Storyblocks Changes Marketplace Commission Structure

Posted on 9/14/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

In an effort to drive more Marketplace sales Storyblocks has lowered its commission to 50%. When the company (then known as Videoblocks) launched its Marketplace offering in 2015 the company offered still images and video clips at dramatically, discounted prices compared to its competitors. However, they paid creators 100% of the money received from the licensing of their work. As a result creators ended up earning more for each image licensed than they would if the image was licensed by one of the other stock agencies that paid royalties that were a small percentage of the total license fee.

Videoblocks funded its operational costs with the subscription fees it charged every customer. Anyone interested in using an image or clip from the Marketplace collection had to be an annual subscriber to Videoblocks, even if they never used any of the free images available to subscribers.

After the commission change the sale price for Marketplace video clips remains at $49 although after listening to feedback from contributors the HD price will be raised to $79 in mid October. Image prices will remain at $3.99. There are currently 20 million clips in the Marketplace collection and 10 million still images.

In August 2015 when I asked Founder and then CEO, Joel Holland, “Is the 100% royalty just an introductory offer, or is it expected to continue forever?” He answered, “Forever. We intend to be the most artist friendly stock video company in existence.”

In today’s rapidly changing world, I guess “Forever” is now defined as 3 years. :)

Recently, TJ Leonard, Storyblocks CEO said, “During the first couple years, Marketplace sales grew quickly. Over the same period, the cost of hosting millions of media files, reviewing content, and operating the contributor platform also increased. Because all our revenue comes from subscriptions, we started prioritizing our Member Library in order to build a thriving business that could absorb the growing Marketplace expenses. This led to contributor sales flattening out as we promoted Member Library content over the Marketplace.

“To get Marketplace sales back on track, we need to make a change that may sting in the short term. We've examined all options, and it's clear that we must adjust our commission structure in order to align our business needs with the needs of our contributor community."

They launched the 50/50 commission structure on August 1st. It applies to all Marketplace sales of both video and still images. Contributor License Agreement are also being updated to reflect this change.

In addition, in mid-August they made changes in their video and search experience. That has resulted in a larger percent of their customer base actually purchasing from Marketplace rather than just going after the free images available as part of their subscriptions.

Leonard continued, “We know this change will impact your earnings over the short term, and for that we apologize. Our goal is to meet and exceed historical earnings as quickly as possible through several new initiatives aimed at boosting sales and improving our contributor experience.”

Copyright © 2018 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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