RouteNote Music Distribution Review

routenote music distribution review - decibel peak academy

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I recently distributed one of my tracks through RouteNote so I thought I’d share my experience! By reading my RouteNote music distribution review, you’ll also be learning about some other music distribution services and comparing them against one another. If you need more information on any of these other distributors, I’ll be providing some links.

After reading this RouteNote music distribution review, you’ll be ready to decide whether or not it’s the right service for your music. Similar to most music distributors, RouteNote features a free plan (they keep 15% of your earnings though) but also includes the ability to pay upfront (we’ll talk about pricing later) to keep 100% of your earnings. We’ll also be comparing RouteNote to DistroKid, Amuse and TuneCore. You’ll inevitably realize that there’s no such thing as the “perfect” music distribution service, but I think you’ll agree with me about certain key features that RouteNote does better than anyone else.

How much does RouteNote cost?

I recommend starting with RouteNote’s free plan before committing. That way, you’ll get to see how the platform works without necessarily placing all your eggs in one basket.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re still searching for your first music distributor.

That being said, you’re probably curious about RouteNote’s premium pricing. That’s the information you’ll be needing to make accurate comparisons with other services.

Here’s what RouteNote’s base pricing looks like:

  • Free (they keep 15% of your earnings though)
  • Paid (30.00$ for the first year, then 9.99$ per year)

However, you’ll also need to pay an additional fee for EACH type of release:

  • Single (10$)
  • EP (20$)
  • Album (30$)
  • Extended Album (45$)

If that seems like it could get expensive, you’re probably right. I’m personally not too fond of this pricing model and RouteNote isn’t the only music distributor using it. Unless you’re making LOTS of money, it’ll most likely be better to stick with the free plan until that changes.

Don’t worry about memorizing the prices, I’ll be referencing them later once we start comparing.

Is RouteNote any good?

That question seems pretty vague, I know. We’ll be getting into some specific features that demonstrate why RouteNote is one of the best FREE music distributors in my opinion, but we’ll also be addressing some concerns you may have from reading other articles.

Here’s the good news first:

  • YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud monetization
  • Distribution to 90% of streaming platforms (all the major ones)
  • Ability to upload in lossless audio formats
  • RouteNote Direct (sell directly to your fans through this digital store)
  • RouteNote referral program (commissions come from RouteNote, not the artist)
  • Reports/Statistics

AND here’s the bad news:

  • Customer support isn’t the best
  • Minimum of 50$ before payout

I haven’t personally experienced RouteNote’s customer support, but from what I’ve been reading on forums and other websites… It seems like customer support isn’t their forte.

To be honest though, great customer support is RARE. Especially with music distributors.

That being said, I’d rather focus on all the advantages of using RouteNote. One of the main features that attracted me was the ability to monetize music on SoundCloud for FREE. That’s right, no need to sign up for SoundCloud Pro (not many people know about this trick).

The setup process is clearly outlined on RouteNote’s website, but feel free to ask me for assistance in the comments if you’re having difficulty.

The ability to upload in lossless formats (FLAC) was also really cool!

We’ll talk more about the other features in the following sections. I think it’ll give you a better idea to understand where other music distributors may be lacking compared to RouteNote. So without further ado, let’s start comparing!

RouteNote vs DistroKid

I’m currently using DistroKid AND RouteNote at the same time (it’s possible). I’ve been with DistroKid for almost one year, but I’ve been meaning to try RouteNote for quite some time.

That being said, I think I’ll be keeping both because they’re both IMPERFECT in their own way.

If I were to name one feature that makes DistroKid better though, it’s this…


Getting your music delivered to streaming services is lightning-fast with DistroKid. With RouteNote’s free plan, it can take really long. Some have reported over 3 weeks.

However, that’s not the norm.

It personally took my track (Screaming Eagle) 9 days after approval. It’s not that bad, but it usually takes me an average of 3 business days with DistroKid. That being said, I use DistroKid when I want to get my music uploaded quickly.

From what I understand, RouteNote’s free plan is the same as the premium plan in regards to speed. However, I cannot confirm this since I haven’t upgraded.

In regards to pricing though, DistroKid is clearly the winner!

It’s 20$ per year for UNLIMITED releases while RouteNote charges 9.99$ per year + additional fees for each type of release (10$ – single, 20$ – ep, 30$ – album, 45$ – extended album).

So, which one do I think is better?

Let’s just say I personally wouldn’t consider RouteNote’s paid plan. However, you and I may not necessarily have the same needs so keep that in mind. I like DistroKid best because it allows me to quickly upload/remove music.

I’m not in the streaming game for the long run, that’s not how I pay my bills anyway…

RouteNote vs Amuse

The main attraction with Amuse is that their free plan allows you to keep 100% of your royalties. Now, you may be thinking to yourself that Amuse is clearly the better option… Right?


If you think RouteNote is slow, I wonder what you’ll think about Amuse’s free plan.

It’s been a while, but I remember correctly… It takes about 3-4 weeks to get your music into stores with Amuse’s free plan. Apparently their paid plan cuts that time in half, but that’s still much longer than my first release with RouteNote (about 9 days).

I also realized that it wasn’t possible to upload more than one release with Amuse’s free plan.

Since I only upload singles, that would mean I could only upload one single per month…

That may have changed since the last time I used it, but I immediately stopped using the service after finding out about that restriction. I was also not impressed with their customer support. It took over one month for them to respond to my email.

The service may be better if you’re paying, but I can’t confirm that.

Speaking of which, Amuse’s paid plan costs 59.99$ per year. That’s much more expensive than most music distributors, but I do prefer their pricing structure. The yearly fee includes unlimited releases, so it may be beneficial for artists who release often.

That being said, I prefer RouteNote over Amuse (especially if we’re comparing their free plans).

If you’re willing to pay, Amuse might be better for some, but I still prefer DistroKid.

Is RouteNote better than TuneCore?

Now, I don’t personally use TuneCore. The reason I felt compelled to include it is because it’s considered one of the “best” music distributors on the market. It’s used by major artists and labels, but is the price really worth it?

The pricing structure is slightly different than RouteNote’s, but it’s the same concept.

Instead of paying a one-time fee per release, TuneCore requires you to renew each release by paying the fee yearly. That being said, you’re not paying anything else with TuneCore unless you need any of their additional services.

The service is only as expensive as the amount of releases you have.

Here’s what it costs:

  • Per single (11.99$ per year)
  • Per album (35.99$ per year)

I personally don’t like TuneCore’s pricing. I also take into consideration that it doesn’t include any of their additional services. Don’t get me wrong, TuneCore is much better equipped than most music distributors, but you’re still going to be paying for that.

Here, you can get an idea:

  • Publishing (99.00$)
  • YouTube Monetization (12.00$)
  • Social Media Monetization (10.99$)

If you remember, RouteNote includes monetization on its FREE plan. In regards to publishing/administration, you could simply learn to do that yourself by reading some of the articles I’ve written on the subject (performance royalties/mechanical royalties).

So, I’d still choose RouteNote’s free plan over TuneCore.

If ever it ends up costing you more than the paid plan, you can simply upgrade and it’ll still cost you less than TuneCore. Is the service any better/worse though?

I’ve heard good/bad things from both so remember what I said at the beginning…


Is RouteNote the best music distribution service?

If you’ve learned one thing from reading my RouteNote music distribution review, I hope it’s that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. There are many different music distributors out there for all kinds of different artists.

That being said, who would benefit most from RouteNote?

If you’re just getting started or don’t necessarily have many listeners, I think RouteNote is the perfect place to get started with NO MONEY DOWN. Remember, if you’re not making any money yet, it’ll cost you 15% of nothing…

I’m not saying that to discourage you though, I’m saying it’s a good deal!

If ever you make more than 100$ per year from streaming, then you can think about upgrading.

Other than that, I’m still really impressed with some of the features RouteNote has to offer. It’s not restrictive to users of the free plan which is refreshing and it allows you to upload your music in lossless audio formats.

I can’t do that with DistroKid even though I’m paying for it!

However, I still see the value of potentially using more than one music distribution service. DistroKid is so affordable that I don’t even mind keeping it just for the sake of having the ability to get tracks distributed faster than anywhere else.

DistroKid and RouteNote work great together. I can vouch for that!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them down below. If you found the article useful, please consider signing up with my referral link for RouteNote. It may not seem like much, but everything goes towards supporting Decibel Peal and keeping it up and running!

Thanks for your time, now go get some music out into the world!

8 Responses

  1. Is DistroKid the winner on pricing? Hard disagree there. Lots of hidden fees.
    Shazam $0.99 per song per year, store maximiser (free with Routenote and I imagine some others) at $7.95 per album per year.
    The $19.99 deal is for a single artist. Terrible for labels. $80 as soon as you want a few artists. The $19.99 package doesn’t even let you customize your release date, you have to pay for a musican plus package for such a basic?. And they remove your content immediately if payment lapses? Did I get that right?

    1. Key Kick,

      I 100% agree with you on all of that, I talk about it in my DistroKid review (here).

      However, I still think DistroKid has its advantages for some. It just depends on whether or not you actually need any of that stuff to begin with.

      The worst part about DistroKid is the fact that they charge foreigners tax.

      I think RouteNote is much more reliable if you were expecting to make a living off music streaming.

      Thanks for your input. Take care!

      – Stefan

  2. If you start out with RouteNote’s free plan with a single song and that song performs really well, can you switch to the premium plan for that same song or is it only for other additional songs?

    1. Hello Josh,

      If ever you decide to go premium with RouteNote, all the tracks you currently have distributed with them will be upgraded as well.

      It’s the same with every music distribution service, so don’t worry about it!

      Just focus on getting your music out there, have fun.

      Let me know if have any other questions. Take care!

      – Stefan

      1. You can go premium on individual releases. So, if you have a single that’s doing really well, and three others that aren’t, you only need upgrade the one that’s doing well to premium. The others stay free.

        Also, if a song that was doing well suddenly dips, you can revert it to free again.

        1. Hey Matt!

          That’s interesting, I didn’t know that it was so easy and quick to switch back and forth.

          Thanks for your input, I’m sure others will find it helpful!

          – Stefan

  3. Ok so it seems to me that RouteNote would be a good option for the free plan but DistroKid is better for the paid plan. My question is can I switch from RouteNote to DistroKid and still keep all of my songs and profiles that are on the streaming services without losing any streams and still getting paid?

    1. Hey Plekto,

      That’s the way I see it. They both have pretty cool advanatages, so I personally went with both.

      To answer your question, YES. I actually wrote an entire article dedicated to answering that very same question (here it is).

      I highly recommend reading that since it details the entire process of switching music distributors without losing any streams/playlist placements. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave me another comment and I’ll get back to you.

      Thanks for dropping by. Take care!

      – Stefan

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