RouteNote is a music distribution startup in the UK which offers unsigned or independent artists from anywhere the ability to get their music distributed to a bunch of online stores. Artists upload tracks to the RouteNote catalogue and select partnered retail outlets that they wish their music to be available through (e.g. Napster, Snocap, Samsung Mobile). There are no sign up fees and the bands keep all rights which are non-exclusive to Routenote. That means it differs from Tunecore (as there are no signup fees) or The Orchard (which takes a cut of revenue). Instead it monetises by taking a small percentage of sales. The percentages vary I gather.
I think this model generally works – unsigned or independent labels don’t want to pay money up front with no guarantees of selling anything, but they do want a route to market. Interestingly, Routenote offers bands access to places like the iTunes store which doesn’t deal with individuals or small record labels.
This is classic middle man stuff – they are an intermediary. The site differs from the likes of 7digital, which is more a download store which offers artists a storefront to sell direct to punters. The trouble is, just like a blog, people still need to be able to find you.
So they distribute to stores including iTunes, emusic, Limewire, Audio Lunchbox and Imeem among others. The latest store is Amazon MP3. Since their launch three months ago, they now have 440 artists and 1250 tracks online. Artists have the option of choosing which individual stores they want to participate with. They also film bands in their recording studios in Cornwall. The team of five is backed by angel funding.