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

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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:

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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?

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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):

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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.

L

Lee Parsons
Founder & CEO
Ditto

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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.

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+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:

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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.

David

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

MORE NEWS:  APRA AMCOS Posts Record Performance Royalties — But Streaming Is Starting to Slow

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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.

Best

Natalia Talayero

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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.

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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

103 Responses

  1. Avatar
    mickeymac520

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

    Reply
    • Avatar
      DEREK FOLLEY

      Ditto Music something is wrong with your website. I am trying to get into my account and my email address is [email protected] however, when I try to get into my account is sent to a page that wants me to pay for another year and I am sure that I have at least 3-4 more months left on my first year. All I need is a copy of my royalty information for (2016) my taxes & and receipt showing that I paid for your services. Respectfully, Derek B Nine formally known as “Nine Music Derek Folley Corporation”
      Although. Ditto Music screw over me by accepting my money for a year and did close my account stating read the fine print

      Reply
    • Avatar
      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..

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    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
    http://www.venzodigital.com

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    steveh

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

    perhaps he needs to vacate the kitchen…

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Lee Parsons

    Ari/Paul/Everyone

    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.

    Lee

    [email protected]

    Reply
    • Avatar
      ThomasG

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

      Reply
    • Avatar
      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?

      Thankyou

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Gerry

      Lee,

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

      Reply
    • Avatar
      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)

      Reply
    • Avatar
      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?

      Reply
      • Avatar
        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

        Reply
    • Avatar
      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.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      NINE MUSIC DEREK FOLLEY CORPORATION

      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

      THE FOLLOWING BELOW SHOULD HAD BEEN RELEASE
      1)
      BARCODE
      5054960081048
      HEART

      2)
      BARCODE
      5054960085480
      MAFIOSO GIRL

      5054960081017
      MY SWORD

      3)
      BARCODE
      5054960081024
      ADDICTION

      1)
      Barcode
      5054960079472
      TORMENT RINGTONE “SCREAMS OF MY ENEMIES”

      2)
      Barcode
      5054960079465
      TORMENT RINGTONE “SHIRT AND TIE”

      3)
      Barcode
      5054960079489
      TORMENT RINGTONE “NOW I WANT YOU TO SUFFER”

      4)
      BARCODE
      5054960080270
      MOUTH RINGTONE “USE YOU LIKE FISH BATE!”

      5)
      BARCODE
      5054960080287
      MOUTH RINGTONE “THERE ARE NO SUCH THING CALED CONTRADICTION!”

      6)
      BARCODE
      5054960079496
      TORMENT RINGTONE IF YOU EVER SHORT AGAIN

      7)
      BARCODE
      5054960080331
      MOUTH RINGTONE “MAKING PROMISES TO PEOPLE WITHOUT ACTION IS AN ASSASSINATION OF YOUR CHARACTER REFLECTION!”

      8)
      BARCODE
      5054960080317
      MOUTH RINGTONE “ONE STARTED ACTING SHADY AND GOT DUMP

      9)
      BARCODE
      5054960079786
      TORMENT RINGTONE “MAKING IT A SPORT AS I TORMENT!”

      10)
      BARCODE
      5054960079724
      OPEN RINGTONE “YOU GOT ME HARDER THAN CHINESE ARITHEMATIC!”

      11)
      BARCODE
      5054960079465
      TORMENT RINGTONE “SHIRT AND TIE”

      12)
      BARCODE
      5054960079700
      OPEN RINGTONE “SHES A CARNIVORE! ALL SHE WANT IS THIS MEAT!”

      13)
      BARCODE
      5054960079717
      OPEN RINGTONE “HEAD IN PEAK THROUGH! I CAN SEE YOU! WET ENOUGH…”

      14)
      BARCODE
      5054960079748
      ROCK RINGTONE “I CAN ALWAYS PLEASE THEE!”

      15)
      BARCODE
      5054960079816
      DOOR RINGTONE “GHOST OUT LIKE CASPER”

      16)
      BARCODE
      5054960079762
      ROCK RINGTONE “HOLD IT LIKE A STICK! BETTER BELIEVE ITS THICK!”

      17)
      BARCODE
      5054960079830
      DOOR RINGTONE “BRINGING IN THE MOST CASH”

      18)
      BARCODE
      5054960079755
      ROCK RINGTONE “I ROCK INSIDE YA OH SO SLOW!”

      19)
      BARCODE
      5054960079731
      OPEN RINGTONE “CHICKEN EAT CANDY SWEET!”

      20)
      BARCODE
      5054960085466
      SPANISH LOVE SONG RINGTONE “CURVES ON THE BODY! I’LL CALL YOU THE COLA”

      21)
      BARCODE
      5054960079410
      MEDICATION RINGTONE FLASHBACKS

      Respectfully,

      NINE MUSIC DEREK FOLLEY CORPORATION

      [email protected]

      Reply
    • Avatar
      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.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      RWFF

      knobhead. how about sort yourself out and improve your total fucking DISGRACE of a “service”, then people won’t complain.

      Reply
  6. Avatar
    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

    Reply
    • Avatar
      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!

      Reply
  7. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    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…

    Reply
    • Avatar
      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…

      Reply
  9. Avatar
    Anonymous

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

    Metallica
    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
    Audiam

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    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?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      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.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        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
        Audiam

        Reply
        • Avatar
          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.

          Best,

          Reply
    • Avatar
      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.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Terry

        It’s the Government’s job to uphold a federal law such as the law of copyright. They don’t and the evil ones in the music industry know this. They can commit fraud and not be caught. They’ve been doing it for years now as you know.

        Bring this up to your Congressman, they will ignore you.

        Reply
  11. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
      • Avatar
        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.

        Reply
    • Avatar
      Kelli

      “the whole industry is losing money” If this is the case, then why are all these digital services popping up like weeds?

      Reply
  12. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
        • Avatar
          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.

          Reply
  13. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
  14. Avatar
    [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.

    Reply
  15. Avatar
    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?’

    Reply
  16. Avatar
    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).

    Reply
    • 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…

      Reply
    • Avatar
      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.

      Reply
  17. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
  18. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
  19. Avatar
    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¿*€÷€

    Reply
  20. Avatar
    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?

    Thanks,
    Paul.

    Reply
  21. Avatar
    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

    Reply
  22. Avatar
    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.

    Yours,
    A satisifed Ditto Customer.

    Reply
  23. Avatar
    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

    Reply
  24. Avatar
    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

    Reply
  25. Avatar
    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

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      A similar thing happened to me. They deleted my account and royalties (without refund) after I raised a polite complaint. Reading other reviews, it seems they often start with a technical issue. Mine was faulty sales and tracking data. Yours was categorization and titles. They hold the customer long enough to get some streams going (mine got to about about 250k) and when the customer raises a complaint, the whole account gets deleted and the customer no longer has access to their earnings or customer support.

      Reply
  26. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
  27. Avatar
    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

    Reply
  28. Avatar
    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

    CEO

    Ditto Music

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Andrew L

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

      Reply
      • Avatar
        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!

        Reply
    • Avatar
      WM

      @ matt parsons – the most unprofessional thing i’ve heard of within the music industry is prominent male producers taking advantage of females beneath them in the industry. poor attempt. p.s. i do not understand how you think all this nonsense in the comments is actually dealing with anything. how about some transparency with your clients upfront? that would be nice.

      Reply
  29. Avatar
    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.

    MP

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

    Matt Parsons

    CEO // Ditto Music

    Reply
    • Avatar
      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.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        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..

        Reply
      • Avatar
        WM

        What sort of company CEO responds to a complaint by a customer on a public forum by saying “Never contact us again”?

        A narcissist?

        Reply
    • Avatar
      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.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Anon

      Just a heads-up: Lee and Matt are pedos, and are currently under investigation for child porn.

      Reply
  30. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
  31. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
      • Avatar
        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”?

        Reply
  32. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      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

      Reply
  33. Avatar
    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.

    Reply
  34. Avatar
    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!

    Sincerely,

    Ditto Music Destroyer
    (I’m just getting started)
    =)

    Reply
  35. Avatar
    J Khan

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

    Reply
  36. Avatar
    Tom Anderson

    Unfortunately we have received an awful service from Ditto and we are on the point of having to take legal action in order to recover royalties that are rightfully ours but that Ditto won’t release for no apparent reason other than incompetence. I have had to contact them via their Facebook page in order to get a response and then Matt Parsons emailed me to try to get me to go away by making out that I’d abused his staff which was ridiculous. Anyone had any experience of taking legal action against this company? Many thanks.

    Reply
  37. Avatar
    Roger

    After reading this article and the subsequent thread, I really hope someone contacts an entertainment lawyer. Sounds like a class action suit would put an end to this scam of a distributor once and for all. I just hope they don’t last long enough to be burning more indie artists.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Anonymous

      I agree! My experience with them was atrocious. They took my money, provided a bad service, kept my royalties and deleted my account! They have not responded to questions since.

      Reply
  38. Avatar
    Koryna

    Thanks so much for the heads up! I will stay away from this company. I looked into many possible companies to publish my new single on Vevo, but all of them have bad reputation.

    Reply
  39. Avatar
    Hungryman

    Stay Away from this company,
    they use your money and pay you, as late as possible!!!!!

    Reply
  40. Avatar
    VeryAngryMan

    Ditto Music (dittomusic.com)
    The worst and dishonest company for your albums. They keep the money illegally under the pretext of checking the licenses and thus self-financing with your money

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Jerry Chan

      I’ve used Ditto Music TWICE now and both times have recieved a shit service. Never again.
      REMEMBER PEOPLE: Ditto Music (dittomusic.com) OR (www.dittomusic.com) = SHIT

      Reply
  41. Avatar
    Anonymous

    I’ve had similar experiences to ones described in other bad reviews. Ditto took my money and didn’t pay a cent of any of my royalties.

    1. Customer service was slow, failed to reply to the right questions and offered no solutions.

    2. The sales data and trend reports went down for everyone and my streams were underpaid. I contacted customer services and was given conflicting and inaccurate information. My main questions were left unanswered.

    3. Shortly after my polite complaint, I received an email from Ditto saying all my music had been taken down. My account seems to have been deleted and I can’t get access to any payment of past or future royalties. Ditto claimed Spotify had spotted fraudulent streaming activity, which Spotify have not confirmed their end. What’s more, every single track in every single store has been deleted, which is not a normal response to an instance of fraudulent streaming. They have a clause allowing them to keep any artist’s money, which they quoted: “8d. We have the right to terminate this Agreement immediately if We believe You are engaging in fraudulent or illegal activity, or following any behaviour deemed by Us as threatening, disrespectful, unprofessional or otherwise carried out by You or any associated parties. Any breach of our terms and conditions by You would result in a non refund of payment.” In other words, no evidence required and they can take all your money!

    My feeling is that Ditto don’t like customers that ask the customer support team uncomfortable questions.

    Reply
  42. Avatar
    Orion

    I can’t believe how far I’ve had to scroll down to comment my complaint with Ditto.
    STAY AWAY FROM THEM!!
    They owe me money and are completely ignoring me.
    I’ve tried through Facebook, they block me. I’ve tweeted them …. nothing.
    I’ve sent in soooo many tickets, nothing.
    And I’ve emailed them.
    Nothing.
    I’ve decided to email and ticket them every day until I get my refund.
    I simply don’t have the money to sue them, so total harassment is my only way.

    Reply
  43. Avatar
    IvI

    As a new customer scrolling through this 5 year old comment thread, I won’t be using Ditto Music’s services. Totally unprofessional and way too many complaints, not just on this website, but on TrustPilot and Reddit too.

    Reply
  44. Avatar
    RWFF

    As the owner of a small independent record label, I like to get the best deals for my artists. Knowing that streaming pays tiny amounts per play, when it comes to digital distribution, we didn’t want to be paying out more per month than what the label would be making in streaming royalties. So we made the mistake of going with digital distribution company Ditto Music, since they offered unlimited releases for under £20 per year. Our previous release was out via Songcast, who charge monthly, and pay two months in arrears but can transfer the money quickly via Paypal once the payments have been processed.

    Ditto Music have previously boasted about the fact that they released Ed Sheeran’s dreadful music before he had a record deal. That’s nothing to be proud of. Yet we went with them anyway.

    First single went up in May with hardly any problems. We sent the second single to them about three weeks before release date, giving them plenty of time. A few days before release, it was marked as “sent to stores”. Release day came, and our release was nowhere to be found. There was a bit of confusion with login details, which left us unable to check the current status of our release when it went live. We made enquiries about the issue. This was the response, on the Friday:

    “Fri 28/06/2019 14:39
    Dear Rwff,

    We would like to acknowledge that we have received your request and a ticket has been created with Ticket ID – 218872.
    A client services representative will be reviewing your request and will send you a personal response which is usually within 24 hours.”

    Saturday: no response. Emailed them again. No response. Sunday: no response.

    Monday comes and by the late afternoon, they have still failed to reply. I’m getting angry. I send them another email that begins like this:
    “Mon 01/07/2019 16:48
    Hello?

    You’re pretty fucking useless at replying to the artists and labels that are making you money. Our new single is supposed to be on your service and you won’t let us into our account. We were told that you weren’t a very good distribution service, we should’ve listened…”

    This doesn’t get a reply, so instead I decide the only way to force them into action is by making a complaint on their Facebook page about their utterly shameful “customer service”, also so others can see just why they should not be trusted. As if by magic, I suddenly get a response on social media asking for my ticket number, and it seems that the threat of bad publicity is the only way of getting a reply from this seriously dodgy company. The matter is soon resolved via email, which they could’ve easily dealt with within minutes on the Friday that I sent the query. It took them nearly four days to sort out something which took minutes once they had bothered to deal with it.

    Admittedly, the login errors were our fault, as they had an email address ending in “.com” rather than “.co.uk” on their system for us. Yet it took nearly four days for them to reply and do anything about the issue until they were threatened with public complaints. However, knowing that the issue was our fault in the first place, we decided to stick with them. After all, the two singles and latest album release were already live, and had been notching up a large number of streams. On 11 July, after checking the site every day for the last few weeks, we found our royalty statement for the first month of sales. About 3,000 plays totalling about £10. Such a small sum might as well just be kept in the site’s royalty account so it can be added to next month’s payment. But obviously, as a label we need to pay our artists and pay for the daily costs that are involved in such a venture. So at some point, we will need to access that money when we need it.

    However, Ditto Music’s payout page now stated that they no longer pay labels and artists via simple, standard and easy PayPal. Instead, all payments were now going via an American corporation called Payoneer. Annoying, since pretty much all of our ingoing and outgoing payments are dealt with by PayPal. But we would only need to sign up to Payoneer once, and then link it to our Ditto account for us to keep track of the sales and to withdraw the royalties easily when they are needed. No problem, i thought, it would be the same as PayPal just through a different company. When you click on Ditto’s button telling you to sign up for Payoneer, you are given an option: “use Payoneer with a pre-paid card”. It’s the only option they give you, so it’s pretty pointless requesting you to choose. As long as we get the money to give to our artists and to fund our future releases, that’s fine, whatever.

    I fill in my name, address and various other details, perfectly standard stuff for any sign up forms. However, a couple of pages later I am asked to provide my “identification number”. Sorry, but I live in the UK, not Nazi Germany. There are two options: fill in your passport number or your driving license number. Having not been abroad for a few years and not planning to for a while, I don’t have a passport. Having never driven any vehicle, I also don’t have a driver’s license. I’m sure for many other people, this is the same case. But surely you’re still a person even if you don’t drive or travel overseas, so not being able to fill in this information on Payoneer’s site shouldn’t be too much of a problem, I’ll just leave those fields blank. But no, it turns out that Payoneer will only let you register if you drive a vehicle or travel abroad and have the official documentation to prove so. So if you can’t register to Payoneer, then how are you supposed to withdraw your royalties?

    Most of the sales reported to us on our Ditto account were for the previous two months, and the site does not pay for these until three months later. Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to withdraw any useful sums of money until October, there was no urgent rush to access these funds. What was urgently needed was some peace of mind. We needed to know if we would ever see any money from these streams, because less than a month after release, we could still switch to a better distributor in time to actually see some sort of payment from this album release.

    Furthermore, prior to signing up to them, their terms and conditions did not mention the fact that you are required to have a passport or driving license in order to even sign up to Payoneer. Therefore you won’t get paid any royalties for your artists unless you have these official identification documents. Of course, none of this is mentioned, it’s them trying their luck to see how many people will just allow them to steal their fairly earned money.

    Furthermore, Payoneer charges some rather substantial fees in order for you to withdraw or transfer money. But I’m not even able to sign up to it anyway, hence all of our artists’ royalties are sitting in Ditto’s big money pile, while we are locked out. So understandably, I’m even more pissed off than I was with the previous issue. I send them an email via the contact form in our Ditto account, and get the same “we will respond soon” ticket an automated email. Not good enough. What if we were able to withdraw thousands of pounds rather than £10, and what if we needed it urgently? Sent another email, again no response.

    So I have no other option than to copy and paste the email contents to their Facebook page, so the whole world can see it and it might hurry them up a bit…

    “Absolutely disgusted to find out all the catches and cons in your new payout system. Firstly, even if we were able to sign up to that system, all this month’s royalties is going to go to them for their fees. Is this why you’ve stopped paypal? our other distribution service pays us immediately via paypal, why dont you? To con people? I was warned about your company, i wish i hadnt trusted you with the music of a major artist. How the hell do i get my money when i have neither a passport nor a driving license? Why do you make people jump through hoops to get their money from you? if you dont reply to this email promptly and immediately, im going to be copying and pasting this to your Facebook page so everyone can see what you have done”

    Lo and behold, once again they seem to reply when their poor service is exposed for all the world to see. Reply email reads:

    “Hi There,

    OK I have checked your account and the accrued sales are £10.83.

    Payoneer have a minimum payout threshold of £25.00, however if you provide me with the email address that is linked to your Paypal I will get the £10.23p paid out to you this way until you can finalise your Payoneer set up

    Kind Regards
    Jen ”
    My reply:

    “Sun 11/08/2019 13:48
    how am i supposed to set it up when they only allow people with driving licences and passports? Did you think this was a good idea to change from paypal to such a difficult company instead? An American company too i see… i’m not having them taking our money. The issue isnt withdrawing our £10 or so immediaitely, the issue is this payout system that seems to have been set up to prevent artists from getting their money from you.”

    Reply:
    “Hi Ben,

    We have thousands of artists that use Payoneer to request their payouts with no issues, however when we have artists that can not complete the setup of their Payoneer account for whatever reason, we will try accommodate them with Paypal as an interim measure

    Would you like me to process your payout via Paypal?

    Thanks”

    My reply:
    “Sun 11/08/2019 13:57
    Yes please. Why not mention this before? Why does your site say that all paypal payouts have ceased and that people can only use that American company? I’ve said, i am not having any of our money go to people like them. Also, totally unacceptable that ive now been blocked from your Facebook page just for complaining. I’ll make people aware of that, just so they know that your company is cowardly enough to block people when they leave negative feedback.

    if you could arrange a permanent way for us to withdraw our royalties via paypal or bank transfer without having to go through an american corporation, that would be great. thank you.

    Have seen some other very worrying experiences others have had trying to get their money from you. We will be requiring a permanent way of paying us via Paypal. I do not own a passport nor a driving licence, therefore i cannot sign up to your american partners, therefore you will have to pay us in whatever way you can.

    also, complaint being filed via BBB purely for the inconvenience of this awful payout system. Why should anyone need a passport or a driving license to get their money? There is no justification for that whatsoever when paypal are simple, quick and scam-free.

    ben rwff

    no reply, so i send another email:

    “i will need to withdraw this months and the next 3 months of royalties via paypal, then, unless improvements are made, i will be finding another distribution service that doesn’t require you to have a passport or driving licence in order to be paid for our music.

    thank you

    ben rwff”

    They reply again. They know that i am not requesting three months royalties immediately, but i am requesting for them to pay me those royalties via Paypal when they are due. Deliberately missing the point to try and skate round the issue, they reply with:

    “Ben

    Can you confirm your Paypal email address and I will request your Payout please.

    ​We can only pay you the sales that stores have paid out on, Stores send sales through to ourselves approx 3 month after they are generated. We have received your Sales for up to the month of May only.

    You cannot request A payout of sales in advance.

    Kind Regards”

    i reply, with details requested and with this
    “obviously i am not requesting the royalties in advance, but i will need to withdraw them when they are available, and rather than using paypal as in “interim” measure, it will need to be permanent for us to withdraw any payouts in future, since your payout system makes that impossible.

    thank you
    ben rwff”

    They respond:

    “Hi Rwff,

    Thank you for confirming your email.

    I have send (sic) a request through to our accounts team for your sales, please allow 7-10 days for this to be processed.

    If you have any other concerns or requests with your account or sales could you please raise a ticket with our support team

    Kind Regards”

    Like I said, the label doesn’t need this £10 payment. We havent even requested it. We have requested that Ditto pays our future payments via PayPal, otherwise we will be forced to move to a more suitable distributor. But they’ve refused to answer my questions. Also, as I have said before, our other digital distributors allow us to withdraw our royalties to PayPal within a couple of days, sometimes less. Now it’s taking Ditto 7-10 days to send us a payment via the same method. We don’t need the £10, but what if in future we were withdrawing thousands of pounds that were urgently needed to pay the various costs that we have as a label? Ditto Music clearly were not reliable or competent in any aspect whatsoever. So as a parting shot, I sent them this:

    “7-10 days jesus christ… And there we have just one example of why many artists are going to be going elsewhere for music distribution.

    ben rwff”

    The best thing Ditto could’ve done at this point was to look into making improvements to their customer service, and to establish other methods of payment other than a company that requires you to meet a very specific criteria. They could have taken the criticisms on board. But could it be that all these “mistakes” are in fact deliberately built-in, and they want their company to operate like this, so they can keep huge sums of money that don’t belong to them. And they probably don’t like it when they are rumbled and people expose them in public. I wrote posts on their social media accounts complaining about the dreadful “customer service” and their persistent failure to reply to emails. That is my right to do so as a customer that has paid money for their service and who has trusted them to deliver the music of a well-known, highly respected artist.

    But no. Instead of resolving the issue, they are happy for their “service” to remain an atrocious joke, and happy to ban anyone who opposes its piss poor quality from their social media pages. But I did not expect THIS:

    “Ditto Music ditto
    music.com>
    Mon 12/08/2019 08:53
    Hi There,

    We have made a decision to terminate your account as per section 8d of our terms and conditions.
    Over the weekend your behaviour toward our company was unnecessary and most unprofessional and this is not acceptable and therefore we do not wish to work with you any longer if this is how you choose to conduct your business exchanges.

    It is standard for companies to have a minimum payout threshold and it is good practise for payees to provide legal documentation when setting up a payment account, we are not the only company that does this.

    Our accounts team have been instructed to issue the paypal address provided with a final payout and your releases will be removed from stores with immediate effect please allow both the accounts team and stores 7 days to process.

    Regards
    Jayne Calvert
    Customer Service Manager
    Ditto Music”

    Things have turned nasty. I reply:

    “RW FF
    Mon 12/08/2019 12:47
    Wow. I will DEFINITELY be sharing this far and wide, to make sure artists know all about your attitude to musicians. At the end of the day i made a perfectly reasonable complaint about not being allowed to withdraw our royalties. You have no right whatsoever to block me from social media groups then take our music down, simpy because i left negative feedback. The negative feedback was entirely reasonable and justified, since you take ages to reply to simple queries, and needing a passport or a driving licence to receive what is rightfully ours is just a measure put in place to make things difficult. Judging by your behaviour here, it look like you have switched to Payoneer in order to annoy and abuse artists so they complain, and then you use their complaints as an excuse to close down their account and keep their money.

    i will be requiring our membership fee back then. You will also pay us the money for the streams we have had, especially for this month.

    i was also nice enough to remove negative feedback from Trust
    pilot, which will now be going back up. Can you reply promptly about whether you intend to steal our royalties for june and july and early august, or if not then we wont need to take any legal action.

    ben rwff”

    I send another one:

    “I’ve also heard stories about your CEO sending foul personal abuse to customers. Plus you are the company responsible for Ed Sheeran, i shouldve known you would be cunts. The issue here is closing down our account when we have had over 100,000 streams in the last 30 days. You KNOW very well that there will be royalties to collect, and you conveniently decide to close down our account so we cant get them?

    you are fucking disgusting. The music scene is full of enough parasites and scum as it is without you adding to it. I will be taking you to court over your non payment of royalties and messing about with music that doesn’t belong to you.

    CUNTS

    ben rwff”

    You want “unneccesary” and “most unproffessional”? OK then fine. But the next email I sent was a bit more civil than the previous one.

    “So complaining (which is my right to do so as a paying customer) was “unnecessary”? you should be grovelling and making every effort to make it up to me, not doing this. I am also a music journalist as well as a label owner. So this story will be shared far and wide… You WILL pay us the royalties for the last 3 months, since our latest has quite a lot of projected spotify sales according to the analytics dashboard. The money for those plays doesn’t just go nowhere. And by closing our account you are slyly trying to find a way to keep that money for your grubby selves.”

    After a few of these emails, they reply:

    “Hi Ben,

    You have a right to complain if something has gone wrong for you but you do not have a right to swear at colleagues who work here, make threats all over social media because you do not like a standard procedure while labelling it a payout scam, this is not deemed professional behaviour and we do not wish to work with you any longer.

    In regards to the payout for over 100k streams these are yet to be reported, we can expedite sales reports or revenue from stores you will need to request these sales when they have been reported.

    The projected streams reporting in analytics so far are 22k from Spotify and just under 6k for Apple Music.
    Apple report 2-3 months behind times and Spotify 3-4 months. ”

    Notice how I made no “threats” at all other than giving them bad feedback on Trustpilot, which is hardly a “threat”. It’s generally what happens when you disrespect people with shitty, disgraceful service. Notice how there was no “swearing at colleagues” until AFTER they had taken the liberty of taking our account down… Excuses, excuses. I knew what they were upto. So i replied again:

    “Excuse me, but “threats”? What “threats”? Telling you to improve your service or risk getting negative feedback online is not a “threat”, it is what happens when you provide paying customers with piss poor service, and taking ages to reply. Your company is NOTORIOUS for it. Review i read today from a gentleman who has recieved legal threats from your scumbag CEOs, says that Ditto are the ONLY company that should be avoided at any cost. Now I can see why.

    If you think your service is so good, then how come all the other digital distributors havent had such bad publicity?

    And it IS a payout scam. Your terms and conditions mention nothing about having to own a passport or driving license in order to access our royalties. That is a scam, and i will be referring it to the Trading Standards Association. I have every right to complain.

    And now you’ve made it worse for yourselves by your spiteful attitude, taking down our music and deliberately making things difficult. I am going to share all these emails with the public via the music sites XS Noize and RW/FF Music.

    “In regards to the payout for over 100k streams these are yet to be reported, we can expedite sales reports or revenue from stores you will need to request these sales when they have been reported…”

    Your grammar is appalling, how did you get a job at such a big company? I actually have difficulty understanding that, it was so incoherent. How am i supposed to request these sales if you have taken away our account, you total clowns?

    Can you please confirm yes or no whether you are trying to steal our royalties (as others have reported you doing so), a simple yes or no…

    “Regards”

    At the moment, there has been no reply to the last email. But we have now found a better distributor. Not difficult, since ANY distributor is better than these cowards.

    Reply
  45. Avatar
    Anonymous

    Hi,
    I can understand that people are disappointed I am too. My cover song over time of several years earned me only few dollars according to ” their data”.
    Is there a way to get independent sales data in relation to every song(each has unique barcode) we creating and trying to sell.
    Regards

    Reply

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