A tech music company is increasingly giving artists a global voice right here from Cornwall.
With more people having free time to focus on their hobbies during the pandemic, it’s never been easier for musicians to produce and release music to the world.
RouteNote, a tech music company that now employs 250 people globally, including 100 at its headquarters in the Newham industrial estate in Truro, has been able to facilitate this and business is booming – so much so that ‘they have doubled in size in the past two years.
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“It’s the opposite of a perfect storm,” said Steven Finch, RouteNote’s founding CEO. “More music is consumed, released and created than ever before. More and more artists can also make a living from their music.
Steven believes the pandemic has led to increasing numbers of people not only streaming music from platforms such as Spotify or iTunes, but also recording music at home thanks to software and equipment that are getting better and cheaper.
Over the past two years, RouteNote has seen a huge increase in the number of tracks sent in by artists from 192 countries, even the Vatican.
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Already RouteNote has a catalog of 700,000 artists and 2.6 million titles.
“The majority of them are children making music in their bedrooms. It is for us to democratize access to music. We want as many musicians as possible around the world to market their music in stores.
Steven said RouteNote acts as an intermediary between artists and online music stores like Spotify, Amazon Music or even Tencent or Netease in China. The British Australian dual national said that when he launched RouteNote in 2007 he contacted iTunes – the only streaming service available at the time – who told him he would only sign a deal with him once that it would have a catalog of 10,000 titles.
He built RouteNote to achieve this landmark and after two years and embarrassment, iTunes finally signed a deal to publish RouteNote’s catalog.
“We’re sort of the middleman for people like iTunes,” he said. “They’d rather have a contract with a company with a million artists on its books than a million contracts with individuals around the world.”
Now the Cornish tech company, which was named Tech South West Business of the Year last year, has struck similar deals with every other platform in the world.
Steven said the success of RouteNote is not only due to the societal changes that have taken place over the past two years during the pandemic, but to a global music industry that is moving away from traditional models in which the big studios are now increasingly bypassed, not just by budding artists. but also by big names.
“A lot of artists don’t want to be bound by a recording studio contract,” Steven explained. “They want to keep their own rights, which is the opposite of what you do when you do a major deal with a major studio. You get a lump sum cash and maybe 30% royalties, but for 25 or 30 years they own your work.
“With us, artists retain their rights and can receive between 90% and 100% of the money.”
He said the analytics reports sent to artists about who buys their music and where have helped many people discover and grow their own fan base and tailor their own music to that audience.
“Enrique Iglesias is one of our great artists,” said Steven. “He didn’t know that some of his music is more popular in certain parts of Mexico than in Spain. Knowing that demographic and what they want has helped him change his gigs to suit his audience’s tastes when he’s in Mexico. It’s invaluable information to get, something the big studios want to keep private and in control.
He added, “The world has changed over the past 25 years and the internet now offers unlimited distribution so artists can potentially reach anyone, anywhere. Social media really helps with that.
RouteNote, which has offices in Seoul, South Korea, Sophia, Bulgaria, and Bangalore, India, and plans to open other offices in Southeast Asia and eventually China, will receive a piece from an artist . It will be checked by a powerful algorithm against all other music tracks ever released in the world to make sure it does not infringe any copyrights of other artists.
Some of Truro’s 100 employees, most of whom are full-fledged musicians or play in bands and have access to RouteNote’s on-site recording studio as one of the perks of the job, will then make sure the tracks are sound quality and compliant with various copyright laws, rules and regulations around the world before being released on all streaming and download platforms. If someone downloads the track, the platform sends money to RouteNote which is then passed on to the artist along with a download report.
A growing number of RouteNote employees have gone through music courses and degrees from Falmouth University or Truro and Penwith College, something Steven is particularly proud of as he is keen to provide careers and jobs in Cornwall that n have nothing to do with tourism and hospitality. sector.
“We’ve grown so much over the past two years,” he said. “We were very lucky while others were less fortunate. People were at home with free time and a lot more people were making music, so more tracks were coming to us and hitting streaming services and stores. People also had more free time to listen to music.
“Everything is normalized again and I’m not sure we’ll see growth on this scale again in such a short time.
“But I have no doubt that the music industry will continue to grow over the next 10 years. Streaming is just beginning. The next market will be Asia and China in particular. It’s a very complex market with a different language and culture and I don’t think it’s going to be easy to deal with that from our office in Truro, so I think we’ll go there and open an office in the area.
“Next we will look at South America and Africa.”
He added: “For me, what’s exciting is helping people make music in their bedrooms and realizing that they’re suddenly making more money from their hobby than with their daily work.