If you’re an iStock contributor, you likely got an email from Getty on recently headlined “2023 iStock Exclusive Download Targets and Rate Card” — here’s what it’s all about.
In a nutshell, iStock pays different royalty percentages based on the number of downloads you’ve reached during the calendar year.. if you’re an exclusive contributor.
If you’re non-exclusive, their royalty rate is 20%. Yeah, one of the lowest in the industry. 😬
If you’re exclusive, and that means your clips on iStock are only on iStock, you can earn between 25–45% per sale. That sounds nice, but this is yet one more reason in my book to not sell exclusive. You have to hit 45,675 downloads in the calendar year to start getting 45% royalties per sale.
I had around 138 downloads at iStock in 2022. To reach 45,675+ downloads during a year, you’d probably have to have several hundred thousand clips online.
TL;DR — think twice before taking the bait on iStock’s “high” royalty rates for exclusive clips.
Shutterstock does something similar, but across the board (not just for exclusive contributors). I’ll break down their approach soon.