DistroKid’s offering of unlimited uploads for $22.99 per year may on the surface seem a good deal, but this misses many key details.

DistroKid are a music distributor that can help upload your music to streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, TIDAL, TikTok and YouTube Music. Their home page lists many features such as split royalties between different artists, distribution of cover songs, getting paid when your music is used in YouTube videos with Content ID, a verified checkmark and customisation of your Spotify and Apple Music artist pages, credits and lyrics on stores, getting a YouTube Official Artist Channel, and pre-saves on Spotify.

Many of these additional features require extra fees or recurring payments. At RouteNote we believe all users should get access to the same stores and powerful tools, with a free option for artists and managers looking to launch their online music career. RouteNote offer all of the above stores and features, plus many more, to all artists and labels for free.

DistoKid requires $22.99 annually to create an account. The home page states the following: “Pay only $22.99 to upload unlimited albums & songs for a year” however this is misleading. Musician accounts start at $22.99 per year, however alongside lacking many basic features, this limits the user to only 1 artist or band name.

At $39.99 per year, Musician Plus accounts will give you 2 artist or band names. This additional cost is also required to unlock features such as synced lyrics for Instagram, customizable label name, customizable release date, customizable preorder date and customizable iTunes pricing, all of which and more RouteNote offer to all users for free.

Label accounts start at a whopping $89.99 per year. This tier lists “5 to 100 artists or bands” but again, this is misleading. A dive into the FAQs shows 5 artists costs $89.99 per year, however if you need to upload more artists (which almost all label managers would), you’re looking at eye-watering amounts:

  • Label 5: 5 bands/artists, $89.99/year
  • Label 10: 10 bands/artists, $157.99/year
  • Label 20: 20 bands/artists, $269.99/year
  • Label 50: 50 bands/artists, $674.99/year
  • Label 100: 100 bands/artists, $1349.99/year

With RouteNote, artists and labels can upload as many songs and albums under as many different artist names as they like, for free. For label managers just starting out or those with hundreds of artists, RouteNote doesn’t cost a penny.

With no free tier or free trial, only by subscribing to DistroKid or hunting through the FAQs will you see the “Album Extras” (hidden fees). These include the likes of:

  • Shazam & iPhone Siri: $0.99 per song/year – so people can identify your song via the app
  • Store Maximizer: $7.95 per album/year – sending your music to new stores and streaming services as they are added
  • YouTube Content ID: $4.95 per single/year, $14.95 per album/year, + 20% of YouTube ad revenue – to earn revenue when your song is used on YouTube
  • Leave a Legacy: $29.00 per single, $49.00 per album of 2+ tracks (nonrecurring fee) – to keep your music up due to a lapsed membership payment

With each of these charging a fee per release, it becomes quickly unsustainable for many label managers with large catalogues. All of these extras, RouteNote offer to all for free.

RouteNote distribute to many stores, streaming services and social media platforms that are missing from DistroKid’s partners, such as SoundCloud, eMusic, Nuuday, AWA, Kuack, Qobuz, 7digital, Gracenote, as well as services across Asia where music streaming is rapidly expanding, like Kanjian (with 38 partners), Melon, Bugs! and YG Entertainment/NAVER VIBE.

Find the full comparison between RouteNote and DistroKid here.

Click here to find out how to switch to RouteNote from DistroKid.

Check out our guide for indie record labels.