Review: Ditto Music Distribution Service
Okay, so just to be fair, I am only familiar with Ditto because it was mentioned on aristake.com (which I frequent) in which he's reviewed quite a few distribution services. The main conclusion I got from the review on Ditto was poor customer service, hidden fees, lack of publishing and royalty collecting, and lack of marketing help. I decided to see if anything that was a problem with Ditto then (*article was written around 2014) has continued to be a problem now. Ditto DID get a 3 star review on trustpilot.com and ranked 4th on LANDR's blog about best distributors and with some notable artists on their roster: Jon B, The Backstreet Boys, Sarah McLachlan... I think it's time to give them a 2nd look; Ditto does mean to repeat, no?
Let's cover the good - Ari's Take had to say back in 2014: Ditto let's the artist keep 100% of the revenue, an artist can release unlimited songs for one yearly price, and Ditto's reports and analytics are very clear and intelligible. The concerns were:
Are Ditto's reports accurate?
I'm going to say YES. Ditto partnered with the Harry Fox Agency to assist artists releasing projects using their platform. The Harry Fox Agency represents quite a few music publishers for their mechanical and digital licensing needs and is a reputable established entity. That said, I would imagine that the reports Ditto submits to Harry Fox to collect such royalties therefore, are accurate. This leads to another question raised about Ditto… Did they acquire an admin publishing partner to help collect royalties? Also, a YES.
Does Ditto have hidden fees?
Not exactly... There is a Pricing tab listed on the Ditto website showing different packages you can order and exactly what they include with the price. I'm not sure if their site looked like this in 2014 but as of today? The pricing for distribution is listed along with what else you DO get. I would imagine if there's a service not listed in the "What's Included" portion of the text, that is what you DON'T get and you as an artist should expect (and budget) for what else you might need for your release. The possible expenses that aren't listed in their package that I don't in plain sight on many other distributors pages is their cut. Let's be honest, this is a business, so very few distributors are going to help you release your music without taking a cut, but it may be information that is only available to customers during checkout. You have to read the "terms of service" for any company you purchase from be it a product or service.
Has customer service improved?
Seems it has to a certain extent. I researched the Better Business Bureau for complaints on Ditto and found three for the month of April 2018 (7 in total since 2016) but none this year before or after April. Ditto responded to one of this year's complaints so far. Ditto also responded to complaints directed at them via Twitter in August 2018 when a customer couldn't reach them via phone or email. Ditto publicly responded with an apology and the customer appeared to be satisfied with the results that they would direct message her via Twitter. I'd say even though the customer couldn't reach them at first, providing social media interaction with customers who weren't able to reach Ditto in other ways is an improvement of service for sure. Which leads me to the next question...
Has there been a decrease in complaints from Ditto's customers?
77% of the 390+ reviews Ditto received were between Great to Excellent, resulting in a 3 star average on trustpilot.com compared to the 2 star average that both CD Baby & Tunecore received. To be fair, I had to search other places too and they had 8 reviews on reviewopedia.com - all bad and several thousand complaints on ripoffreport.com mainly due to the refund policy from what I've read - and I couldn't read them all so I just read the bad ones. Although there is nothing in the Pricing or FAQ section of their site describing their refund policy, it IS clearly stated in the Terms of Service that a refund would ONLY be given if it's proven that Ditto is in direct violation of the agreement between the artist and Ditto. So read the agreement because any breach of the terms of the agreement on your part will result in not getting refunded. Ditto could also terminate the agreement without giving you a refund IF you the artist (or your associates i.e manager, secretary, etc) are doing anything fraudulent/illegal OR if you the artist (or your associates i.e manager, secretary, etc) are unprofessional with, threaten, or disrespect Ditto staff. So do no wrong and keep a cool head.
Did Ditto put some mechanisms in place to help artists who start to catch? Like marketing support, playlist plugging, etc?
Yes, Yes and YES. On Ditto's very easy to use website you will find four sales boosting tools: Pre-Release, Chart Registration, Playlisting and VEVO Distribution.
I personally feel that a lot of the concerns raised about Ditto in the past are no longer concerns, based on the research I've done on their improvements. That said, I wouldn't release an entire album with any distributor until I saw how they handled a single first. For that reason, I can suggest an artist certainly give Ditto a try.