Music distribution for independent labels explained

2021 is the era of the independent record label, and it’s never been easier to distribute music for free.

All hail the indie label. The independent music revolution continues, rejecting the need for artists to sign with a big money-sucking record label. It’s changed the way that the music business is structured, removing the major label gatekeepers.

Take Spotify, for example. Their latest figures show the percentage of streams dominated by major record labels shrank from 70.3% to 68.9% between 2019 and 2020. And who rose up? Independent labels and artists, growing their share from 29.7% to 31.1%. That’s quite a jump in just a year when you consider the stranglehold major labels have traditionally had over the industry.

music streaming independent share spotify
Image Credit: MIDiA Research

There’s never been a better time to be independent. But don’t you need to be a big label to get your artist’s music across streaming platforms?

Music distribution is a simple way for independent labels to reach listeners across streaming services. It’s an essential part of a label’s setup. At RouteNote we offer unlimited distribution, which makes us a great choice for independent labels especially as we offer it for free. Artists keep 85% of their earnings, and for established indie labels Premium Distribution is our free tier with bells on. For a small upfront cost, artists keep 100% of money made from streams and downloads.

We’re an independent company with backing indie artists and labels at the heart of what we do, with no hidden fees lurking in the small print, or backyard deals with big labels happening behind the scenes. Useful tools like Revenue Sharing system takes the admin headaches out of revenue splitting – all automated, letting labels pay out percentages to multiple artists as soon as payments roll out each month.

Benefits of distributing through RouteNote include:
  • Free distribution to the top stores and streamers
  • Keep 85% of all profits (100% using our Premium tier)
  • Keep 100% of the rights to your music
  • Earn extra through our referral system
  • Take your pick of whichever stores and streaming services you’d like to distribute to
  • Opt-out anytime – No commitments; leave, change your account, manage the stores you’re on anytime
  • Free UPCs/EANs and ISRCs for releases
  • Join our SoundCloud and YouTube Networks free

Completely transparent and avoiding hard-to-escape contracts, distribution plans at RouteNote are the most competitive on the market, offering unlimited distribution for independent labels. More and more artists are realising there’s little need to chase major label success only to get twisted up in constricting contracts.

Artists are taking control of their own destinies like never before. Explore all the options for music distribution for independent labels through RouteNote here.

How To Distribute Content ID For Free

Image credit: RouteNote

With Content ID on YouTube and Facebook, anytime your music is used in videos we’ll be able to ensure you are earning your rightful revenues from it.. for FREE.

With us, at RouteNote you can distribute your music to all the top streaming services in the world including, Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon, TIDAL, Deezer, Apple Music, MelOn, Tencent, and many many more. This is a service that is completely free!

In addition to this, we also provide protection and monetization for your music when it’s used by other people. Content ID on YouTube and Facebook ensures that any time your music is used we can ensure you are earning your rightful revenues from it. 

Before we talk about how our service works it’s best to know and understand what and how Content ID works for both Facebook and YouTube. 

What is Content ID and how does it work? 

Content ID is an automated system that works on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. It ensures that the rights of musicians and creators are protected. It identifies where and when your music has been used, whether a short snippet to the full thing. Once identified there are a number of options, you can block it, track it, or claim its monetization. The last option is the most commonly used as it means the original creator of the music can be paid correctly for their work. 

However, to be eligible for the Content ID you must own exclusive rights to the music you’ve created. 

Learn more here:

How Does RouteNote Help With Content ID? 

It’s very simple! All you have to do is upload your music to Content ID with us we collect earnings every time someone uses your music, give you monthly statistics and give you 85% of your earnings all for free! This covers usage on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. What’s more, is that if your video is earning more than you thought you can upgrade to premium and keep 100% of the money your music makes. 

So, when you upload your music to RouteNote, simply click on the YouTube and Facebook buttons and we’ll do the rest. 

Learn more here:

How to get music distribution for free

RouteNote simplifies the experience of getting your music on to online music stores and streaming services around the world.

Getting a music distribution deal used to mean standing out from the crowd, signing away the control to your music and retaining the smallest percentage cut from a major record label. For over ten years, RouteNote have been at the forefront of music distribution, providing all artists and labels a free and easy way to publish their music online. We publish to all major stores and streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon Music, Deezer, TIDAL and many more, as well as monetization on a handful of social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and SoundCloud.

When you choose RouteNote as your distribution partner, the process couldn’t be easier. Sign up to RouteNote, send over your tracks, choose the services to send your music to, then choose Free Distribution or Premium Distribution. Free Distribution is entirely free, while you keep 85% of the revenue generated. Premium Distribution costs a small fee, while you keep 100% of the revenue generated. Your music will be sent to our moderation team, who will look over the release, then sent to our partner stores within days.

Features and services between Free and Premium are exactly the same. You always retain 100% of the rights to your music. Statistics and earnings are paid into your account monthly.

That’s the easy bit out of the way, now on to navigating the complicated world of music marketing, right? Our partner site can take care of this for you, with three simple and free campaign tools. Fan Links makes sharing all of the different stores, streaming services and social media pages that host your music easy, with one customisable landing page. With Pre-save you can send out links to your new music prior to release day, improving engagement. Content Unlock enable you to reward fans for taking social actions, such as a coupon code in exchange for a follow across socials.

What are you waiting for? Sign up to RouteNote and get distributing today.

How can musicians and producers tell when their track is finished?

Image Credit: Soundtrap

Struggling to step away and finish your mix when producing and songwriting? Spot the signs that your track is done.

Deciding when a song is finished is one of the hardest parts of producing and songwriting. The temptation is strong to keep sitting at the DAW, mixing away, tweaking and making tiny changes, trying to make the track perfect.

Often the ideas and loops come easy, but it’s completing a track that’s the hard part. So how do you know when the track is done? What helps you get there, short of getting someone to gently take your hands and prise them from the keyboard?

Here are a few signs to look out for, as well as some strategies to help musicians and producers finish a song and walk away victoriously.

Critical listening

Listen to the song multiple times with your DAW hidden, a pen and paper to hand. Jot down anything that you don’t like in the track and anything that you think is missing. Is it interesting enough? If you don’t know what else you can do with it, congratulations, your production is done.

Get someone you trust to listen to your track too. Someone impartial – not your best mate, unless they can listen with a critical ear and point out where the vocal needs to come up in the mix. Sometimes you need someone else to say: “Yes, it’s finished!”

Pressure is good

Set yourself goals. Decide how many tracks you want to produce in a month and try and stick to it. Try working towards a release date, knowing that if you miss it you’ll let down the fans waiting to hear your music. You might find you flourish best under a deadline, and you’ll be forced to draw a line under the track and step away without dragging the process out.

Sometimes you’ve just got to let go

Most music producers believe that a song will never really be finished. There’s infinite options for every track; always a new plugin to try out. If you’ve spent days tinkering away at the track and it doesn’t sound that different, you’re probably procrastinating without much effect. It’s time to be brave and step away from the mix.

Struggling to make a full song?

If you’re used to just making loops, you might not be used to arranging those elements into a structure to make them a full, complete song. Try stopping at three core loop ideas and then turning your attention to arranging them in a linear fashion.

Thinking of the track as a journey with signposts along the way might help you to have the confidence to declare the song finished. You’re following a map, made up of breaks and drops if you’re producing, verse and choruses if you’re songwriting.

Image Credit: Matt Duncan

Finishing a song is a feeling

When a song is ready, some musicians can intrinsically tell. Some producers would say a song is a piece of art that will keep growing and evolving with time and depending who is listening to it.

Lay down fewer but better tracks

Try focusing on making fewer parts and making them as good as you can, rather than endlessly adding instruments and samples to your mix. A full song doesn’t necessarily need a lot of tracks to sound great.

Listen with fresh ears

Ear fatigue is a thing. Put the song away for a couple of days. When you come back and listen again, the bits you were unsure about might have been minor irritations that now sound fine in the overall production. If you still love it, then chances are your track is ready.

Believe in your work

Self-belief is a huge part of being a musician. Try and think of a finished song as an opportunity. If you don’t finish the song, you’ll never perform it at gigs, never send it out to music streaming platforms, and you’ll never know if it’s a hit.

Enjoy the learning curve of the process and be proud that you’ve taught yourself the discipline to complete a track. But equally don’t stress too much about not finishing every song you start. You might find that the ideas you’d had and tricks you’ve learnt will come back and be useful later in future music-making – you’ve sharpened your producing skills without even knowing it.

What mental and organisational strategies have you found that might help musicians and producers close the DAW and declare a track finished?

Once you decide that your song is finally finished, it’s time to let everyone hear it. With RouteNote you can publish your track to all major online stores and streaming services, easily and for free. Learn more here.

How to distribute music independently for free

Going at it alone in the music scene may seem a daunting task, but RouteNote simplifies the distribution and marketing side.

Navigating the modern, streaming-first music industry needn’t be a difficult process. Distribute your music to RouteNote for free publishing to all major online stores and streaming services, as well as monetization options on social media platforms.

All you need to do is sign up to RouteNote, send over your audio files, pick the services you want to distribute to such as Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, TIDAL, Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, TikTok and many more, then choose between Free Distribution and Premium Distribution. RouteNote’s Free Distribution is free of all costs, while artists keep 85% of the revenue. Premium Distribution costs a small fee for 100% of the revenue. Our moderation team will take a listen to your tracks and send over the music to our partner stores as soon as possible.

Now your music is on all of the top stores and streaming services, the next challenge facing independent artists is promotion. Marketing music online is free and easy when you use our partner site PUSH have three unique tools to help artists boost their following. Fan Links collate all of the stores, streaming services and social media platforms that host your music onto one customizable landing page. Pre-saves let you send out links to your music prior to release day, increasing early engagement and day-one listeners. Content Unlocks rewards your fans for taking social actions, such as a free download in exchange for a follow on socials.

What are you waiting for? Head on over to RouteNote today to get started.

Get three months of Deezer Premium, HiFi or Family for free

Deezer up their one month free trial, to three months for all tiers – Deezer Premium, Deezer HiFi or Deezer Family.

Deezer Premium, HiFi and Family subscriptions are usually free for the first month. Deezer now offer three months for free on all tiers. It’s unclear whether this is a new normal or special offer. Either way, if you’ve been eyeing up a Deezer subscription, now is a great time to jump in.

Deezer Free offers ad-supported access to their full catalogue of over 73 million tracks, recently announced as up 17 million new tracks. This puts the French streaming service up there with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and TIDAL. Deezer Free is limited to shuffle mode only, with a limited number of skips. For $9.99 per month, Deezer Premium gets ad-free access to the same tracks, with unlimited skips and offline mode. Deezer HiFi subscriptions cost $14.99 per month, with all the same benefits as Premium, plus 70 million hi-fi FLAC files in 16-bit, 1,411kbps, lossless CD quality. Deezer Family subscriptions also cost $14.99 per month, but instead of hi-fi music, you’ll get 6 individual Premium accounts to share with the whole family.

Sign up to Deezer here.

Send your own music to Deezer in HiFi quality with free FLAC uploads.

How to stream music on Spotify at maximum quality

Image Credit: Spotify

By default, Spotify Free and Premium subscribers aren’t getting the best sound quality possible from their music.

Last week saw a lot of buzz around Spotify’s lossless, CD-quality music streaming tier – Spotify HiFi, but did you know that by default, Spotify Free and Premium listeners aren’t getting the best out of Spotify’s audio quality? By default, for both Free and Premium users, Spotify’s app on desktop, mobile and tablet are set to Automatic for streaming, and Normal for downloads. Automatic varies the quality based on your network connection speed.

Spotify Free ranges from 24kbit/s at Low quality, up to 160kbit/s at High quality. Spotify Premium has an extra Very high option, that reaches 320kbit/s. On Spotify’s mobile app, there are options to switch quality for WiFi streaming, Cellular streaming and Download, so you can ensure you’re not going over your data limit or using too much storage. Spotify’s web player cannot be changed and is set at 128kbit/s for Free users and 256kbit/s for Premium users, so always use the app if you’re after the best quality audio available.

Note, higher audio quality will use more data when streaming on cellular and more storage when downloading music for offline playback.

To change the audio quality on Spotify:
Mobile and tablet app
  • Open the app
  • From the Home panel, tap the setting cog in the upper right corner
  • Tap Audio Quality
  • Choose Very High for each option for maxmium quality all of the time

Desktop app
  • Open the app
  • Click the arrow to the right of your name in the upper right corner
  • Select Setting from the drop down
  • Under Music QualityStreaming quality, click the drop down and select Very High for the best audio quality

How much will/should Spotify HiFi cost?

Join RouteNote for a Q&A with our Artist Services and Publishing team – 03/03/21

Join on us Instagram this Wednesday for a live Q&A with Ed and Joe to ask any questions you might have about our close work with artists and how we handle publishing.

Two of the RouteNote team will be taking to our Instagram this Wednesday to answer more of your burning questions. This week you’ll be joined by Ed from our Artist Services team who also leads RouteNote Sessions and Joe our head of Publishing.

The two will be available to answer your questions at 2:30pm GMT | 9:30am EST this Wednesday, March 3rd. Ask about anything you’ve ever wondered about how our Artist Services team works closely with many of our artists and labels, how our Publishing team covers mechanical licenses, facts and stories about our live sessions, and anything else you’d like to know.

Be sure to head to our Instagram page this Wednesday and give us a follow to ask your questions and see what Ed and Joe have to say.

6 tips to get a wide mix in music producing

Image Credit: 453169 

No more weedy mixes. Check out these techniques to add width to your music.

Feel like your track is missing something? Lacking a certain lushness? It could need a bit of width. A wide mix creates drama and an epic, immersive experience for the listener.

Achieving width in your music is a game of contrasts. Your ears will perceive the difference between sounds as if they were physically further apart. Abolish thin weedy mixes and open up your sound as you produce by widening the stereo field, to fatten up your track.

Try out these suggestions and see if you notice the difference in your music producing.

Panning is your pal

Try panning elements to the hard left, centre and hard right and listen to the difference as the sound is opened up. Bridge the gaps and place some instruments half-way, as panning all of them to the far edges can create a muddier sound, so always make sure you’re trusting your ears above all else.

Check out more panning tips here.

Be generous with effects

Chorus, flanger, delay and reverb can all have a widening impact. A little can go a long way, barely noticeable in individual sounds but making a subtle difference to the whole. Reverb for example is designed to make signals sound like they’re bouncing around deep in a three-dimensional space, not just recorded in a stuffy box.

…Or show favouritism to one sound

Choosing just one sound in your mix and adding effects can give the impression of the whole mix being processed. Try selecting one element of your mix to add reverb to. Using delay in the same way is the same concept. You can also apply both effects at the same time.

Double trouble with double tracking

If you’re recording live instruments, try double tracking for a wider sound. Record a second version of your instrumental audio track. There’ll always be natural differences even though it’s the exact same instrument, player and notes. Now give hard panning a go, whacking one track to the far left and the other to the far right. You can process each track slightly differently, too, adding effects. See how it opens up the sound.

Beware of losing punch

Adding effects such as chorus will give a soaring feel, but you might well lose a bit of attack in a sound. Be mindful of the balancing act between seeking a wider stereo field and keeping clarity in each sound. Don’t neglect individual elements.

Don’t forget about separation

Create separation within a bus by boosting and cutting EQ. For example in backing vocals, boosting signals that are panned to one side, and then cutting on those panned to the opposite side. A subtle difference in the frequency curve between the left and right ears creates a widening effect.

Always check your mix in mono after applying effects to widen the stereo field, to make sure they haven’t messed with the sound quality, and that instruments haven’t dropped out entirely.

Every producer has their own techniques, tips and tricks to add width to a mix. There’s no one solution. Try out different ways and see if you notice your track sounding wider, bigger and better.

Can’t wait for everyone to hear your incredible track? Get your music on all the major streaming services and start earning money from your producing, without it costing you a penny. Sign up with RouteNote here for FREE.

How to distribute music for free

Many artists and labels are unaware that music distribution isn’t always expensive. In fact when you publish your music through RouteNote you don’t need to pay a penny to get your music on all top stores and streaming services.

RouteNote specialise in free music publishing and marketing tools to help all independent artists and labels generate revenue online. As music consumption continues to be driven by music streaming, getting your music online is increasingly important. At RouteNote, we make this as easy as possible for you.

Simply upload your tracks to RouteNote and choose the services you want to see your music on. RouteNote distributes music to all of the top stores and streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, TIDAL and many more. We also offer social media monetization tools on platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud and TikTok. Finally select Free or Premium Distribution. Free Distribution costs absolutely nothing, while artists keep 85% of the revenue generated. Premium Distribution costs a small fee, while artists keep 100% of the revenue generated. Once our moderation team check and approve your release, we’ll send it on to our partner stores right away, who will get the music published within a few days.

Now your music is on stores and streaming services, it’s ready to start generating revenue. RouteNote’s partner site help get the ball rolling with three unique campaign tools. These include Fan Links – helping you promote multiple links with one customisable landing page, Pre-save – letting your share streaming links prior to release, and Content Unlocks – allowing you to reward fans for social actions. All three tools are free for all artists.

Head to RouteNote today to get started distributing.