Skip to main content

I'm going mad - I've loads of music on all the streaming and sales platforms - or at least, had until today. Suddenly every single one - my original compositions and recordings plus licences covers have all just vanished. Distrokids has none - one single waiting for release and everything has gone - Spotify yesterday had them all, today, all gone. All Youtube tracks gone - tried the other platforms and exactly the same - every single trace of me has just vanished. Has anyone had this before? Even worse I was waiting for a large royalty payment too - but everything has been zeroed. Distrokids have not replied and I have no idea what has happened? Any suggestions - being kicked out of every organisation hurts, and worse, how the hell to you get things put back? I've paid for every release too - I'm feeling pretty miffed, but also upset that somebody just pushed the off switch!


paulears Wed, 02/10/2021 - 10:19

This sucks - my 5 million streams on tiktok have gone too - I don't exist there any longer - my own music has gone from my own playlists on Spotify - I'm gone on iTunes, amazon and apple - distrokids are not responding to emails - every location I was, has been cut - I never thought you could even do this on the inter web - just kill something completely?

paulears Wed, 02/10/2021 - 10:56

No Kurt - On YouTube you could search for Paul Johnson and then a title - like some of the stuff shared on here - Frenetic or try night terrors - everything put on the net by distrokids has gone - the few tracks I did independently are still there, but it's like distrokids can zap an entire library with one button push - lots I paid for the licences for - and those licences are still there, so I downloaded them for security but googling tiktok Paul Johnson mr blue sky revealed over 5 million streams, and google cannot find them any longer - something very strange is going on and distrokids are totally silent. They have systematically removed my music from everywhere they put it out to? I have no idea what to do. I know it's just music, but I feel sick in the stomach, and no idea what to do to put it back - and even if they do put it back, how on earth do I restore the likes and clicks?

audiokid Wed, 02/10/2021 - 11:39

Have you contacted any of those companies to see why and if so, what kind of response are you getting if any?

Cancel Culture ... have you had anyone accuse you of copyright infringement? If so... you will be turned off by the "AI system". That being said... hopefully you get this sorted because this is frightening.

Please keep us posted.

paulears Wed, 02/10/2021 - 11:49

Actually - yes? CBS/Sony on YouTube tried to claim one of my original pieces - an instrumental and composed by me, and they have also put in a claim on the UK PPL system - who contacted me asking for my contract for a cover song, which I paid for an have - which I forwarded? Thinking about it, this is rather a coincidence now I think about it - maybe they instigated a lockdown? I've had no emails though, apart from one from PPL which I have supplied the info to, today. All the other organisations don't have any sensible way of contacting them - endless FAQs, but no contact details. I suppose I have to wait for info from distrokids, but I've been very specific on the stuff I have put up - any covers were declared as covers and I paid the charges. I can't think of anything I've done.

kmetal Wed, 02/10/2021 - 13:45

Its quite possible your account was hacked. I got notice from Google last month saying my passwords saved in my Google have been exposed by a non-google data breach. My email has been hacked several times ie my email provider forced me to reset a password. A 75$ e gift i bought for my mother in Dec was stolen somehow 2 days after purchased and used at the NYC location of the store. I suspect this is related to an email hack.

My wifi has been terrible too.

I think there have been some major security breaches and we are feeling the ripple effect.

I take screenshots of my online finance stuff for "proof" routinely. And i think its critical to backup all related data including software installers, which can become unavailable on the manufacturers website.

Didn't you have an issue with Steinberg recently?

paulears Wed, 02/10/2021 - 13:55

Actually - yes. I think the payent system is OK because it's done by BACS so to change that to somebody else account involves codes from the bank. I have head a response from Spotify - which basically gave me a contact in a different department, but as Distrokid seem to be owned by Spotify ............. more waiting I guess. P

cyrano Wed, 02/10/2021 - 18:24

That must feel like a personal attack, Paul.

You're not alone. Several people on Reddit (in r/WeAreTheMusicMakers) had the same experience with Distrokid, but Reddit channel mods deleted some of the posts.

Nobody seems to know why. It doesn't seem to be a system malfunction, as one post is from a year ago, another from a month ago and one from hours ago.

High time to move away from Distrokid, I guess...

paulears Thu, 02/11/2021 - 00:50

Yes I’m discovering this, and pretty much nobody has any redress, I’m even more annoyed because some releases and the payments are very recent so I’ve lost that money and the forty dollars I didn’t withdraw. I’ll report back if I hear from them. I’m not hopeful. It’s very clear they are their own judge and jury.luckily I do have the ISRC codes I’ll have to look at another aggregator DistroKid say they are better than tunecore, tunecore say they are better than DistroKid, and there’s one called Ditto, so I’ll investigate today.
on youtube, they create a page for your music, but you could put it on your own page, and then if their version of me triggers YouTube’s protection, my own music would be ‘collected’ and not paid to me, but paid to DistroKid’s version of me? No idea if this annoys DistroKid for some reason? Their registration tick boxes suggest it’s fine? Yesterday I was really upset, today I’m more angry. What I want are my five million streams back. If DistroKid wont give it me, then I think I might raise a claim with the uk rights agency as I have the licence and the recording is registered to me, they can’t argue it’s not been used, but worldwide claims are not easy, as the sites don’t exactly make it easy to contact them.

pcrecord Thu, 02/11/2021 - 04:53

In this new world of streaming, anyone doing a complaint is listened to without verification.
If anyone says to distrokid, one of your song isn't yours, they might have taking your account down to avoid being sued themself.
Some people even related that when givin a song to distrokid, if they don't specify not to, the same song will be taken down from youtube if they posted it...
All this for 0.0000027$ per play.. :(

paulears Fri, 02/19/2021 - 13:35

UPDATE - It's now 10 days since the takedown, but one album of covers is still on Spotify - but missing from Distrokid. 8 emails via their internal system (as you cannot send one eternally) and no human response at all. All bank details still zero'd. Stats still visible but they stop dead on the 9th. I've been putting the music back up on Ditto - who claim they can, if everything is the same, recover the stats, and get the music going g again - but it's taken three days solid work - their album art size requirement is different and their categories are different and worst of all, they require permissions for all music - as in permission you have rights for the recording. I've got all these things - but it means every track needs the rights data downloading from the details I have registered on PPL, so downloading, labelling, re-uploading, and now I have a different problem. Quite a few of the tracks are new versions of old classical music - different arrangements but of well known pieces and Ditto have said they can't Handle it as it's public domain? This makes no sense at all? You need rights for using material that's covered by copyright - but if it's not, you can't do it? This is just a nightmare. 61 singles and albums submitted. 4 have been sent to stores, 3 rejected. They're even comparing the album artwork with the title - one said the title and at the bottom, the artwork said Instrumentals - I had to remove the word instrumentals. Distrokid were simpler, they arranged cover song licences (Ditto don't) , and took any kind of music. It's so damn stressful. While I'm typing they just refused another! The problem is the title - Jazzy G String - a jazz version of Air on a G String - they don't allow generic words in titles? So is that the 'string' or 'jazzy'? No idea. I've renamed it 'Jazzy G-String' - but this probably means I'll lose the old title stats.

EDIT I just found another distributer/aggregator who do classical stuff - Songtradr - and some of my titles are on their platform - so I might try the rejected ones on there and experiment a bit. What a crazy system!

cyrano Sat, 02/20/2021 - 02:20

Unrelated, but a sign o' the times.

I got an email from one of our SSO (single sign on) providers that my account was compromised and I needed to change passwords. So I did.

More than a week later, I get a mail from another, well-known big company that the previous mail was sent out in error, during a test. It seems the big company bought the small one. And Murphy kicked in.

Go figure. These are security vendors. They should know what they are doing. Apparently, they don't.

I see it happening all around. There's at least one very serious breach every day.

And Paul's saga reminded me that not many services seem to be working as they should. Human error, bugs and gaping security holes are everywhere, just waiting to be exploited.

Personally, I've always refused to do business with companies that lacked in any sense. My successor doesn't seem to be so fanatic. He's currently wiping up the debris from the latest mishap. If he gets one like that every week, they'll have to engage some assistants, I'm afraid. That is, if the company is still in business six months from now.

And the user's problem is: Who do we believe? Who do we trust?

paulears Sat, 02/20/2021 - 02:35

I'm amazed by the replacement companies dilligence - I assume it's automatic, but impressive none the less - hidden in the music is metadata - their system scanned the album art image and detects words, then cross checks. One had the title, my name plus two other collaborators. The music only featured my name - I had to fix it, but the two missing names were already in, just wanting me to confirm them? Loads of well knowm alum covers would fail this - having all sorts of names in the images, but it is very clever!

paulears Mon, 03/01/2021 - 00:03

Spotify and apple have the music starting to appear from Ditto and Songtradr. Not quite trouble free as my picture appears to be another paul johnson, so I’m now two people till I work out how to change this. However Ditto do not do classical music, and rejected some tracks. They have taken quite a few which are live, which is odd, so old classical music is now on songtradr. Their system is the most complex to make work. One of the Carpenters tracks on YouTube has been pinched by A&M music as an illegal use of the original track which while a compliment I guess, is clearly wrong. As my income from streaming services has been an extra, up until the five million streams on Tiktok I haven’t lost income I rely on, but what about people who do? There seems no method of complaint and they are immune from people knocking on their door. In the UK websites should have contact addresses, yet Distrokid, a huge company can remain anonymous.

im hoping the entire thing was a glitch but if they fix it, everything is duplicated so good knows what will happen then! I have not put up the five million plus track on the new system but I have put up the half a million track, risking it to see if the stats transfer. It’s been such a lot of work.

paulears Sat, 03/20/2021 - 05:19

I've had my first response from Distrokid. It was suspicious activity on my account that led to the takedown and the freezing of the bank account. They are investigating me, which should be worrying, but isn't because I know that apart from playing my own music on youtube and spotify, I've not even tried to market the music at all. The sudden increase in November from a couple a thousand streams a month to nearly six million was absolutely nothing to do with me, yet triggered alarms in their system. That, I do understand, but total non-communication from the 9th Feb to now is unforgivable, so assuming I do actually get the royalties due at some point, I'm going to take them straight out and probably carry on with new titles on the two new distribution system. I could remove them and go back to Distrokid, but their customer attitude totally stinks. So I'm back in the waiting game, seeing at some point if they free up my money!

On the net we see so many posts about rights and how people don't want to pay for them, and music should be free etc - but this has just for me reconfirmed my attitude that the music is mine, and any decision on who gets it free and who pays is mine. Having money dangled on a string and then removed is really such a bad way to make some of your living. It wouldn't apply to every other occupation, would it? Can you imagine saying to somebody - I know you did lots of extra hours, but actually, we're going to stop your pay totally till we've investigated why?

At least I now have actually communicated with them - which is an achievement I think!

paulears Fri, 05/21/2021 - 15:45

Well, tonight I got the answer from Distrokid. my music used on nearly six million tiktok streams is deemed suspicious and my account is frozen, and no payments will be made and they suggest I leave and find another distributor. They suggest I click a link and cancel my membership otherwise recurring payments to them on my credit card will continue. There is absolutely nothing I can do. I have contacted tiktok because my music is still on the videos and they are paying royalties to distrokid. If they have paid distrokid, they’ve got my money and I wont get it from tiktok. This is so unacceptable but perfectly within the agreement terms. 

if anyone was thinking about choosing a distributor, do not deal with them!

paulears Mon, 05/24/2021 - 07:11

Distrokid told me to leave today as even though they are not giving me the money, they are STILL collecting royalties on it, but not paying me? How amazing is that - so I've cicked the close account box, but that's the end to any link with them. Crazy people - I've even found Facebook groups from angry people. They just don't care at all. I don't even have access to the old stats - so cannot even see what I got paid for and what I didn't!