There are a lot of tools out there for indie artists, especially musicians, to break into the biz without waiting for a traditional label to find and adopt them. Worldwide sales of unaffiliated artists are rising steadily as fans become more savvy about finding their favorites and are less likely to visit the big-box music store to find their tunes.
RouteNote is one of those distribution services catering to independent artists and bands. Unlike it’s competition, like Audiolife and CD Baby, though, RouteNote is free to use with no up-front costs. Instead, RouteNote only takes a cut of the sales (about 10%, which is extremely reasonable). By contrast, about ten years ago a friend of mine ran an independent artist portal and sold CDs and downloads for his clients. He paid 10% on every sale to the artist. Quite the switch.
RouteNote is easy to use and one artist, on his blog, wrote that it was dramatically faster in distributing his songs to iTunes than any other he’d used before. In fact, the artist (Chris Bestwick) reports that he had a problem with one of his song uploads and the RouteNote staff was extremely fast and helpful getting it fixed.
Since iTunes is important to the indie artist because it accounts for over 80% of online music sales today, it’s the one most services like RouteNote focus on. RouteNote also distributes to Amazon.com and several other sites as well, though, making it a larger distributor than some of its similar competition.
Of course, RouteNotes is not a full recording label or distributor and so it can’t be compared to sites like The Orchard, which also offer marketing, licensing, and other media like video. For the new and independent artist, however, RouteNotes is definitely a top pick on the list of who to use.
The site itself is clean and fairly straight forward to use. RouteNote is UK-based and still in beta, though probably not for much longer. Since RouteNote charges nothing until you’ve made a sale, there’s not much to lose by trying the service.