Let's go back to where Adobe Stock came from for a moment: Fotolia.
Many were turned off Fotolia prior to 2016 due to their cuts to contributor commissions. At one point Fotolia’s rate was just 20% commission for new independent photographers. This raised to 23% after 100 credit sales (subscription sales equaled only 1/4 of a credit sale). Then the scale continued to climb, but most photographers would likely stay in the measly 23% – 25% royalty range for some years. Terrible to say the least – yet they did sell a lot of images.
Thankfully, this has all changed as mentioned above due to the Adobe purchase. People were nervous when Adobe announced the acquisition, but surprisingly all the changes made were for the better. A website revamp, royalty increases, friendly customer relations. Credit where credit is due – Adobe got this one totally right.
Because of this, contributors really started getting behind Adobe Stock and they haven't been disappointed.
Sales are very regular and it's not just subscription sales either. Many contributors are ranking Adobe Stock in their top 3 or so microstock agencies, with some even now finding they are out-earning Shutterstock!
While 33% isn't the highest royalty in the industry, it does feel sustainable and therefore unlikely to change. Many of the agencies that have started higher at 50% or even 60% have lowered it drastically, disappointing contributors along the way. But it feels like Adobe has settled on a workable arrangement for the long-term.