Sample Knowledge Database

who sampledDoes it bug you when you can’t figure out where the catchy sample in that new track came from? Fret no longer, gentle reader – a quick visit to will wipe away those tip-of-the-tongue blues. The site is a repository of information about who an artist has sampled and who has sampled them, with user submitted lists that are already pretty comprehensive given that the site was launched less than a year ago. Checking out who your favourite artists have sampled is also a great way to be introduced to the music that influenced them and to find other artists you might like in the process. Dr. Dre’s sample list, for example is a wealth of more or less obscure funk and soul masterpieces – another way of discovering new music to listen to and of wasting half an hour on a Sunday before the pubs open.

Simon Cowell’s Christmas No.1(s)

Christmas CowellChristmas looms, and with it the prospect of a new X-Factor winner’s Christmas No.1 – and as we reported Susan Boyle’s recently released album has broken sales records all over the place, selling 411,820 copies in the first 3 days, beating the combined sales total of the rest fo the top 5, and dragon-punching Leona Lewis from the top spot all the way down to 5th place in the UK charts. The big prize is the top slot in the USA charts, and given the amount of hype surrounding the impending American release, it seems like a safe bet that Susan will knock Jay-Z off the podium in time for the stockings to go up over the fireplace.

If we do get another number one single from the upcoming X-Factor winner, then the high-waisted hero of Sony’s catalogue will have guided not one but two artists to the number one spot; even though Susan dropped out of the X-Factor competition, she still signed a contract with Simon’s record label. If he can just face down the chagrin of knocking off a charity single (Children in Need currently have the number one single) then Mr. C will have a lot to laugh about this Christmas. If you want to keep updated on how sales are going in the USA this Winterval, here’s a link to some live stats:

WMG’s 10K Filing

Warner Music Group just posted their Annual 10K with the SEC (click on the thumbnails to enlarge). Revenues are down, and the company has posted a -$77 million dollar loss for the year: double what they lost last year (-$35 million), but better than they did in ’05 (-$110 million). They’ve managed to shave 5% off their administrative costs, and there’s a marked increase in their digital revenues, up from $599MM to $656MM, which nevertheless fails to cover the drop in lost physical sales. Really it’s the same story we’ve been hearing from the majors for the last few years – the focus is gradually shifting across to digital music, and physical revenues are dwindling away, meaning that the big 4 are making less money and having to downsize their infrastructure. I’m absolutely convinced that after a period of shrinking like this, the big guys will return to profitability, and the quicker they shift their focus across to maximising digital and live revenues, the quicker this will happen.

wmg top line

WMG 10K revenue

Upload Tool Launched!

We’ve just launched our new upload tool, designed to make adding your music to our service quick and straightforward. You’ll need to sign in to your RouteNote account, and then you’ll find a link to download the new tool on the ‘Upload’ page. The program is available for all operating systems, and will install onto your desktop. From there you can add in all the music and image files, as well as the metadata (track, artist and album information) necessary to put an upload together. The program will then let you know about any errors in file format or album info before you send it to us, so you won’t need to wait for our admin dept. to get back to you with any issues, you can save the data entry process at any point before you send it, so that you can come back to a session later, without the risk of losing your progress, and uploads can be queued and sent while you’re not using the computer for other stuff online. Using the upload tool means that won’t lose your progress if the computer crashes during the upload, you can just restart the process once you’re up again. We’ve also streamlined the data entry process so that you don’t need to put the same information in multiple times for multiple tracks, releases are grouped by album, so the program knows which track is attached to which release.

We’ve put the tool together to make things easier and quicker for you while uploading, and to try and eliminate common errors from the upload process, and we hope that you think we’ve succeeded. Any feedback or comments on the tool once you’ve had a go at using it would be very welcome. You can comment on this post, or send email to

Playlist Page

Digital Music Distributors Compared (again)

It’s been a while since we last ran through the comparison between our digital distribution service and those of our competitors. Let’s open with a table looking at the USD$ price of signing up various types of release to a few of the major digital distributors out there on the net, which we’ll follow with links to the information pages from which these figures were derived, and a brief look at the pros and cons of each service. [A UPC is a barcode, necessary for most online stores to identify your release as a unique product.]

Signup Fee – All stores – 1yr


Sales Percentage



EP (5 Track)

Album (15 Track)

CD Baby






























The Gene Pool












CD Baby – First thing to note is that signing up to CD Baby’s digital service means you also have to sign up to their physical program, and send them at least 5 physical CD’s (click and see step 2 of this page). [You can get physical distribution through RouteNote via Amazon’s on demand service] On top of the signup fee, you’ll also need to pay them $20 to set up a UPC for you [we do this for free], then they’ll take 9% of the revenue that comes back from their online retail partners [slightly less than our 10%, but we’re not charging you any upfront fees]. Their signup fee is a flat, per release deal, although they say that single pricing is “coming soon”. (DMD)This deal information document makes us feel very nervous. The company doesn’t seem to have seen fit to run their deal memo through a spellchecker, so it seems unlikely they will have run it past a lawyer. Their flat fee service involves you paying £100 [!] upfront for a 6 month release, after which your music will be removed from any services they uploaded it to, so our table has them in for double to make up the year. It gets even more worrying – they ask that you send the money directly to them by PayPal with a payment tag attached explaining what you want to buy from them, and then they’ll contact you… I’m sure you can email them first and open a dialogue, but I’d need some pretty serious assurance that my money was safe before I sent it. This can’t ever be an issue with us, as money only ever flows one way. From us, to you.

Emubands – UK based, with a flat fee up front model, their lack of an annual subscription fee makes them the most efficient of our competitors, but their admin process is offline; meaning you have to send them a CD and a cheque and co-ordinate the upload and distribution remotely. With us, you can do it all from your computer, and monitor your release, your sales data, and what payments are owed at any time. You’d also have to make more than $1,400 worth of sales through iTunes before you had spent the equivalent of an album’s sign up fee with Emubands on our back end percentage (a dollar on iTunes means about 58c in your pocket with us).

Musicadium – Musicadium have a flat fee system, outlined in this document [pg.4] and based on how many stores you want your music to end up in, rather than how many tracks your release is. You have to pay Aussie sales tax on their fees, which you can claim back from the Australian government if you send them the receipt, and they have a AUD$20 annual renewal fee on top of this, if you want to stay with them after the 1st year.

RouteNote – This is us. We don’t charge you anything for uploading, subscription, hosting or anything else. We just take a straightforward 10% from the retail revenue of your tracks. This means that we want you to succeed, and we don’t ask you to pay us for the privilege of being a part of your success. If you’re selling millions of dollars worth of music, then you aren’t going to sign up with us, as the 10% gets big, but then, you’re probably signed to one of the big 4 anyway, and things get a lot more complicated in that case. We’re here for independent artists looking to self-release music without having to cross someone’s palm with silver to get their music up online – hopefully this is you!

The Gene Pool – Charge exactly the same back end rate as we do, but with an added fee on top, and distributing to less stores. This should be an easy decision for you to make.

Tunecore – They have headline package prices for singles and albums, but once you start getting into the nitty gritty of their pricing, things get a bit more expensive. The numbers above are based on their $0.99 per upload per track to a release, and then $0.99 per online store you want that release to go into. They also make a $19.98 a year maintenance charge per release, so your costs can start adding up once you’ve got a few different releases online.

A lot of these stores cry up the huge number of retail partners that they’ve got, but a lot of these are duplications, counting the iTunes stores in different territories as separate entities, that kind of thing. We try and keep it simpler than that, deal with the major retailers, and only count them all once. It is important to keep in mind just how small a share of the market the minority stores have; iTunes represented about 88% of the American market way back in ’06 and has been growing since; we’ve done more analysis of their market share in this previous post. This means that once you get past the top 3 retailers, the additional revenue streams from the rest of the market are comparatively very small.

There are a few other distribution houses out there that don’t deign to put their deals out on the net for people to see – if you’ve got experience of working with The Orchard, Ingrooves, IODA or anyone else and would like to contribute to this discussion, please comment and let us know what you think of their services. You can also check out our previous post comparing digital distribution services that goes through some different scenarios to this one – read it by clicking here.

[EDIT: – I neglected to mention Zimbalam, another of our competitors based in France. They have a slightly bigger store list than us, take the same back end percentage (10%) and charge a £20 fee for singles, £30 for albums)]

Celebrity Death Match – Fans Punching Stars Punching Fans

Just a little fun here: videos of musicians and other celebrities not taking the Trent Reznor/Lady Gaga approved route, and engaging with their fans in some very negative ways.

Amy Winehouse not only gobbed into the crowd at the Eden sessions, but actually reached out and thumped someone in the crowd at Glastonbury in 2008.

Akon invites a kid who threw a bottle at him to step up on stage, then proceeds to throw him bodily into the crowd.

A 47 year old Canadian man runs up and pushes a 41 year old English man over at a festival in Toronto. Cut to 1:30 if you’ve heard the song before.

But it’s not just flighty, feisty, musicians; other professionals aren’t above violence: The George W. Bush ‘Shoe Incident’: a journalist angry about the foreign invasion of his country and the subsequent deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis chooses to express his disgust by throwing a shoe. Like GWB and the WMD, he can’t find his target.

The politicians get their own back, usually via the taxman and lying about their expenses, but here John Prescott (deputy Prime Minister at the time) takes a more direct approach when he is egged hard at point blank range by a protester, and very sensibly reacts by punching said protester in the face. The sad schoolyard scuffle that ensues does little to enhance either his reputation or that of his bodyguards. Surely some sunglassed MI5 suit should have Vulcan-nerve-pinched him quietly to the ground. Arnie handled it a lot better.

If you fancy getting in on a little of the celebrity-scrapping action you can click here to punch Kanye West repeatedly in the face. Just don’t be surprised when Lady Gaga knocks you out in the 1st round.

Useful Spotify Add-Ons

spotifyMusic Ally is usually a mine of information, and they’ve just published a neat little top-ten list of spin off sites that link into Spotify and help you discover music, explore other people’s collections and playlists, and all of which provide channels through which you can promote your music to people once you’ve got your music on Spotify by using our free-to-sign-up digital music distribution service 🙂

Support Snow Patrol In Manchester

vs cancerWe saw this opportunity flagged up on the net, and thought some of our lovely users might want a chance to support Snow Patrol and the Happy Mondays at the Versus Cancer gig at the Manchester Evening News Arena on Dec 12th (it’s ok, it’s a Saturday, you can make it…). You’ve got to be quick though – entries close on the 30th of November.

To be in with a chance of winning, bands need to submit a demo to us which will then be judged by a panel of top music pundits.

If you’re interested in taking part, all you need to do is to send an mp3 (or myspace link), full contact details and a brief biog of your band to

Snow Patrol
Happy Mondays
Tim Booth, Jim Glennie, Larry Gott (James)
Andy Rourke (The Smiths)
Peter Hook (Joy Division / New Order)
With the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra & Joe Duddell

Alternatively, if you’d rather just go to the gig, tickets are priced from £32.50 to £40 (subject to booking fee) and are available from TicketmasterSee Tickets and Ticketline.

Win A Year’s Free Distribution With RouteNote

RouteNoteIn order to encourage people to get their music online with us, and introduce new potential customers to our service, we thought we’d run a little competition. If you’re a solo musician or you’re in a band that has new music that needs to get out there and selling, all you need to do is add a comment to this blog post with the name of the band or artist and a link to the track that you think is their (or your) best. We’ll keep entries open until the 14th of December, and then we’ll judge all the tracks that have been entered. The top 3 according to our judges will be given completely free distribution to all of our partners stores during 2010 on any new releases they upload to RouteNote. No fees, no subscriptions, no back end cut, no strings – just access to our service completely free until 2011. The top 5 will get a feature and review on our blog, and we’re promoting this competition in collaboration with, so you can expect to get their attention too. This competition is open only to artists and bands and music not already signed up to RouteNote.

Thanks, and good luck!