On June 1st, Shutterstock unveiled a new royalty structure that infuriated photographers, sparked widespread criticism, and even inspired an online petition with over 7,500 signatures. On that same day, Dreamstime increased royalties by 10% to support their contributors during this difficult time.
The announcement was made via the company blog on May 29th (two days after the Shutterstock controversy broke), and to their credit, Dreamstime didn’t mention their competitor’s woes. But to quote Michael Scott, “the timing was nothing short of predominant.”
In that announcement, Dreamstime CEO Serban Enache announced multiple initiatives meant to support their contributor community, including releasing several “creativity guides” for photographers, allowing customers to pause their plans for 2 months at no additional cost, and even adding a section to their website where non-profit organizations can apply for free visual content.
But the biggest and most relevant news for photographers is that, after keeping their royalties’ structure unchanged for 15 years, Dreamstime has increased contributor royalties by 10% starting across the board, for all downloads, regardless of the exclusive or non-exclusive status.” That means a photo that earns 50% will now earn 55%. Enache calls it “a relief stimulus.”
“While we have committed to ensuring financial stability for our employees, our +620,000 creative community will benefit from the extra 10% financial incentive. No matter how small, all help matters,” writes Enache. “The stock photo industry has experienced its own economic contraction but we’re hoping to pay our contributors these increased royalties for as long as possible.”
Enache says he can’t guarantee how long this pay bump will last, but it went into effect on June 1st and there is not established end date. Even if it only lasts for a month or two, every little bit helps—we doubt anyone will start an online petition protesting this particular change.