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New earnings structure for Contributors

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Contributor 249 again...

I looked at my earnings in Dec 2019 and April 2020 to see what the difference would be with the new subscription royalties. I currently receive 30% on SODs and ELs and 38 cents per sub download. Come June 1st I'll be 30% and 10 cents per sub.

December 2019 earnings were higher than April 2020 - as expected; the fall is always the year's high point for me - and had a larger proportion of non-subscription downloads. April had a higher proportion of subscription downloads.

For December 2019 my subscription earnings dropped 74% which led my overall earnings to drop 24%. For April 2020, the same earnings percentage decrease for subs led to a 35% drop in the monthly total.

Bottom line is that it would be really, really hard to do anything with uploads that would make up for such a huge drop in income (and I'm images only, no video). There is zero incentive to upload anything new to Shutterstock. The only remaining issue is whether to leave.

In spite of a tweet today in which Shutterstock professed how important contributors are to them, that's bollocks and they know it. I replied that our content is important to them (not mine or any one other contributor) because without that they have no business. None. We are just disposable.

They are looting our royalties because the business isn't growing and they need to show more profit. They can't succeed long term doing that any more than I can make up for a 35% income drop by uploading a few pictures of social distancing or masked hipsters enjoying a stroll in the park.

You are taking all the worst parts of all the earlier agency cash-grabs and hoping you can somehow make the books look good. 

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In an email that is going out today, we are announcing that we will be updating the earnings structure that determines how much you get paid when customers license your work. We are making this adjust

This is just a joke. 10 years with SS and now I'll be getting 20% commission on my footage clips??? No lifetime sales tier, just what you sold last year/this year.... To get to the curr

This space will be updated to address frequently asked questions.  My email shows different counts for videos than are shown above. Which is correct? Apologies. The email to video contributo

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11 minutes ago, Sean Locke Photography said:

Is that the case?  Or is it that if they sell a (for example) 100 image subscription for $100, and that person only downloads one image, then that image cost $100 for royalty purposes?

They keep the extra - of course...

From Kate's post up front:

"If a customer buys a pack or sub, but doesn’t use it all, how are my earnings calculated?

When a customer buys a pack or subscription, your commission is calculated based on the price per asset assuming full usage of the pack or subscription. For example, if a customer buys a 10 images per month subscription at $49 per month, the price per image is $4.90. Your earnings percentage is based on $4.90 regardless of how many images the customer downloads from their allotment. "

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Five days’ notice! It stated in my email "IN THE COMING WEEKS"! Is this legal? If we were employed surely this would be a change to our working conditions without any consultation! I’m retired and worked as a senior director of a large corporate company and have never posted anything on a forum before, but this poor corporate decision deserves a response from all SS contributors. As a keen aviation photographer, I contribute images because I want people to see, use and appreciate them, I don’t do it for the money. However, I feel sorry for all those individuals who work hard all day every day (under strict rules I might add); they spend their time, use their individual creative talents only to be rewarded with a slap in the face and the end of the year! This is not change for the better, nor is it change for SS to survive the Corvid pandemic; it is authoritarian change for greed.

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12 minutes ago, Svetlana Satsiuk said:

good question!!! indeed, it is very interesting to look at the numbers that are waiting for us. perhaps it is really not worth wasting time on this stayt Adobe stock for example always paid more for 1 photo ))



Adobe Stock income per download is higher for us contributors.

When I buy a 5 images credit pack at Adobe Stock, I pay 50 Euros for five images - including VAT.

When I buy a 5 images On Demand pack at Shutterstock, I pay 58 Euros - including VAT. 16% more expensive than at Adobe Stock.

At Adobe Stock I get 3,30 Euros for each Credit download as contributor.

At shutterstock I get 2,85 US$ for each On Demand downloads as contributor - which is 2,6 Euros right now. A minus of 21% compared to Adobe Stock.


What I'm trying to say is that shutterstock branches off more from our work than Adobe Stock anyway.

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5 hours ago, Kate Shutterstock said:

In an email that is going out today, we are announcing that we will be updating the earnings structure that determines how much you get paid when customers license your work. We are making this adjustment in order to reflect changes in the market for creative content, help to create fair opportunities for all our contributors, and reward performance with greater earnings potential. 

Starting on June 1st, 2020, your earnings for each license will be based on your Image Level or your Video Level.  



On June 1, you will be placed in an Image Level and a Video Level based on your download count so far in 2020. The email you receive today will let you know which levels you are in as of this morning. 

How does it work?

  • These new levels are based on the number of times your content is licensed rather than your lifetime earnings. 
  • All contributors reset to level 1 for both images and videos every year on January 1st.
  • There are separate levels for images and for videos, and you graduate through them independently based on your download count in each category.

Its seems great if Shutterstock start to pay the unused photo downloads from the plans, because clients pay but that money its no distributed to the contributors. That way it would be a trully 15 to 40%. Otherwise and considering the lack of data to our side, you would probably be earning about 90% and we wouldn't because we don't have access to the avg % of downloads from the plans. I seriously doubt that they're used above 75%.

Lets simplify. If somebody pays 150€ per 750 pics but only use 325 pics, you pay to contributors a max of 40% of half the package downloaded. The remaining money, you earned it without paying a penny. So in reality on the best case scenario you're paying to the contributors only 20% of the subscription. Yes, you pay a max of 40%, but per photo, not per unit, per subscription.

Plus you don't provide any clear information about the average usage of the plans. Having all of this in mind i seriously start to doubt that the earning paid on the latest years was calculated based on the real plans subscribed.

To me this is enough to make a joint request for an audit to Shutterstock.

To me this is pure bad faith and there are several ways to put Shutterstock in a bad position. Shutterstock is relying on the fact that we will rant but the majority would stay in the business, allowing them to keep exploring in a ridiculous manner.

So... if i buy 1000 max subscription packages and sell parts of them to small buyers that could download straight from a ported website, the packs usage would raise. Contributors would earn the same, but Shutterstock would earn less. The biggest problem its not what you want to pay, but what you want to pay from what you're really earning, which is undisclosed.

I guess that if you don't reconsider we will have to make a public campaign against you. I'm all in into burn money for this matter. 

Canva is a good option.
This already happened on the music market. iStock struggling for content. Beatport and other download websites are struggling. Spotify still hustle and earn money... for how long. Bandcamp growing up with sustainability. 

Wake up now or make all the people fall and fall with them sooner or later.

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I'm a shareholder as well as a contributor. And I'm selling my shares. This is an outrageous move on shutterstock's part. So glad we are all in this together.

I was so excited to buy ss stock way back when because it felt good to own part of an endeavor in which I was also a contributor. How times have changed! I don't want to support a company that treats its contributors so poorly, especially in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Other companies are contributing to those in need, providing PPE for healthcare workers, feeding the hungry. And shutterstock, in midtown Manhattan, with devastating loss of life all around them, decides to claw away commissions from already struggling photographers while they sit on a big pile of cash. I'm sorry, but for the life of me, I don't see how this creates "fair opportunities for all [y]our contributors."

In fact, as the posts in this forum and others attest, all this move will do is encourage your best contributors and many others as well to either leave, or at the very least, stop contributing new work, which may not bode well for future growth, and may harm those shareholders on whose behalf you are presumably making this move. But even if the move bodes well for shareholders, it has convinced me that I don't want to be one. 

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