RouteNote is a no money up front way to iTunes.

RouteNote - content

There are now many ways to get your music on to the iTunes and Amazon MP3 shops. If you’re signed to a label they do the dirty work for you. As an independent artist you can sign your catalog to one of many aggregator services such The Orchard for example. They take a cut and put your tunes in many places for sale including ring-tone sites. Tunecore has been a popular DIY option and it’s the one I have been using for my own albums here in the USA (I have a separate record deal in Europe with Out of Line Music, outofline.de). Because I sell a decent amount on iTunes I easily make back the upfront fees Tunecore charges to get my tunes online.

Routenote - IO

However, I have a older few releases on my record label that I’m not sure would generate much income. So up until now I haven’t posted them using services that had upfront or maintenance fee’s attached to them in fear I wouldn’t make the cash back. I do sell the old releases on my own website using the Easybe store and I also have them online with my Beatport and Junodownload deals. I’ve been on the look out for a fair service to get the rest of the old catalog onto iTunes. I was pleased to recently discover Routenote. Routenote’s service is dead simple to understand. You upload your music to them and they take 10% of any music you sell after you sell it. They offer online stats and payments come via PayPal. Routenote is non-exclusive.

So is Routenote the best route for you to take? It’s not always a clear cut answer. For some further insight look at this chart and article on the Routenote blog: Digital Music Distributors Compared

35 Comments

  1. Wow, great quick post on some digital distribution options … Thanks for taking the time to write this up!

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  2. Nice one. I was just discussing this with a friend the other day, specifically wondering if there was a way to get tunes uploaded without having to plunk down money we don’t have. On a related note, how has your experience with Beatport been, Oliver? I’ve heard mixed reviews from other producers.

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  3. I’ve been pleased with Beatport in general. If your selling dance music you have to be there.

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  4. Great info on digital distribution options. I wish there was a service like RouteNote or Tunecore that specifically dealt with Beatport and other dance music marketplaces.

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  5. “If your selling dance music you have to be there.”

    No doubt, just wondering how they treat you. Good to know that things are going well with them, though.

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  6. Hey man, that’s awesome. I’m thinking about ditching our aggregator that we use for iTunes because they’re content management system is so damn awful! This could be a great alternative.

    I’ve sent ‘em an email asking if they supply barcodes, at the moment that’s the only thing keeping me going with this other place

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  7. Hey – Thanks for the mention, hope we do well for you!

    Regards,

    Dash@RouteNote

    Reply

  8. Great spot Chesler. Thanks.

    Reply

  9. There’s also a decent article in Futue Music this month about distributors and getting your music out there.

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  10. do i need to register to the orchard before i upload my tracks on routenote?

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    1. All you need to do is sign up to RouteNote.

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  11. update, just uploaded our first release with these guys and the comntent management system is a dream.

    Also worth a note they also provide UPC (Universal producs codes) for free, this is a big deal as these are manditory for almost all digital stores and some distributors will charge you up to $50 for one.

    Fast turnaround and real time stat reporting to boot!

    Great service and also great people

    Thanks Oliver

    Reply

  12. @Blinky thanks for the nice comments about our service. We are trying to increase our offering in terms of partners and product as we grow.

    @Dominic You dont have to use the Orchard at all to use RouteNote. Just head to RouteNote.com and you can sign up for our service for free.

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  13. But where are the actual terms and conditions of the distro agreement? I want to use this service, but there is no way I would do that without seeing the actual fine print. I e-mailed asking for this info, but two days later nobody has sent it to me. There should be a clear link to this on the site, not just to the terms and conditions of using the site itself. This has nothing to do with the actual legal relationship between the artist and the distributor.

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  14. Disappointed Routnote User February 21, 2010 at 8:02 am

    One BIG problem with Routenote is it’s poor service. After waiting months and months for my song to be released on iTunes through Routenote I discovered that they had actually MISSPELLED MY BAND NAME. They where, however, pretty quick as fixing the problem once I contacted them. After that, I assumed everything was going to be fine from then on. Unfortunately, although my song has been on iTunes since August or September, not a single song sale has yet to show up on my Routenote sales info in my account. Either Routenote is terribly inefficient at posting sales on time, or they are hiding sales of my song from me. I know that my song has been purchased because as a test to see this, I purchased my own song on iTunes. I am not going to assume or accuse routenote is hiding sales of my own song from me at this time, but it is disappointing to see how inefficient this company is.

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  15. I have heard the same horror stories off several people now unfortunately.
    Looking from their other reviews, Routenote’s CEO is in financial difficulty over his other company where they have still not paid anyone.
    And there is a lot of talk about them not even having an office. Something they deny, but from what i can see, their people skills are appalling.

    It seems that they are mostly reviewing their service themselves and hyping it up through Crenk.com which is owned by the same person and is their Number 1 fan!

    I would be interested to hear any “real” reviews of Routenote. Ones that aren’t obviously fabricated by themselves.

    Reply

    1. @Barnsey Im CEO over at RouteNote and I have never been in any issues with any company I have been involved with.

      RouteNote runs from an office in Redruth, Cornwall. We are always open for artists to come and say hello and have a coffee with us.

      RouteNote is the largest UK digital music distributor and we have staff that have worked in the industry for many years. Additionally, RouteNote offers unbeatable customer service, in which any artist can just give us a call anytime.

      We dont fabricate any reviews. Over 3,200 artists are happy with the RouteNote service and we are growing rapidly ever month.

      Reply

  16. Hiyas! I uploaded two albums worth of tunes back in
    September to RouteNote. After monitoring activity for some time, I
    sent an email to their support in the second week of December
    inquiring as to the status of my music, as searching for my artist
    name through their affiliated content sellers (iTunes, Napster,
    AmazonMP3, etc.) provided no mention of my artist name. Though
    support advised that the holiday season was busy, I haven’t
    received any further response even after resending an inquiry. So,
    users, if you’re going to try RouteNote or any other digital
    distribution service, see how many positive non-sponsored user
    reviews you can find first if you want to save yourself some
    unnecessary headaches. This will help to ensure you’re receiving a
    quality, legitimate service. Sadly, I haven’t found other services
    offering the same deal as RouteNote, indicating that submitting any
    more music for free-of-charge-except-15-percent-profit distribution
    may result in further ‘snubbery’. At this point, I’m looking at
    shelling out money for distribution of further albums, however said
    funds will unlikely be heading in RouteNote’s direction unless a
    resolution to the status of my music is discovered in my Inbox
    soon. Steven Finch: Perhaps RouteNote would offer their users the
    same level of stellar support through email that is offered over
    the phone. It would help RouteNote’s reputation
    considerably.

    Reply

  17. RouteNote support got back to me a few weeks back. Apparently, an internal error somewhere along the way deflagged the sites my music was to be distributed to. They’ve all been reflagged, so it’s another waiting game for the tunes to be posted on the partner sites.

    I’ve also noted that the number of services available to this proud Canadian have been reduced from seven to four: iTunes, AmazonMP3, eMUSIC and Spotify. I still haven’t received a response regarding one of their partners, so it’s time for the email game again.

    Please, Steven, have a chat with your email support staff. PLEASE. I despise writing negative comments about companies, but I’m left with no alternative as I’m personally obligated to saving wary users from unfortunate experiences on ‘teh Intarwebs’.

    Cheers.

    Reply

  18. Unfortunately I have an experience much like Dissappointed Routenote User.
    My music got uploaded just fine, and no misspelled bandname.
    BUT my sales since I joined about half a year ago have been zero.
    I would not like to make accusations, but I am starting to find it a bit worrying that we sell CDs and merchandise but no downloads. Again no accusations, just a bit worried.

    But I would like to hear if any independant artist has made any money with Routenote?

    Reply

  19. As would I, Thorn. I have conducted some fairly intense Web searches for satisfied RouteNote artists, and have come up with only those who have explored the service but have not modified their reviews to indicate the quality of the service.

    I’m still keeping an eye on its partners to see when my music shows up. At this rate, however, I’m fairly well fed up with RouteNote and all other “free services” (free as in money, quality and actual service).

    Also, send a pleasant, polite email inquiry to RouteNote support to see if there are any technical issues blocking your music from being posted.

    Reply

  20. Here at RouteNote we have made some huge improvements over the past few months and now our service is second to none. We have improved uploading, ingestions and sending times to stores. Currently, we are seeing iTunes music live within days.

    We still have more improvements to come with Stats especially!

    Reply

  21. To be fair, by now I have made sales and gotten money from Routenote. Very good.

    Only problem is that I know of downloads that have not be registered or payed. Only thing I don’t know if it’s because of some give-away or credit coupons they give, so the artist doesn’t get paid.
    And I know a bunch of people have listened to the stuff on streaming sites too. But I don’t know if there’s a border that you need to have at least some thousand listens in per month to be paid or something.

    To sum up:
    Yeah, would be great with some serious improvements on the stats part.

    It’s especially important that the artists are given info about the rates and payment of every site. Ex. if they can make offers that give away your song and you don’t get paid and streaming sites can play your songs this much without paying you. + If so, one should get stats/info on how much this is happening as well. It would help the artist to chose which sites to be affiliated with.

    Reply

    1. I’ve had many, many problems with routenote, although it’s true they have improved recently. I am still somewhat skeptical though about their sales reporting. Does anyone know how to audit them?

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  22. (Artist formerly known as THoK.)

    Steve: The question remains: for whom is the RouteNote service second to none? Your users, or yourselves? Under the name THoK, my music had not appeared on any music services. It’s cool that *some* music is appearing on iTunes within days, unfortunately, when RouteNote’s service is inconsistent to the point that you’re disappointing some users while impressing others, you’re limiting your overall income potential. Perhaps this is the point. I’m suspecting the difference is between whether or not artists desire(d) the free or paid service.

    James apologised, and noted to me in email that he had “personally” seen my albums off twice to reach retailer. As he also added, “There has obviously been a fundamental issue that we have not been able to
    address here, but I will having a serious look into what’s gone wrong.”

    RouteNote placed no apparent effort into distributing my music regardless of how many inquiries I sent over the course of six months, but was extremely quick in removing it from your service upon my request. I’ve directed artists to alternate resources for publishing their music since.

    Reply

  23. this is my experience with Routenote>
    In July 2010 I released 2 EPs of songs on ITunes through a digital distributor called Routenote
    http://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/the-brixton-hill-billies/id381813748
    which is offering a good deal where they upload your music and they keep 10%from the royalties received
    So I went for it but I noticed that on the account ,where I was login in, some songs wheren-t showing up on the sale statistics.
    After lots of Emails and phone calls more than an year later they finally rectified the problem.
    Then I found out from a friend of mine that one of my tracks where at position 27 on the Itunes chart in Luxembourg http://www.music-chart.info/Luxembourg/archive/genre/6/Country/2011/03/28#27
    with a total of 11 appearances on the top 100.
    One of the tracks that weren-t showing up on the the Routenote account was the same track that was on the charts…strange.
    Today to my account the total of my royalties is 14 $ since the release date.
    I have tried to raise the issue with Routenote but they says that everything is correct.
    I contacted the PRS and MCPS (I am a member) but they weren-t helpful at all and completely useless.
    Musicians Union is a total farce.
    I don-t know how can you find out exactly how many sales I had on Itunes and there is like a wall of silence when it comes to transparency on ITunes sales.
    If anyone know any way to audit Routenote or Itunes please let me know or anyone that could help me to resolve this issue.
    I am sure there are a lot of indipendent artists out there on the same situation and It would be good to expose all those companies that are legally ripping them off only because they know that they can not afford a music lawyer .
    Kind Regards

    Reply

  24. Guys. I would ditch RouteNote and go with the companies below:

    - CD Baby
    - TuneCore (Their sales system just WORKS!)
    - Venzo Music (They can put your music on iTunes for free too + iPhone apps!)
    - Zimbalam
    - IODA

    Reply

  25. Routenote do not even have more than 2 staff. I swear it is always the same person answering the phone, doing support and it takes so long for them to get back.

    The only time i got a reply was when i publicly complained on twitter, then they were very quick.
    I am sorry but they should not be called a music company, they do not know music, they spend all the time writing horrible blogs about music, complaining or whatever to get traffic, but they know nothing. I ask about PRS, they cant tell me about it, i will never use routenote again, their poor service and you have to EARN FIFTY DOLLARS before getting paid. And they want to take 15% of royalties. How can i earn that much from a release?
    Bad service, someone should expose this company. they talk of improvements?
    Here is an idea, take some staff on and actually have a customer support

    Reply

  26. Just like to say i’m very happy with the service i get from Routenote, i do have 1 question though, do you think Routenote will ever distribute to Beatport?

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    1. I’m not sure. Is it difficult to get a direct deal with Beatport these days? That’s what I did but it was early on and I had a decent size catalog.

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  27. I could talk all day about how much of a rip off routenote are, but i wont.
    They have 2 staff, a bedroom office and the WORST website and upload process i have ever seen.
    And they spend all their time lurking around forums. Do the math. 2 staff, 1 of them spends all day lurking on forums writing about themselves , u have no chance of getting support
    i look edup the CEO and his last business went bankrupt. This cant be too far behind
    I remove ALL of my music

    Reply

    1. Im the CEO at RouteNote and I think you must be mistaking our company for a different one. For my full business history please take a look at my Linkedin profile http://uk.linkedin.com/in/stevenfinch. RouteNote has been growing rapidly and we have a strong fulltime and recruiting at the moment.

      Reply

  28. There’s only one RouteNote, Steven. I recommend readers search Google for routenote reviews and have a glance through the first couple of pages. Were you actually concerned for your customers, you would have personally addressed the issues rather than let James act as your front man. RouteNote has left a bad taste in the mouth of this particular artist, and I have no hesitation in warning my colleagues away from your service. No amount of backpedalling or denial on your part will resolve these issues, bud.

    Reply

    1. It would be great to hear your artist name so we can see and learn from the issues with your account inside RouteNote. RouteNote now has over 12 staff worldwide. We have very limited staff that are customer facing, but if you contact us via our internal contact form anyone of our team will be able to help you with your query.

      Reply

  29. If you guys are looking for the BEST iTunes Distribution experience, I highly advise you check out Venzo Digital. We provide a fully automated system that allows any artist to see what they are selling on iTunes everyday + everyweek, create Pre-Orders, sell Ringtones on iTunes, create iPhone apps, sell native-language titles, and more!

    Give us a try at: http://www.venzodigital.com

    Reply

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