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Is RouteNote Legit? We Tested it Thoroughly To Find Out!

RouteNote is a music distribution company that offers a range of free and paid services. There have been mixed reviews from customers regarding their experiences with the company, which might leave you wondering whether RouteNote is legit.

In this article, based on our own experience using RouteNote and other distribution services, alongside the opinions of others who have used the site, we are going to answer that question, and find out whether RouteNote is legit and whether it’s the best service for you.

Is RouteNote Legit? (Quick Verdict)

Despite its mixed reviews, RouteNote is both safe and legitimate to distribute your music on. RouteNote might not be as well known, as quick as other distribution platforms, or offer the same features, but they are 100% free and safe to use.

I can understand why there have been questions raised on the legitimacy of the company, simply due to the way it feels navigating the website. The page feels clunky and confusing, it's not clear where you are meant to start, and what information is expected of you to complete your first release.

Most of the artists using this site are new to releasing music and have very little prior knowledge about the required formats for the media you need to upload for a release. For this reason, I felt that RouteNote could have considered their customer's needs a little better.

Most of the artists using this site are new to releasing music and have very little prior knowledge about the required formats for the media you need to upload for a release. For this reason, I felt that RouteNote could have considered their customer's needs better, and provided more information for newer musicians.

However, the process of uploading music was absolutely fine. Everything ended up where it was supposed to, and it was a fairly smooth ride.

I personally went through the process of uploading my music to major streaming sites using RouteNote, and it arrived on all the platforms I chose successfully.

As for the confusing user experience, I have experienced this with all the distribution platforms I have used to upload my music.

The confusing user experience was an annoyance, but to be fair to RouteNote, this is something we've encountered with all other platforms. It feels like they could help musicians out more, and provide more information, but you can't complain about it being free.

The Distribution Process – How Long Does it Take?

Distributing music on RouteNote can take anywhere between 5-10 days. RouteNote claims 24-72 hours, but in our experience, this is usually 4-7 days. They aren't the fastest distributor but are rapid when compared to other free distribution services.

The distribution process tends to vary depending on several different factors, this tends to be the case with all of the major distributors.

RouteNote claims that under normal circumstances they aim to moderate your release within 24- 72 hours, however, due to COVID 19 these times have extended to between 5-10 working days.

The reviews do not reflect this, they suggest extremely long and inconsistent time frames for the moderation of upcoming releases. One artist claimed 2 months without the track coming out! Other reviews complain about the response time when wanted to make changes to the release.

My experience was not like this, my track was out 4 days after I uploaded it and I asked the customer support team to help me change the information with one of my releases and they responded in two days.

Streaming Services – Where Does RouteNote Distribute to?

One of the most significant factors to consider when choosing the Distributor that's right for you is which streaming platforms they can distribute to. RouteNote has a lack of streaming platforms compared to the other major distributors but it has all of the most important platforms.

routenote distribution list

RouteNote distributes music to all of the following streaming platforms:

  • Spotify
  • Apple Music & iTunes
  • YouTube & YouTube Music
  • Amazon Music
  • Deezer
  • Facebook & Instagram
  • SoundCloud
  • TikTok
  • Pandora
  • Napster
  • Tencent
  • & more!

Other distributors like Distrokid and Ditto have a wider range of streaming platforms which you can upload to, including Boomplay and Beatport (which RouteNote doesn't include), however, the main ones that 99.99% of all listeners will be on are covered by RouteNote. However, the main platforms, where most of your listeners will be found, are covered by the RouteNote distribution platform.

RouteNote also covers streaming platforms that are more popular in other countries such as Tencent in China. This is something you definitely want to ensure is on your distributor's list.

RouteNote's Customer Service & Communication – is it Any Good?

RouteNote's customer service is great. They don't use bots and use real, human agents to handle your queries. You also don't get stuck in a loop of FAQ answers, before being able to contact them, which is a breath of fresh air.

Based on my own experience RouteNote's customer experience was good.

The response time was less than a few days, and they were able to fix any issue promptly. They understand your problem and do their best to help you get it sorted.

For a lot of people, releasing music for the first time can be a hugely anxious experience, and a slow customer experience only adds to the stress. This can often lead to wanting to reach for the phone for live, on-hand support.

However, there is no contact number for RouteNote's customer support, meaning the only way that you can contact them is via their “support ticket” system.

So, if there is an emergency problem with your release that needs immediate attention, then you will simply have to wait for them to review your ticket.

Unfortunately, this is something you can't avoid when distributing music, and RouteNote isn't the only platform to do this. This is the case with most major distributors, but most would agree that customer support satisfaction would be greatly improved by the implementation of a real person to talk to about your specific issue. 

This is the case with most major distributors, and we wish that more would include a phone support option. We'd be happy to pay the premium!

Pricing – Is RouteNote Really Free?

Yes, RouteNote is freeBut if you chose to use their free service, you will be limited in what you can do and you will only receive 85% of your royalties.

In RouteNote's free plan you'll get the following:

  • 85% of your streaming royalties
  • SoundCloud monetisation (better to use SoundCloud directly for this, but it's a nice feature)
  • YouTube content ID monetisation
  • Pre-Save links from push.fm
  • Great analytics on sales, streams etc.
  • Revenue share (if you need to split the money in collaborations equally)
  • Unlimited artists
  • Unlimited uploads

They also mention that there are no hidden costs at any point in the distribution process. I can verify this to be true from my own experience.

So, why would anyone choose the paid version?

The main difference is that you keep 100% of the royalties. Therefore, the premium service is targeted at more established artists who expect to generate a good amount of money from their streaming royalties. The cost of the premium plan also depends on what you are releasing.

The premium RouteNote pricing is as follows:

  • $10 annually for a single release
  • $20 for an EP
  • $30 for an album
  • $40 for an Ex album

RouteNote also offers a customisable service targeted toward professional labels. This includes everything you get in the premium plan plus:

  • A Tailored service
  • Dedicated account management
  • Priority Support
  • Pitching assistance
  • Early Access to new features

This Plan has a custom price, meaning that the price may differ depending on what your needs as a customer are. The pricing on this is also less transparent and depends on your needs so, it may vary.

Does RouteNote Have Pre-Save Links & Revenue Split?

With RouteNote you have access to features like Pre-Save links, and revenue share on both the free and paid plans. However, RouteNote will take 15% commission on your music on the free plan. RouteNote is currently the most feature-rich, free music distribution service.

With RouteNote you’ll get extensive access to Pre-saves, Fan Links and all of our other digital marketing tools. This will help you capture the attention of your fans, give them direct access to your music across all major streaming, drive higher streams and track your campaign success.

You can use these Pre-save campaigns to build momentum on Spotify, Apple Music & Deezer before your music’s official release, just like on Ditto, Distrokid or any other distribution service.

The only difference is, it's all free on RouteNote!

What About YouTube Content ID and SoundCloud Monetisation?

On RouteNote you can monetise your music through both YouTube and SoundCloud. During the distribution process, you must select SoundCloud and YouTube as platforms you want to distribute to. RouteNote will then create channels, and monetise your music for you.

youtube content ID routenote distribution

We would personally recommend signing up for monetising your music directly on SoundCloud. This will give you 100% of your royalties from SoundCloud, instead of RouteNote taking 15% of that.

For me personally, SoundCloud is the place I make the most money per stream, and actually earn more than Spotfiy etc. This is partly due to my bigger audience on SoundCloud, but if you're an electronic music producer, do not underestimate SoundCloud payouts.

What Others Are Saying About RouteNote Distribution

The reviews on RouteNote's distribution service are very mixed. Most people in the community considered distributing music with RouteNote to be a poor experience, and the reviews are more negative than positive. Many people complain about distribution times and the customer support team. However, we didn't experience this.

Many customers have highlighted issues with the customer support team response time, moderation time and lack of important features like cover licensing, lyrics distribution and release dates per platform.

One review mentions that the company is run by bots and therefore is limited in the support it can offer its customers. 

There are, however, plenty of positive reviews, such as the following

routenote review reddit trustpilot

My experience using RouteNote was generally positive, it successfully distributed my music and did not try and charge me for anything else extra along the way. My track was moderated and uploaded quickly and for any queries I had, customer support was able to help me promptly.

Is RouteNote Better Than Distrokid?

Distrokid is better than RouteNote. Times to distribute are quicker, the customer support team is more responsive, and there are more features available on Distrokid. You pay $19.99/year, but it's worth it. However, Distrokid can get pricey with added extras, so beware!

Distrokid’s site is easier to navigate and is a far more professional experience. The customer service team are consistently helpful, and the range of streaming platforms they offer is far greater.

Another thing to note is that Distrokid is a much more popular company. This makes it easier to find help and a solution to your problem if something goes wrong with your release. There's a reason it's often considered the best music distribution service.

Distrokid’s services start at $19.99 per year for the basic package and $35.99 a year for the “plus” package. Which in our opinion is a fair price, especially as you keep 100% of all royalties.

The main difference between the two would be the quality of customer service.

Distrokid has a much more comprehensive help centre, and if you have an issue that you cannot solve based on the information in the help centre then you can speak to a customer support officer who will help you with your specific problem.

Distrokid is also a Spotify preferred distributor and will get your music released in a much faster time than RouteNote.

However, interestingly, the distribution times stated on the Distrokid website is longer than that of RouteNote, although many reviews suggest that RouteNotes stated distribution time is not accurate.

Is RouteNote Better Than Tunecore?

Tunecore is better than RouteNote when it comes to music distribution. You get better customer support and faster distribution times. However, you pay a premium for this, and both companies have poor online reviews. We'd personally go with Distrokid.

Tunecore offers a lot of the same features as Distrokid, therefore we believe it is better than RouteNote's for the same reasons, however, Tunecore takes it a step further than Distrokid.

You will pay $29.99 per album for the first year, then $49.99 every following year and $9.99 per single per year. So it goes without saying that you would expect a very different product than you would with RouteNote.

Tunecore distributes to FAR more streaming platforms than RouteNote and offers a huge selection of articles covering just about every aspect of the music releasing process.

For a nominal fee, you can also get help with publishing your music. They also offer discounts on services such as Vinyl Pressing and CD manufacturing.

Yes, Tunecore offers a better service than RouteNote, but is it worth the price? It really depends on how much you are willing to pay and how much you intend to release.

Summary

So, based on our research and own personal experience we can verify that RouteNote is in fact legitimate. However, we don’t think that it is the best distributor out there, even though it is free.

We would recommend using this article and your own research to find out which distributor is the best suited for your specific needs to make sure that your experience releasing music is stress-free!

To quickly recap:

Despite its mixed reviews, RouteNote is both safe and legitimate to distribute your music on. RouteNote might not be as well known, as quick as other distribution platforms, or offer the same features, but they are 100% free and safe to use.

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