those funds to the legitimate copyright holders. I even sent them who the legitimate copyright holders. Their reply was that I should organize all of it. How can I organise anything when Dittomusic shows no intention of collaborating? I wonder how many labels and artists are aware that Dittomusic is illegally withholding funds that should be transferred to the legitimate copyright holders.

    This seems very similar to the situation where many clients complained about Dittomusic not paying mechanical royalties. It reveals their general business attitude.

    Dittomusic claims to be professional but I fail to see any of that although their actions and attitude after these situations I have been through as well as other clients.

    Dittomusic’s business practice are dishonest and show no intention of collaborating with their clients in a win-win manner. Instead, they try to put all the responsibility on the client. What kind of customer service is that?

    If your aim is to make your music available on many stores for exposure, Dittomusic works fine. However, if you are trying to do business with them, be prepared for the worst.

  31. Gaz

    Hi everyone.

    So … Lee and Matthew Parsons – 10 years ago these guys were operating out of Branston Court in Birmingham. They had recently set up Ditto and I attended a few meetings at their offices with the intention of a potential business link-up. In all honesty I cannot believe this company is still operating – the unprofessionalism of the operation was clear to see. But the one thing that really offended me was the disdain the brothers had for their customers. The reality is that the people running this company are a couple of chancers – if you are looking for a professional service then steer a country mile from Ditto.

      • Gaz

        “It took you 10 years to write a comment and formulate an opinion. Sure.”

        I formulated my opinion of you around 10 years ago. I contributed to the forum recently, as the original article was only published on Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

        I do have a question though. Why is that when you type in “Ditto Music” into Bing, the first suggestion word that comes up is “scam”?

  32. Steve

    I am the managing director of a management company that looks after dozens of bands and artists. My experience of Ditto Music is similar to the comments above, unfortunately. I have met Lee Parsons on numerous occasions at various conferences, exhibitions and events. Once again, I can only associate myself with the comments already made by the author of the original blog. If you are a credible band or artist stay away from Ditto Music. Simple.

    • To Steve

      Who are you Steve? I know Lee and Matt and i don’t know anyone who has a bad word to say about them. Aside from keyboard jockeys on this thread. Give us a name

  33. Steve

    Wow. When the CEO’s of the company under question come onto the forum, pretend to be someone else and prove everyone here right by name calling?! Incredible.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is Ditto Music.

  34. RIP Ditto Music!

    Ditto Music is a joke! I don’t think they actually care about their customers unless you are purchasing some of their label services. I’ve been in the music biz for over 20 years and have attempted to professionally contact Lee Parsons TWICE regarding my numerous troubles with his company and he ignored me. My story is a “DITTO” of everyone else. They were great and super friendly when I was signing up, but once I paid them, then the trouble started. What pisses me off is you see these clowns on their Twitter and social media all day long, but they take weeks or even months to reply to emails and respond to complaints. If they ever reply, that is. Their website was garbage for a long time and the sales totals would constantly fluctuate up and down, so you never knew exactly how much money you had. They were explained as “accounting audits.” Riiiiight. The new website is better, but is still slow and reminds me of 56k dial up. The sales accounting doesn’t always add up right and they are often slow to pay. The CEO’s can’t take the time to deal with professional attempts to reach them, but they can reply to blog posts arguing with the CEO of Tunecore, arguing with bloggers and basically lambasting anybody who says anything negative about their joke of a company. It really is behavior unbecoming of an “executive” and you guys should be ashamed of yourselves. I wish I could fly to their UK office and kick the shit out of some of their employees. Poor customer service, questionable accounting and the owners are bloody wankers (is that how you say it? LOL). Who needs this crap? DITTO MUSIC IS RUBBISH!


    Ditto Music Destroyer
    (I’m just getting started)

  35. J Khan

    I’ve used Ditto Music TWICE now and both times have recieved a shit service. Never again.


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