Today I’m going to briefly discuss what a Sale of Return (SOR) is and how you as an independent artist can go about getting one.When an artist is ready to place his albums in music retail outlets there are two deals he can enter into with the owner of the retail establishment.
Purchase For Sale
The first deal is what most people call a “Purchase for Sale” deal. This is when the music retailer purchases your album from you for upfront cash, then turns around and sells your album in his store at a higher price and keeps all the profits. When you do this type of deal keep in mind that once you sell your album to the retailer you won’t see any royalties from any future album sales.
Once you sell your album to the retailer you take your upfront cash and that’s it. The retailer gets to keep any money that is generated from the album sales even if it’s a few weeks or months from when they buy the album form you! Once you sell your album to the music shop they can do whatever they want with it.
Even though this deal may sound good to most because of the instant upfront cash, it’s a deal really reserved for those who have a proven track record that they can sell albums. The only independent artists who get offered these deals are the ones who have already gone out and sold thousands of records already.
Sale of Return Deal
The other deal you can strike up between you and the music shop owner is called a Sale of Return Deal. This is when you give the record shop a certain amount of units to sell, but instead of them paying you upfront for albums they pay you a cut based on how many units they sell.
Whatever albums the store doesn’t manage to sell after a specific period of time is given back to you. Typically with this type of deal the music store will give you half of the selling price for each unit sold within a specified period of time. So for each album sold expect to get half of that back.
So if the album is sold at $10.00 you can expect $5.00 from it. If the album is sold for $8.00 you can expect $4.00 from it. After the specified period is up the total of album sales is calculated and you’re check is sent to you, as well as any other albums that the store couldn’t manage to sell.
How to Get a Return of Sale Deal
Return of Sale deals are pretty easy to get because there is basically no liability of the retailers end. If the retailer doesn’t sell any of your albums no money is lost, the albums are returned back to you. The best way to get this deal is to call up the store and tell them that you’re an artist that would love to place your album in their store for sale. They most likely would want to her your music first before agreeing to do so, so set up a time and date convenient to them and go in with your album.
If they agree you will have to go to the store to fill in some paper work which includes details of how many units they will take in, the price you’ll receive for each unit sold, and which day you can stop by to collect your money and/or remaining albums by. You’ll also need to fill out your contact details such as your name and address in case they need to contact you for any reason.
Once you have sealed the deal with that music store try it with a few others. It’s good to get your albums in as many stores as possible. If you don’t like doing this by yourself you can always hire a distributor to do it, but keep in mind distributors are known to take big cuts so think twice about taking that route.
If they don’t like your music try another local shop to see if they will agree to your ROS deal. Remember the plan is to get your music into as many local music shops as possible. This is your music and as an independent artist it’s up to you if it fails or succeeds. If you don’t market it well, if you don’t push for it to be successful it won’t. But if you try to get it out there the chances of it succeeding will increase tremendously.
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