RouteNote Style Guide

Here’s your complete guide to help you with creating your releases through RouteNote successfully.

We have all the latest information in this extensive guide to share with you, from what each artist role means to how to format your cover releases properly. We’re showing you how to pass moderation at RouteNote!

We’ve split this guide into three sections, so have a look through the bits that you’re interested in within each category, or use our handy search tool to navigate the RouteNote Support Hub as a whole.

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Metadata

Audio

Artwork

Metadata

Formatting your release can be tricky, but we’ve got some handy metadata tips and tricks for you to make your uploading process easy!

Artist roles

Primary artists

The primary artist is the main artist of the release.

Each track and release will need to have at least one primary artist credited. For info on how to add a primary artist to your release, head here.

Primary artists shouldn’t be credited in the track or release title.

Featuring and with artists

A featuring artist is an artist who appears on the track, but is not the main artist. They are usually the secondary performer or a guest artist.

Featuring artists must be credited in the track title that they appear in. The format for adding a featuring artist into your title is: Track Title (feat. Artist). You’ll also need to add the featuring artist into your artist roles – here’s how!

The with artist role can be used similarly – it’s also for an artist who appears as a guest or secondary performer, but is not the main artist.

With artists must be formatted in the track title like this: Track Title (with Artist). Learn how to add a with artist to your tracks/ release here.

Performers

You can add performing artists to your release if you want to credit an artist who is a part of the track(s), but not the main artist.

You shouldn’t credit your performers anywhere except in the artist roles section. Head here to learn how to add a performer to your release.

Producers

Most releases have been produced, mixed and mastered by someone. You can credit this person in your release using the producer artist role. You may wish to credit the person who has made your backing track as a producer, too.

Producers can be added to your release easily – just follow these steps.

Remixers

You can credit someone who has remixed a track or release using the remixer artist role. Remixes are edited versions of songs where samples or snippets are used to create a new version of the song, or a completely different song altogether based on the original.

When uploading a remix, you’ll need to make sure that the primary artist from the original track is given the primary artist role and that the remixer is credited as a remixer in the list of artists on your metadata.

The remixer should be credited in the title of the remix, like this:
Track Title (Artist Name Remix)

Learn more about adding a remixer and the appropriate formatting here.

DJs

Your release may contain content that a DJ has been involved in. Please ensure that you credit DJs properly – the DJ artist role should not be used for a producer or the person who made the backing track.

You can add a DJ to your release by following this article.

Lyricists

You’ll want to add a lyricist to your release if you want to credit the person that wrote the lyrics for your song(s).

If you’re uploading a cover, please make sure you don’t credit the original lyricist within the artist roles.

Here’s how to add a lyricist to your release.

Composers

A composer is someone who has written music.

If your release falls within the classical genre, you must include the composer(s) in your release. You shouldn’t add a composer for any other cover release.

To credit your composer, you will need to add them to your list of artists involved in the release. Find out how here.

Arrangers

The arranger artist role can be used to credit artists who have created an arrangement of someone else’s composition. Usually, this relates to classical, religious or choral music.

Arrangers don’t need to be credited anywhere other than in the artist field section of your track/ release details. Here’s how to add an arranger to your release.

Conductors

A conductor is someone who directs an orchestra, a choir or other musical ensemble. They are usually involved in classical music.

Have a look at this article to find out how to add a conductor to your release.

Orchestras

There is an artist role option for orchestras where you can credit an entire orchestra as one artist. To find out how to add an orchestra to your release, head here.

Actors

An actor is someone who has portrayed a character on a stage, in films, or on television. You might need to add this artist role to your release if your content is from a soundtrack to a musical where the song is performed by the actor.

Please follow these steps to add an actor to your release.

Artist names

When choosing your artist name, you’ll need to make sure the name doesn’t include unnecessary information, aliases, timestamps or dates. Here’s some more information on what you can’t include in your artist name.

You should also try and get creative with your name, as anything too generic won’t be accepted. Generic artist names make it hard to distringuish between other content with the same or similar names, as well as mislead customers who may be searching for someone else. You can look further into what kind of names and titles won’t be accepted here.

Compound artists

A compound artist is an artist name which is made up of more than one artist, like Simon & Garfunkel. These are two artists, but their artist name is a singular act made up of two names.

Crediting two artists in the same artist role field will mean that the release gets sent to stores and assigned to a page under that name. If you want to credit two separate artists and get the release assigned to both artist pages on stores, you’ll need to ensure you add the artists separately in your release details under an artist role each.

Learn more about compound artists and how to format them here.

Artist page selection

Whenever you add an artist to your release, you’ll be prompted to select a Spotify artist page from a drop down list once you’ve started typing in the artist name. This is in place to ensure your release lands on an appropriate artist page.

If you have an existing Spotify artist page for your artist, please select it from the drop down list. If you don’t have one yet and need a new one, you can select ‘None of these artists’.

You’ll need to make sure you’ve selected the same artist page for each time the artist appears in your release metadata (the album details and each track’s details).

You can read more about selecting the right Spotify page in your release metadata here.

Verifying artists or labels

Our moderation team may need to verify that you have the rights to upload content by artists or labels you’ve included in your release. Usually, this is because the artist/ label is determined as being high profile. We need to ensure that rights are protected, and we don’t want anyone to get into copyright trouble down the line. Here’s more on why we have a verification process.

If you’ve been asked to provide evidence that you are a certain artist or own a certain label, or you need to provide proof that you have the rights to upload content by someone else, you’ll need to either:

  • Contact us from an email listed on official profiles
    Send us an email from the address listed on official social media profiles to moderation@routenote.com along with your UPC and username. For example, if my email on my official social media is publicly listed as ‘john@doe.com’, I will need to send an email from that address to moderation@routenote.com.
  • Send us a message on social media from official profiles
    Message RouteNote from the artist/label’s official social media to either the RouteNote official Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
  • Give us evidence of the artist logged into official profiles
    Send us screenshots of the artist/label logged into the admin side of their official social media (Facebook, SoundCloud, Instagram) to moderation@routenote.com along with your UPC and username.
  • Supply official signed contracts from both parties
    Send over digital copies of any signed contracts between both parties (e.g. the uploader and the artist being uploaded) to moderation@routenote.com along with your UPC and username.

Once you’ve been verified for an artist or label, we won’t need to ask you again in the future if you’re uploading more content from them to your RouteNote account.

Track titles

When thinking of a title for your track, please make sure that you avoid using track titles that are purely descriptive of the content. This can be things like “Instrumental Trap Beat”, “Chill Lo-fi Groove”, “EDM Track” or similar. You can look into some more examples of what kind of names and titles won’t be accepted here.

There’s no need to include track numbers as part of your track titles because the track numbers are generated automatically by our system. You can have numbers as part of your title as long as they’re not duplicating the track number.

Language

You’ll need to let us know the language that the metadata of your release and each track is in. When you’re editing your album and track details, you will find a drop down menu where you can select your language.

If your release contains tracks in multiple languages, you can just choose the language that appears most often in your album details. Your track language will be set to your chosen album language by default, however you can change this per track if some tracks are not in the same language as the majority of the tracks on your release.

To edit/set your album metadata language, open your release within your discography and click on album details. To set your track language, find the track you need to edit/set the track language for, and click on ‘Edit Track Details‘. Scroll down to set your track’s audio language.

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to include every language in our drop down list as we must adhere to the possible options laid out by our partner stores. If your language is not on the list, please choose a language which you feel is most suitable for your release.

If one of your metadata fields contains different languages this is fine, although the text in one language can’t be a translation of the text in the other. Read more about this here.

Explicit, non-explicit, cleaned versions and censoring

Are your tracks suitable for all ages? Our partner stores need to know the explicit status of each track and your release as a whole so that listeners are warned before they’ve accidentally exposed their family to explicit content!

Explicit

Explicit content includes any of the following – drugs, inflammatory lyrics, profanity, sexual references/ depictions, violence. If any part of your track (including metadata, artwork, lyrical content) contains any of these things, it will need to be labelled as explicit.

Learn more about when you should label your track as explicit here, and when you should label your release as explicit here. If one or more tracks on your release are explicit, then you will need to label the album as explicit. You can read more about that here.

If you want to include the ‘Parental Advisory’ label within your artwork, you can do so only if the release is explicit.

Non-explicit

Non-explicit content does not feature any of the explicit content mentioned above.

Cleaned version

A cleaned version is a track or release that has been edited to exclude any explicit content.

You shouldn’t censor any words in your metadata, as this doesn’t reflect the true titles. You can read more about censoring metadata here.

Title versions

Title versions are there to help you mark a difference between different versions of the same track or release. You may have a release or track which also has an extended version or a radio edit for example – to release both versions of the same thing, we’ll need to make sure we can tell the difference between them using a title version.

To find out more about title version formatting, head here to learn about formatting title versions for a track, or here to learn about formatting title versions for a release.

Please don’t add unnecessary or inaccurate information in your title version. This includes duplicate information mentioned elsewhere in your metadata.

Genre selection

When you upload a release, you’ll need to label it with a genre using our drop down menu. You’ll need to at least choose a primary genre, but there is also an optional secondary genre you can use if you feel your content falls into more than one genre category. Here’s how to select your genre via your release details.

Please note that if your release is classical or a soundtrack, there are certain formatting requirements you’ll need to follow. Jump to the classical section or the soundtracks section of this page for more info.

Unfortunately, the genres available to choose are currently limited to coincide with what our partners offer. If your genre is not on the list, please label it with the most similar option to what you had in mind. It’s worth noting that it’s possible for our Support team to customise your genre to something more specific on iTunes/ Apple Music for you – please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

The C line

The C line is also known as the composition copyright field.

You should credit the composition copyright holder in this line – if you’ve written the track/ release, just include your artist name here. For covers, you should credit the original performer. For classical content, you should credit the original composer. Have a look at this article for further information on what to write in the C line for your release.

If your release has several composition copyright holders, you can credit them all in the C line. Please separate each artist name with a comma.

If you’d like to credit your label in your C line, this is fine. Please don’t include any unnecessary information alongside the label name.

The P line

The P line is also known as the phonographic copyright field.

This field is used to identify who owns the sound recording of the performance of the track(s). Usually, this will be the artist, label or publisher. If you’d like to credit your record label in the P line, please ensure you don’t add any unnecessary information.

Even if your release is a cover, the original artist doesn’t own your performance of their track. The original artist can be credited in the C line, whilst the owners of this version of the track would go in the P line. Head here for more info on what you should write in the P line.

The record label line

If you have a record label your artist is signed to, you can credit them in the record label name field. If you don’t, you can just list the artist name here.

Please don’t include ‘independent’, ‘none’ or similar – just use your primary artist name here instead if you don’t have a record label to credit. You also shouldn’t credit high profile labels if you’re not actually signed to them!

Territory selection

You’re able to select where you distribute your music to. You can include or exclude particular territories via the Manage Stores section of your release.

If you’d like your content to be sent worldwide, just leave the territory selection blank.

If you’re releasing a cover track or cover release, you may need to exclude certain territories if you haven’t purchased a license. Read more about that in our cover section of this page.

Single track releases

When uploading a release with only one track, the most important thing to remember is that the album details and the track details match exactly. Your metadata should be identical – this includes the artist names and roles, the track title, title version (if you have one).

Read more about single track formatting here.

Multiple track releases

For releases with more than one track, you’ll need to ensure you format your album details appropriately.

If you have an artist which appears on all tracks in the release, you will need to include them in your album details. You’ll need to make sure the artist is credited as the same artist role and that the artist name is formatted identically, too – it will need to have the same spelling and capitalisation in both your track and album details.

Read more about formatting artists in multiple tracks here.

Releases with parts or volumes

Releases that are made up of parts or volumes need to be formatted properly to meet store guidelines.

If your release has several parts, your track titles and release titles need to include the part in this format: Title, Pt. 1

If your release includes several volumes, your track titles and release titles need to be formatted like this: Title, Vol. 1

Various artists releases

If your release contains four or more primary artists and has more than one track, it will have to be considered a compilation and a various artists release.

To make your release a various artists release, you just need to click the compilation album checkbox on your album details page when creating your release. This automatically sets the first artist at album level as a primary artist called Various Artists. This is unavoidable if you have four or more primary artists as we need to abide by our partner stores formatting guidelines.

If you have four or more artists involved in your release and you don’t want your release to be a compilation, you may want to think about crediting some of them as something other than a primary artist – perhaps you’d prefer them to be credited as a featuringwith, or performer role instead.

Read more about various artist release formatting here.

Covers

If you’d like to upload a cover track or release, you’ll need to format it appropriately.

The original artist should be credited in the C Line of your release – the C line is where you credit the composition copyright holder. You shouldn’t credit the original performer or artist anywhere other than the C line – this means you can’t list them in your artwork, in the artist listing or anywhere else in your metadata. Learn more about what you should put in the C line for your cover release here.

The P line of your release refers to the phonographic copyright holder. As covers are performances by artists who are not the original performers of the release, the P line should just list the performers of the cover, not the original artist.

You have a couple of options with regards to how you can properly distribute your cover – you can either purchase a mechanical license, or you can format your release to go to the stores and territories which allow you distribute covers without this license. You can distribute covers through RouteNote to Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Nuuday, Anghami, Tidal, KKBOX and JioSaavn without needing a mechanical license, but for any other stores, you’ll need to exclude USA, Canada, Mexico, India and Pakistan if you haven’t purchased the license for your cover tracks. Learn more about which stores and territories you can distribute covers to here.

We can’t accept karaoke releases, but you can format your karaoke-style release as an instrumental cover by following the cover formatting requirements here. You can’t include ‘karaoke’ anywhere in your release metadata, however.

Classical content

Classical music is music written in the classical period. This period is a little vague, but we’re counting any music written between 1750s-1820s as the classical period. You should only choose the classical genre if the original compositions were written during this period. For ‘classical’ music outside this timeframe, you’ll need to choose an alternative genre, like instrumental for example. Find out more about when you should label your release as classical here.

All classical music, whether from the above classical period or just outside of it (baroque or romantic, for example), should be formatted properly.

Your classical release album title should be the full title of the work, if all tracks on the release are from the same work. The format for this is: [Major Work Title] in [Key], [Opus Number].

The track title for your classical tracks should include four elements: [Major Work Title] in [Key], [Opus Number]: [Movement Title]. If the original title does not include all four elements, try to get the title as close as you can to this format.

You should credit the composer of the piece at each track level as a composer artist role. Here’s some more info on adding a composer to classical content.

The composer should also be credited in the C line. The C line date should be composition year of the earliest piece on your release. Read more about adding a composer to the C line here.

Soundtracks

A soundtrack can only be labelled as such if your release is a soundtrack to an actual piece of media – a film, TV show, a game etc. You shouldn’t choose the soundtrack genre for your release if it is a cover. Whilst your cover may be of an original soundtrack, your version of it isn’t the soundtrack to a piece of media like the original is.

The title for your soundtrack release needs to include certain information, so take a look at the table below to see which applies to your release.

TYPE OF MEDIAMUST INCLUDE IN TITLE:
FilmAlbum Title (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Video gameAlbum Title (Original Game Soundtrack)
PlayAlbum Title (Original Theatre Soundtrack)
MusicalAlbum Title (Original Musical Soundtrack)
TV showAlbum Title (Music from the Original TV Series)

Remixes

You’ll need to credit the remixer of the track and release in your track and album details. Head further up this page to read more about the remixer artist role, or further down this page to read more about making sure you have the rights to upload the remix.

DJ mixes

A DJ mix is where a DJ has compiled or mixed a collection of tracks from other artists. Please make sure that the DJ has the rights to upload everything included in the mix!

The DJ will need to be credited as a primary artist at album level, and the original artists of the included tracks need to be credited as a primary artist for each track at track level. Read more about DJ mix formatting here.

Medleys

A medley is where existing songs are performed consecutively, linked together, on one track.

Formatting is important here, but there are a couple of options to choose from when figuring out what your medley track title should look like. Either of these formats are fine:
Medley: Song title 1 / Song title 2 / Song title 3
Song title 1 / Song title 2 / Song title 3 (Medley)

Live content

Releases which contain live performances need to be formatted properly in order to comply with our partner stores’ guidelines. You’ll just need to make sure you include ‘Live’ in the title version of your track details. You can use ‘En Vivo’ or ‘En Directo’ if your release or track is in Spanish, or if they’re in Portugese, you can use ‘Ao Vivo’.

Take a look at some examples of live content formatting here.

What you shouldn’t include in your metadata

Unfortunately, there are some things you can’t include in your metadata. Have a look at our article on what you can’t include in your metadata here, or take a look at the list below.

Generic metadata

It’s best to avoid generic metadata where possible. The more unique your metadata, the easier it is for listeners to distringuish between content. We recommend getting creative and choosing a suitable unqiue artist name and track/ release titles which you can use without any confusion or misleading search results!

Misleading metadata

You should also avoid using misleading metadata. We can’t accept releases with metadata which matches high profile musical artists, song titles, or album titles. This is considered misleading as listeners may be searching for the high profile item and come across your track/ release/ artist instead. Our partner stores can’t allow this!

Store or distributor names

You can’t include store or distributor names in your metadata, either. This suggests an official link between yourself and the store or distributor, or could be seen as advertising.

Promotion or advertisement

Your release metadata is not the right place for you to promote or advertise yourself. Please don’t add links to your socials or promote upcoming music or events in your metadata, in the artwork, or in the audio itself.

Non-profit

All releases distributed through RouteNote are subject to monetisation. Because of this, we can’t accept use of the term ‘non-profit’ anywhere in the release, as it would be inaccurate.

Unusual or unrecognised characters

Please don’t include characters that aren’t part of a real language or non-standard punctuation symbols as this can cause issues with our partner stores.

Contact information

You can’t include any contact information anywhere in your release. This includes website addresses, hashtags, social media usernames (names beginning with the @ symbol), email addresses or phone numbers.

Karaoke releases and tributes

You can’t mention that your release is in a karaoke style in your metadata or artwork. You can upload a karaoke-style instrumental cover by following the cover formatting guidelines.

You also can’t label your release as a tribute, although you are fine to upload a release featuring multiple covers by the same artist. You just need to ensure you don’t call it a tribute anywhere in the metadata or artwork.

Audio

Samples, backing tracks, original audio – you name it, we’ve covered it.

Track and release length

RouteNote releases have a minimum release and track length requirement. Your release uploaded through RouteNote will need to be at least 30 seconds in total, and each track will need to be a minimum of 3 seconds long.

We don’t necessarily recommend that you upload content this short, as stores are not fond of extremely short tracks with not much musical content. This makes it easier for fraudulent activity to take place, meaning your short releases are at high risk of being rejected or removed.

Audio quality

We understand that not every release can be of pristine audio quality, but there are a few minimum requirements your tracks will need to meet in order to be accepted by our partner stores.

Please try and avoid the following:

Recording issues

  • Clipped/peaking audio
  • Unclear/muffled/muddy recordings
  • Excess hum/buzz/hiss
  • Noticeable echoes from the recording space

Encoding and mastering issues

  • Heavily compressed audio
  • Audio that is too quiet to be heard properly, or too loud to be comfortable
  • Audio that skips
  • Tracks that have more than eight seconds of silence at the start or end

Samples

The golden rule with distributing any audio through RouteNote is that you need to have the appropriate rights and permission to use the audio in your release for commercial purposes. You can use samples in your release, you just need to make sure they’re okay to be used for profit.

Please be aware that if you use non-exclusive audio in your release, it becomes ineligible for Content ID stores (YouTube, Facebook/ Instagram, TikTok).

Sampling social media or online videos

We advise being very careful when sampling content from social media sites such as Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It’s difficult to find the true origin of content online, and even if you have permission from the uploader of the content you’re sampling, they may not have permission to use it in their content in the first place. It’s also worth noting that for YouTube in particular, most videos are uploaded under a Standard YouTube Licence, which means that the video can only be accessed from YouTube for viewing purposes, and can’t be reproduced or distributed without the original creator’s permission.

If you have used audio from an online video and we ask about it during the moderation process, please include the following in your email to moderation@routenote.com:

  • link to the video/ post you took the sample from
  • your username
  • the UPC of the release.

Sample packs

When using sample pack content in your tracks, make sure they are okay to be used for profitable purposes. If you’ve purchased or downloaded samples, check the terms to be 100% sure the samples are okay to be distributed to stores for commercial use.

If we ask you to prove you have the rights or permission to use samples in your release, please send any evidence you have to moderation@routenote.com along with the UPC of the release. The most helpful evidence would be:

  • Proof of purchase for the sample pack
    If you’ve bought a sample pack, you’ll get a receipt or proof of purchase of some form, usually by email.
  • An unedited audio file of the original sample
    This lets us check the file without any background audio.
  • A link to the sample pack online
    If it’s still available, please send in a link to where the sample pack is up for sale.

If you have obtained a free sample pack came from a company that normally sells audio and you’ve received a download receipt with it, please send this over to moderation@routenote.com as proof of purchase along with:

  • a link to where you obtained the content
  • an unedited audio file of the original sample you used
  • your username
  • the UPC of the release

If you got the free sample from an amateur, either on their own website, blog, or perhaps somewhere like Reddit, please send:

  • a link to the download if it’s still available
  • an unedited audio file of the original sample you used
  • your username
  • the UPC of the release

Sometimes, makers of sample packs upload audio in them that they themselves don’t have the rights to; e.g., someone’s chopped up some James Brown samples and put them in a pack. In these cases, unfortunately, as the pack’s maker didn’t own the audio originally this would not be something that would pass through moderation. This is quite common with free sample packs so be aware!

Direct samples from existing tracks

You need to have permission from the original copyright holder of the samples you’re using in your release. Using direct samples is only possible with permission.

If we do ask you to prove that you’re allowed to use samples, the best way to do it is always to have the creator of the original track you’ve sampled email us directly at moderation@routenote.com, including:

  • the UPC of your release
  • your username in the email

Public domain, copyright exempt or expired copyright samples

Some content is exempt from copyright, or the copyright applied to it has expired. This kind of content is considered public domain, so anyone can use it.

We may need to ask you to prove that it is genuinely copyright free. If you’ve uploaded your release through RouteNote and we ask about the sample/ recording during the moderation process, please send the following to moderation@routenote.com:

  • link to where you downloaded it
  • link to whatever information proves it is copyright exempt
  • your username
  • the UPC of the release

Backing tracks

For any kind of backing track you use in your release, it’s worth checking that it doesn’t contain samples or audio that’s under copyright. Although this is most common with free backing tracks, it can happen in any case!

If you have received permission form the backing track owner to use it in your release, you’ll have to ask them to contact us directly to verify this. Please ask them to email moderation@routenote.com from an email address we can verify as theirs (e.g. the one listed on their YouTube channel), including your username and UPC with the email.

Purchased backing tracks

When purchasing a backing track, you should be given a copy of the license and/ or a receipt for your purchase. Please send this over to moderation@routenote.com along with your RouteNote username and UPC.

Make sure that the backing track you’ve purchased for use in your release is allowed to be used for commercial purposes.

Free to use backing tracks

Sometimes you might be lucky enough to find a backing track for free which you download and use in your RouteNote release.

Please ensure that the free backing track you’ve obtained is free to be used for profit/ commercial purposes.

If the beat you’ve used is free for commercial use and we ask you about it, send in a link to where you got it from originally/ where it says it’s free for commercial use, along with your username and UPC, and we’ll be able to get your release approved.

Remixes

If you’re uploading a remix, you need to make sure you’ve got permission from the copyright holder of the original audio that you’re using in your remix. All releases distributed through RouteNote are subject to monetisation, so you’ll need the appropriate rights to distribute the content for commercial purposes.

Please send proof of permission to moderation@routenote.com along with the UPC of the related release.

To learn about the remixer artist role, just head further up this page.

Covers

If your cover contains original samples or audio from the original track, you will need to make sure you have permission to use them! Any proof of permission or proof of your mechanical license purchase should be sent to moderation@routenote.com along with the UPC of the related release.

For information on cover formatting, please refer to the section above.

Explicit audio

Explicit content includes any of the following – drugs, inflammatory lyrics, profanity, sexual references/ depictions, violence. If any part of your track (including metadata, artwork, lyrical content) contains any of these things, it will need to be labelled as explicit.

What you shouldn’t include in your audio

Promotion or advertisement

Your tracks should not contain any promotional speech/ lyrics or advertisements, whether that be asking listeners to check out your socials, a product, service or other music.

Sample packs

Your release can’t contain a full sample pack. You can use samples from a sample pack, but the release you upload can’t just be a full sample pack either from someone else or a sample pack of your own to sell or advertise.

Podcasts and audiobooks

We can only accept musical content to be distributed through RouteNote – unfortunately we don’t accept podcast content or audiobooks because of this.

Speech or scripture excerpts

Again, we can’t distribute non-musical content, so unfortunately a release containing a track or tracks with speech or scripture and no music would not be accepted. You’re welcome to use speech samples (providing you have the rights/ and or permission), but the release will need to be considered as having musical content for us to distribute it to our partner stores.

Sudden endings, excerpts and partial tracks

We can’t accept releases which contain incomplete tracks, so that means we can’t accept releases which end suddenly and sound like they’ve been cut off, or excerpts of full tracks. We’ll need you to upload the tracks in their entirety. Please note that tracks which intentionally end suddenly are fine, if that is your artistic choice.

Ringtones

We currently don’t offer ringtone distribution, unfortunately.

Duplicate audio

You can’t upload multiple tracks containing identical audio on the same release.

If your audio files are similar but not identical, you can use the title version field to differentiate between the two tracks. An example where this might be relevant is if the first track is the radio edit, whereas the second track is the extended mix of the same track.

Artwork

Wondering whether your artwork will be approved? Save yourself the worry by reading on.

If you’re struggling to get creative and make a cover art for your release yourself, there are many options online that you can take advantage of.

Uploading your artwork

Please upload your cover art in .jpg format. Your artwork file will need to be less than 25mb in size and it will need to be 3000×3000 px in dimension.

Having issues uploading your image? Check out this article.

As with anything you upload through RouteNote, you’ll need to make sure you have the rights to use the image you’ve chosen for your release cover art.

If you’ve been searching through Google for an image to use, you’ll need to make sure it’s available to be used for commercial purposes. Unfortunately, you can’t just pick any image online and use it.

The golden rules for making sure you don’t encounter artwork copyright issues are:

  1. Make sure you identify the owner of the artwork
  2. Check you’re allowed to use it for commercial purposes
  3. Keep the proof of this in case we need to ask you about it

You can read more about how to avoid artwork copyright issues here.

Artwork quality

In terms of the quality of your artwork, we have a minimum requirement that your cover art is not pixelated, blurry or stretched. Please ensure your image is square – if it isn’t, please remake it rather than stretching it to fit the 3000×3000 dimension requirement.

If your artwork is out of focus deliberately as part of an artistic choice, this is fine. Similarly, if your artwork contains pixelated artwork for artistic purposes, that’s okay too. There would only be an issue here if the artwork is simply poor quality.

Crediting artists in your artwork

If you want to include an artist somewhere in your artwork, they will need to be listed in your release metadata too. So, if you’ve included text in your cover art that says “featuring Artist A”, Artist A will need to be listed as a featuring artist in the metadata.

Logos and brands

If you’d like to include a logo or brand in your artwork, you’ll need to be careful. If the brand or logo is the main focus of the artwork, this can cause issues so we’d have to ask you to change it.

Logos and brands can be visible in your cover art, as long as they’re not a main focus.

Explicit artwork vs offensive artwork

Explicit releases are anything that references the following:

• Drugs
• Inflammatory Lyrics
• Profanity
• Sexual References/Depictions
• Violence

Please be aware that if your artwork contains any references to explicit content, your album will need to be labelled as explicit. Explicit artwork containing the above should be accepted as long as the album is labelled as explicit.

Artwork that is considered offensive crosses the line. These are the types of things you should not include in your artwork:

  • Nudity
  • Violence and gore
  • Culturally offensive content
  • Discriminatory content
  • Threatening content

Artwork containing these would need to be amended in order to be sent to stores.

Misleading artwork

Artwork can be considered misleading when it implies a connection between parties that don’t exist. This could be including an image of a high profile musician, a famous company or a charity if you’re not actually associated with them.

Please don’t include anything that could mislead listeners to ensure your artwork can be sent to stores. Here’s how you can avoid misleading artwork.

What you shouldn’t include in your artwork

You need to be aware of some things that could cause issues when used in your artwork

Promotion or advertisements

Please avoid including things like social media links, links to other content on stores, promotion of an upcoming release or prices of releases. If your artwork contains anything that could be considered as promotional or includes an advertisement, we’ll have to ask you to edit the cover art to ensure this isn’t included.

Contact information

This includes websites, emails, social media links, phone numbers and QR codes. Please remove any reference of these from your cover art.

Social media or store logos

Our partner stores don’t want to be advertising any of their competitors on their sites, so we can’t accept any reference to DSPs or social media sites in the form of logos or similar.

Physical release references

Please make sure there are no barcodes, CD logos, DVD logos etc on your release artwork. Our partner stores can’t accept this as the artwork then becomes misleading to listeners – it makes it difficult to tell if they are purchasing a CD for example, or streaming a song online.

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