There are a few things that are starting to bother my having Ubetoo as my digital aggreagtor. I use them to distribute my songs to digital stores and streaming services today and I am considering to change.

I am bound to three months notice and renewal is this month so it won't be until next year that I leave but I'll summarize the frustrations that are starting to build up here:

1. Long publishing times



  • I uploaded Time Travel to Ubetoo for distribution on December 22 2011

  • Ubetoo reviewed and accepted the submission on January 2nd  2012

  • Today, 3rd March 2012 (72 days later) the track is still not on Spotify


[caption id="attachment_582" align="aligncenter" width="457" caption="Time Travel Ubetoo Distribution"][/caption]

Meanwhile a friend of mine released his first track through RouteNote.com on 6-Feb-2012 and that appeared on Spotify a few days ago (about 20-25 days.)

That brings me to another issue. In a digital world I seriously question why it has to take days, weeks, and months to release digital music - especially to Spotify. How hard can it be? Copy the file, encode it, insert meta data to the database. It should be automated and apparently Bob is definitely NOT their uncle. They even "outsource" all the hard work to aggregators who take care of the upload interface. Lousy. Poor. Pathetic.

2. Kontor New Media


Not long ago I wrote a post on Kontor New Media detecting my music on YouTube allegedly infringed on copyright belonging to a company named Kontor New Media.

I disputed this to YouTube and I haven't heard anything since then. Today I discovered that Ubetoo is the mastermind behind this.

I quote from the Ubetoo FAQ:
If you receive copyright claims when you try to upload your own music to e.g. YouTube, that means our security system works!

You might receive copyright claims from a company called Kontor New Media (KNM). That's normal.
They are our digital distribution service. If you're trying to upload your own music and receive copyright claims, just ignore them.

Thing is; I don't want to "just ignore them" because the result is that my YouTube videos get ugly overlaying adverts. I want my videos to be advert free but if I did want adverts on them - atleast I'd want the earnings to go to me and not Kontor New Media.

3. Poor Statistics


The statistics presented by Ubetoo for their distribution service has a lot to wish for. Some are easy to identify, e.g. iTUNES - but in general the list is filled with odd names and no specification to what any amounts are based on.

[caption id="attachment_583" align="aligncenter" width="629" caption="Ubetoo Distribution Statistics Example"][/caption]

4. Scam-like Non-automated Payout Process


Final frustration with Ubetoo is their payout process. Every quarter they collect the income from the digital stores and unless I log on to Ubetoo and manually check a tick box to withdraw my funds to PayPal in time Ubetoo get to take the money from you.

I call this a "scam-like" payout process because it relies on the hope that someone will miss to withdraw the funds in time making it Ubetoo's money instead. The moral solution would be allow artists to activate automatic payouts to their PayPal accounts.

High interest loan companies use this method as well. They rarely have automated billing features because a manual process means someone may miss a payment and then there are hefty additional interest and penalty fees involved so they can make up the money.

5. Ubetoo logo on album art


When I released most of my albums Ubetoo required that their logo had to be illustrated on the cover art. Considering they were the cheapest alternative at the time I was okay with that.

A few months following releasing my albums Ubetoo dropped the requirement so the logo was optional. Great I thought.

Well, great if you can be bothered to withdraw all your releases from all 500 digital stores and re-release them again.

This for switching an album image. Let me remind you of frustration #1 - it takes months for the releases to appear again if I were to to this.

Conclusion


As the frustrations listed above build up - and if things continue in the same direction - I will not be renewing my Ubetoo distribution for next year. I will withdraw my releases and go with another aggregator.

I will do a trial release through RouteNote - but one thing I'm unhappy with there is that they only allow MP3 files. Digital services will re-encode tracks and it's never good to re-encode a file that's been compressed using a lossy compression format. Maybe they will allow Wav/Flac by the time I do the switch - unless I find a better aggregator.

End of depressing text.