RouteNote and DistroKid: music distribution costs compared

There’s a lot of choice when it comes to getting your music online and it can be hard to decide who to go with. We’ve compared our free and Premium distribution with DistroKid to help you decide.

Yearly fee for full distribution of 5 singles by 1 artist

RouteNote Free: $0
RouteNote Premium: $50
DistroKid: $89.45

With RouteNote you can distribute your music for free and choose any and all of our partners including streaming services and download stores as well as services like Shazam and YouTube. You keep 85% of all the money you earn and have access to everything we offer, there are no paywalls for certain features.

For $9.99 a single you can keep 100% of everything you make from services. After a year we ask for $9.99 to keep it online or you can switch to free distribution. You can always switch between Free and Premium at any time simply by getting in touch.

DistroKid costs $20 for the year for 5 singles but for full distribution everywhere it costs a lot more. To match RouteNote’s distribution you’ll have to pay extra hidden costs:

Shazam & iPhone Siri: $0.99 per song/year
Make it easy for people to identify this single if they hear it playing on radio/tv, in stores, restaurants, parties, etc.

Store Maximizer: $7.95 per album/year
DistroKid will automatically deliver this single to new online stores and streaming services as we add them. Which is often. We’ll give you notice before adding.

YouTube Money: $4.95 per single/year, $14.95 per album/year, + 20% of YouTube ad revenue
Get notified & paid if your music is ever used in any YouTube videos. We’ll add this single to YouTube’s Content ID database, and continually scan for matches. When your music is detected in any YouTube video, you’ll be notified—and ad revenue will automatically go to you, instead of to the person who uploaded the video. Watch YouTube’s video explaining Content ID.

Leave a Legacy: $29.00 per single, $49.00 per album of 2+ tracks (nonrecurring fee)
DistroKid will never delete this single from stores due to a lapsed DistroKid membership, even if you die. You can always choose to delete it any time—or not. You will continue to accrue 100% of royalties, as normal, forever. Leave your legacy for future generations.

You can pay for a subscription each year or if you want each individual single to stay online forever regardless of subscription you have to pay legacy. Legacy costs you $145 for 5 singles!

If you’d like to find out more about what RouteNote offers feel free to get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

Troubleshooters: Album artwork

If your music is going onto streaming services and music stores you want to make sure your artwork is the best it can be.

You can upload your music onto the world’s biggest music streaming services and download stores for free with RouteNote. It makes it easy to share your music with your world, but there’s a few things you must consider with your album art.
First of you want to make sure your artwork is good quality so it reflects your music in the best way possible. This means it cannot be blurry, pixelated, misaligned, or have any other quality issues. Your art must be 1425 x 1425 pixels with a 72 DPI or higher.
Make sure you’re representing yourself. That means that if your artwork implies you are someone you’re not – for example putting Drake’s face as the cover – then it won’t be allowed. 
Whilst art is all about expression we can’t allow pornography as our partners won’t accept pornographic material. This applies even to URL links to porn websites.
We can’t allow references to physical packaging or retailers, such as the CD logo. This extends to any possible reference to a physical release like a price tag or ‘download free’ etc. Unless it is part of the artwork and not referencing a physical copy of your music.
You also can’t include the logos of streaming services or music stores. This applies to all copyrighted/trademarked material, so if you have an image that you don’t own in your artwork stores won’t allow it.

If you have any issues with your artwork you can get in touch at and our friendly support team will be happy to help you out.

RouteNote Troubleshooters: I want to change the audio on my release

My release has been approved and sent to stores and services but I want to change, add, or remove audio from it.

Once your release is love on your chosen music stores and streaming services you can edit the metadata, like track titles, artist name, artwork, etc. 
However, you cannot edit the audio on a release in any way as stores do not accept audio updates. To change the audio in your release you would need to re-create the release with the audio you wish to be on it. 
If you’d like to re-create your release and therefore need the existing release removed from stores and services then please get in touch at with your UPC.

If you have any further issues or questions then get in touch at and our friendly team will be happy to help you out.

RouteNote Troubleshooters: I need to change or update my release on stores

My music has already been accepted and uploaded to stores and streaming services but I need to make some changes. How can I update my release?

After your release has been accepted and we’ve sent it off to the stores you’ve chosen then you are still able to change the metadata. You can add or remove the stores that your release(s) are available on as well as editing your artwork, artist name, album titles, or making general metadata changes from your account.
To make these changes go to to your releases from your account at and select edit on the release you want to change. Once you have made the changes it will be sent to our team to make sure we can allow these changes and once approved will be sent to stores for update.
You can not change, add, or remove audio from your release.
Once your updates are approved it will take around 7-14 days to be applied to stores. If your update is denied you will receive a message stating why.

If you have any further concerns or issues please get in touch at and our dedicated support team will be happy to help.

Music Copyrights: What different music licenses mean

Music licenses can be a complex matter and there are a lot of different types available that are worth understanding to ensure your music is protected correctly and that all artists earn their royalties fairly. We break it down here to help you understand what each type of music license means.

Master Recording Licenses

A master recording license allows the license holder to use music from an artist or label that they don’t own. Master licenses must be obtained from the rights-holder of the recording which is usually the artist themselves or their record label.
This applies to all elements of a recording so whether you’re sampling a single part of a track or if you’re using the entire song for a compilation release you will need a master license.

Synchronisation Licenses

Sync licenses are granted to use the music in a video format. For example if you want to use a song in a scene in a movie then you will have to obtain a sync license from the rights-holder that allows you to literally ‘sync’ the song with your media.
Synchronisation licenses apply whenever you want to use music in a TV show, movie, video, commercial or any other form of video media that you want to use music with.

Mechanical Licenses

This license applies to the actual composition of a song, unlike a master recording license which applies to the actual audio recording of a song. Mechanical licenses are required to release the re-worked or re-recorded composition of a song.
The most common use of mechanical licenses are for the release of cover songs where the recording is your own but you have used someone else’s composition. For medley’s of multiple songs you would need to acquire a mechanical license for each individual song.

Performance Licenses

These are normally acquired by clubs, bars and businesses for the use of music in a public space. Performance licenses cover everything from bands playing covers live at a venue to shops playing the radio over speakers for their customers to listen to.
Often performance licenses are acquired in one bulk – known as a Blanket License – for a yearly fee from a performing rights agency like PRS, BMI, or ASCAP. These societies keep track of performances as best as possible and collect royalties from establishments to distribute it between rights-holders.

Other Licenses

There are two other main types of licenses for music that you can acquire. A Print License which gives permission for the lyrics or notes to be arranged in print form – such as a music notation less book or a lyrics collection. The final common music license is a Theatrical License which once gained gives the owner permission to use a copyrighted composition in a theatrical performance such as a play, musical, ballet, opera, etc.

RouteNote Troubleshooters: How long until my music will be on stores?

I’ve uploaded my music on the RouteNote website. How long will it take to get onto streaming services and music stores?

Once you’ve uploaded your music and created your release to send to us then our team will have a look over it to make sure that it’s all looking good to be sent to all of the stores and services you’ve selected around the world. It takes on average 48 hours for us to check over a release and ensure it’s ready to be taken online and we will send you an email letting you know whether your release has been accepted or if anything needs doing to it. You can also check the status of your release from your account at by heading to the ‘Your Account’ section and selecting ‘Discography’.
Once your release has been approved then we’ll send it off to all of the online stores and services you’ve selected. It’s then down to them to upload your music which takes up to 7 days for most major stores.  Some stores may take up to 28 days from approval to upload your music.

If it’s been over the allotted time or if you have any other concerns about your release(s) then please create a ticket from the website or send an email to and our dedicated support team will be able to help you with any issues.

RouteNote Troubleshooters: My audio won’t upload

I’m creating my release but my audio won’t upload when I select it from my computer.

If you are having issues uploading your audio to your release first of all you should try clearing the cache in your web browser. Clearing the cache often solves technical issues with the site. Once your cache is cleared make sure to accept the RouteNote website’s cookies.
If this doesn’t help at all try to sign in and upload again in a private or incognito window. If this works then the issue is within your browser and you may need to try clearing your cache and cookies again.
You will need to remove all of the metadata, including the artwork, that is attached to your audio file(s) if there is any. If you are on PC there is a guide on how to do this here. If you are on a Mac then you can use an app called Tag Stripper to remove your metadata.
You can also try running your audio file(s) through ID3 remover to remove metadata that might be getting in the way of your upload.

If you’re still having issues our friendly support team will be happy to help you out so just send them a message at

RouteNote Troubleshooters: I haven’t been paid yet

It’s the 15th of the month and I haven’t received my earnings for my music yet. Is there a problem?

We upload your statistics and distribute your earnings from all the stores and services where you have put your music 45 days after the end of each month. So for example any money your music earns in September you will receive on November the 15th and not before.
Sometimes this can be delayed for a number of reasons until the 20th of a month, so if you haven’t received them on the 15th they may still be on the way! Whilst we will upload your statistics for you to look over no matter what, we won’t send your earnings until you reach our $50 threshold. This is to reduce the charges that PayPal takes and ensure you make the most out of your earnings.
You must have added a valid PayPal email address to your account on for us to be able to send the money to you.

If you still haven’t received your earnings after the 20th and you have reached the $50 threshold please create a ticket or send an email to and our team will ensure that you receive your money.

RouteNote Troubleshooters: My release isn’t in my discography

I uploaded a release on my RouteNote account but when I go to my releases it isn’t there. Where has it gone?

If you can’t find your release in your discography section then don’t worry, it hasn’t disappeared from our system! When you head to your discography section on your RouteNote Account you can view any releases you have created and released.
Your release will be under ‘Free Distribution’ or ‘Premium Distribution’ depending on which model you have chosen to release your music by. Once you click on either of these you will need to select from the ‘Album’, ‘Single’, ‘EP’, or ‘EXTD’ sections depending on what kind of release you uploaded to find yours.
From there you can find your UPC number, edit the details of your release, upgrade to Premium if you uploaded for free, and also check the status of your release. Your status will tell you whether your release is waiting to be moderated, needs action done to it, or if it has been approved and sent to stores.
If you still can’t find your release then check the Unfinished Releases section where releases that haven’t been completed for moderation are stored.

If you’re still having issues our friendly support team will be happy to help you out so just send them a message at