What is your Shutterstock earnings

Shutterstock annoys photographers with a new payment model

The stock photo agency Shutterstock has announced a new billing model for photographers, which has received severe criticism from those affected. The new pricing model provides for a graduated percentage share in the income. Previously, Shutterstock paid out fixed amounts per image download. The authors of the photos and graphics now fear that their income will decrease significantly as a result of the new percentage model.

The income that photographers can earn by selling their images through a stock agency is manageable anyway. In general, the following applies: In order to generate income in the higher range, a picture has to be sold very often. For example, Shutterstock currently states that a provider will receive $ 0.25 to $ 2.85 for downloading an image (without an extended license). The higher the total income of a photographer, the higher the payout per download.

Photographers criticize pricing policy

From Shutterstock's point of view, this should now be changed because of "market changes in relation to creative content" and for reasons of "fairness". According to the listed company, the billing model will be updated in the coming weeks. According to an email to the photographers, the new system comprises six levels: At the lowest level, 85 percent of the income goes to Shutterstock and 15 percent is paid out to the photographer.

Photographers whose images are downloaded particularly often move up to a higher level. In the highest level six, Shutterstock pays a 40 percent share. In order to benefit from this relatively high proportion, however, more than 25,000 licenses have to be sold. In addition: "All providers are reset to level 1 on January 1st, both for the pictures and for the videos."

According to insiders, only a few photographers reach the higher levels of the price model. For a larger number of providers, the lower levels with a 15 to 25 percent share will probably be relevant in the future. There is resistance to this, for example in the microstockgroup.com forum. One of the points of criticism is that Shutterstock wants to change the terms of the contract to the detriment of the provider. Many photographers affected assume that their future income will be lower, some fear for their economic existence. (sea)

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