In some ways, the Internet has made it easier for photographers to get noticed. There is a virtually unlimited audience of potentially billions of people who can view, share and buy your work.
In other ways, the Internet has completely devalued photography. Anyone can snap a photo and upload it - and this is part of the problem. You can type (almost) anything into Google Images, and you’ll be presented with more images than you could ever hope to look at.
As a result, we’ve reached the point where a photographer can spend hours and hours lining up the perfect shot and setting up their equipment, editing their photographs and uploading them to the Internet, all to receive virtually no payout.
The Problem with Centralized Stock Content Platforms
Let’s look at Shutterstock, a global provider of stock photography that claims to offer "the best quality, royalty free stock images, photos, vectors, illustrations, footage, video and music for nearly any application."
However, the rates that Shutterstock pays its photographers definitely do not reflect this claim. While the website claims that its contributors can earn up to 40% commission each time customers download their images or videos, this is only the case in rare circumstances. According to its website, Shutterstock photographers need to have over 25,000 images licensed in a single calendar year in order to earn this rate. On the contrary, users with less than 100 images licensed in a single calendar year will earn only 15% commission.
As a result of relying on these large centralized platforms to sell their work, creators end up forfeiting all of the rights to their work, and selling it for significantly less than it is worth.
Thankfully, the rise of blockchain technology could be about to change this. Crypto-based platforms like Envision are facilitating the peer-to-peer exchange of stock content.
Blockchain Technology Could be the End of Photographers Handing Over Their Rights and Paying High Fees
Envision enables creators to set the price for their own content, and avoid paying large chunks of their income to a centralized platform while handing over the rights to their work. In addition, rewards are handed over to creators for upload and download incentives.
Ultimately, the platform ends the requirement for unfair contracts that are currently pervasive across all centralized stock content sites such as Shutterstock, and instead facilitates peer-to-peer exchange of stock content using (VIS) ERC-20 tokens.
Each piece of content is accompanied by a non-fungible token (NFT), which provides proof of ownership of that content, and gives the content creator the option to sell complete ownership rights, the rights to a single piece of content, or the rights to one of many pieces of content. No paperwork is required for this NFT smart contract, as it will automatically keep a digital record.
The price of the content will be displayed and ultimately paid in VIS tokens. However, given the extreme volatility of crypto, content creators will control the price of their content in FIAT terms - specifically, USD. As the adoption of VIS increases, those who pre-purchase and hold VIS tokens will be rewarded with decreased cost of content in FIAT terms.
This model provides multiple benefits for the consumer as well as the creator, who ends up getting high quality content at a reduced price, without needing to shell out lots of money for a subscription that they might not even end up using (because let’s face it, how much money have we all lost from forgetting to cancel a subscription after trying to buy one inexpensive thing from a website?).
Envision is Disrupting the Stock Media Industry and Toppling Giants like Shutterstock and Getty
Despite being a young company, Envision is expecting to be the first to market in the stock media industry with a blockchain-based solution, and is set to disrupt current industry giants who compete with high volume and low pricing strategies.
More importantly, it will be the first large stock media platform that compensates creators fairly for their work, while providing them with autonomy and control over their creations.
So if you’re a photographer looking for a way to get a fair cut for your creations and you haven’t yet looked into blockchain-based solutions, Envision might be a good place to start.