Earnings Breakdown of Full Time Microstockers
Last January MicrostockGroup organized a survey for everyone contributing content to the Microstock marketplace. Here is the First Look of the results from the survey. You can also find the ‘disclaimer’ in that post if you are interested . The survey is still live, and will be for the next few weeks. If you haven’t contributed your stats, you still have the chance. To date there are 606 people who have answered the survey.
Full Time Microstock Artists Analyzed
Of the 606 artists who answered the survey, 150 of these consider their microstock income as their ‘Primary Income’. A much larger representation than last year’s 76 full time artists, giving us much better data to look at. In the survey, the question asked if microstock contributed to more than 50% of their total income. This analysis is going to look at these 150 artists, those I would consider to be ‘full time’ microstockers. Full time, in this sense has to be used rather loosely as a stay at home mom who has microstock as her only income isn’t working at microstock ‘full time’ yet may have micro as 100% of her income. Similarly someone who has been laid off from their office job and is job hunting and doing microstock on the side will again earn 100% from microstock yet not technically be working full time in microstock.
Average Time Spent per Week
Average: 27.5 hours
Median: 25 hours
Maximum: 100 hours
Minimum: 1 hour
Number of people who spend more than 20 hours / week: 113 People
When putting the info into a bar graph, it becomes clear that the majority of those who have microstock as their primary income are spending an significant portion on microstock.
Show Me the Money!
The question everyone wants an answer to, how much are full time microstock photographers earning?
Here are the gross earning stats for the 150 ‘full time’ microstockers
The median is considerably lower than the average which means there are a few microstock artists who are pulling the average up. How many, and what is the breakdown? This requires another graph
I have put all 150 photographers onto this graph. I have capped the top of the graph at $225,000 as the one artist earning $450,000 was out on his own. When chopping off the highest earner, the graph follows a pretty smooth, albeit steep, curve. There is also an interesting jump in earnings at $50,000. I find this display of earnings quite encouraging actually. It isn’t one or two artists who are collecting all the money, it is indeed a small group of artists, but a group large enough that anyone should be able to be a part of it with a little talent and focus.
Percentage of Total Income
The survey also asked how much microstock earnings contributed to the respondents total income. Amongst the full time artists, the results are as follows:
Artists earnings 100% of their income from Microstock: 39 (26%)
39 artists earning 100% of their total income from microstock doesn’t sound like a very high number but it represents 6.4% of the total respondents which is quite a few people. I expect that is a good number of the total full time artists in the entire industry. Many, if not most artists have at least a little secondary income (from private clients or something else) they diversify their income with. Speaking from experience however, it is extremely liberating to work entirely within microstock and drop the hassle of clients
Exclusive or Non-Exclusive
The survey had an over representation of iStock exclusive contributers. 22.94% of the total 606 respondents were exclusive compared to the 14.63% of the total microstock population iStock Charts claims are exclusive. Within the full time segment, the exclusive representation is higher. A total of 27% of full time artists were exclusive.
Full Time Microstock Artists Exclusive Status
Exclusive Artists: 27%
Non Exclusive: 73%
Media Types Submitted
I think there is a lot of interesting data that could be looked at in regards to media types and earnings. To start us off however, here is a simple look at the media types full time microstockers are submitting
Photography: 122 people
Illustration: 63 people
Video: 29 people
Audio: 6 people
Photography is still by far the most popular media type, however illustration certainly has decent representation. I expect video and audio will increase over the next few years as artists try to diversify and new artists who specialize in video or audio discover the microstock market.
There is no end to data that could be pulled from the survey results. What are you interested in seeing in regards to full time artists? What other break down segmentation are you interested in?