iStock Royalty Changes – Simplified Version

iStock Royalty Changes Explained

There is a lot of talk (to put it mildly) in the Microstock world today about a recent announcement from iStock.  They are making changes to how their royalty structure works, for both exclusives and non-exclusives as well as introducing a new collection to the iStock database.  Due to the very large changes there seems to be a lot of confusion.  The point of this post is to get everyone up to speed on what the changes will be before heading off into the 10+ pages of forum posts (and counting) on MicrostockGroup Forum and 92+ pages on iStock.  In an effort to keep this post as simple as possible, I have tried to keep it void of any opinion.

Royalty Changes

  • The royalty structure change will take effect January 2011
  • Your royalty rate for 2011 will be determined by the amount of CREDITS  (not to be confused with individual sales) your images sell in 2010.  Then, in 2012 your royalty rate will be determined by the number of credits you sell in 2011, that is to say the number of credits you sell the previous year.
  • Cannister levels (previously used for the royalty structure) will now only be used to determine upload limits.
  • There are no changes as to when you can apply for exclusivity.  This is still based on your cannister level.
  • Non-exclusive photographers will make between 15-20% royalties, while exclusive photographers will earn 25-45% royalties.
  • Breakdown of the entire 2011 Royalty Structure

Vetta Changes

  • Vetta royalties will be decreased but prices for the images increased
  • Vetta images will be sold on the Getty site
  • Vectors will be removed from the Vetta collection and put back in the regular exclusive collection with more changes to come in the future.

New Collection Changes (the Agency Collection)

  • iStock is introducing a new collection into the iStock database.  Currently on iStock there are non-exclusive images, exclusive images and Vetta images all shown to buyers, soon there will be a fourth type of images – the Agency Collection
  • This collection will be sold iStock, Getty Images, Jupiter and PunchStock
  • Images for this collection are being taken from the traditional stock market.
  • iStock will, at the end of the month hand pick exclusive iStock contributers to submit to this collection.
  • Prices for the Agency Collection will be higher than Vetta

Further Reading and Discussion



MicrostockGroup Forum Discussion
Original iStock announcement and discussion thread

Blog Posts


Did I miss anything?  Was this understandable?

About The Author:

Tyler Olson works as a microstock photographer who also runs the MicrostockGroup forum and blog. Being so closely involved in the microstock community as a submitter, forum moderator and blogger, Tyler is able to keep updated in the constantly changing microstock marketplace.
Posted on September 8th, 2010 in Microstock News | tags: , ,
  • Bobo

    The royalty rates database provides easy-to-use, reliable and detailed data on the most recent agreements involving intellectual property.