Envato Market Contributor Review

Our Envato Market Contributor Review contains everything you need to know about selling stock media with Envato Market and Envato Elements.

Make informed choices about where to sell your stock images. Is Envato Market right for you as a contributor? Read on to find out.

Review Updated: 2020

Envato Market is HUGE but you may never have heard of it.

You may know them by their older, individual names – ThemeForest, AudioJungle, GraphicRiver and VideoHive to name just a few. They sell everything from audio to web templates & WordPress plugins – and stock photography.  They have made a massive success of their sites, with some contributors selling over $1,000,000 worth of content!

In addition, they now run Envato Elements – an all-you-can-eat style subscription based site for stock media.

Part 1: Envato Market Contributor Royalties

First, some history on Envato Market and royalties.

  • 2011 – raised their commission rate for independents from 25% to 33%. This was of course a welcome change, but a needed one as 25% was one of the lowest in microstock.
  • 2015 – restructured their whole pricing system, to a much more complicated one. The short story for independent contributors is that this change raised commissions to 36%.
  • 2017 – Author driven pricing begins rolling out to the different segments of Envato Market.

So, what is the royalty rate then? It’s not that simple.

With author driven pricing, you now set your own price (“item price”) from which they will deduct a fee (which changes depending on the media type) and then they add a buyer fee on top of that, to finally arrive at the sale price. Confused? So are many contributors. But the bottom line is, if you do your math, you can get exactly what you want to get per sale, rather than a fixed percentage of an agency-chosen price point.

Despite the complexity, author driven pricing is a welcome change. If you want to earn $5 per photo sale, you can do it. Want $50 per video? No problem. As long as buyers are willing to pay, you are able to earn what you think your stock media is worth.

Envato Elements Contributor Royalties

The royalty structure for Envato Elements is even more complicated.

In fact, it’s so complicated, I’m not even going to try and explain it. You need to understand Revenue Share and Subscriber Share methodologies, which they explain in detail on their site.

Personally, I wouldn’t look at Envato Elements too hard and try and break down the dollars and cents. In my mind, it’s a bonus program that you will never be able to fully decipher. But based purely on my experience, it has been worthwhile.

ROYALTY RATES:

100%*

* Author driven pricing

MEDIA TYPES:

Stock photos
Vector illustrations
Footage (including 4k)
Audio (effects & tracks)
Wordpress Themes
Plugins
Fonts
& More

SALE TYPES:

Individual Sales (Market)
Subscriptions (Elements)

Part 2: Envato Market Contributor Website & Apps

This huge collection of sites had its humble beginnings in 2006. Sadly, evidence of that can still be seen.

As the sites have grown and come under the Envato Market umbrella, it often feels like a bunch of different sites stitched loosely together. Which it is. Rather than make a totally cohesive experience, it often feels a little dated and confusing as a contributor (and as a buyer).

While many efforts are made on buyer-facing improvements, the interface for contributors is not an easy one.

It will be different for each media type you are submitting. In addition, the steps to submit media types are far more involved than any other stock agency. While this could be seen as a good barrier for entry to prevent a flood of material, it certainly makes life painful when uploading.

There is no official app for contributors, but some ingenious contributors have built their own apps which you can choose to use if you wish.

Watch The Envato Elements Video

Part 3: Envato Market Contributor Earnings Experience

My mixture of stock photos, vectors, sound effects and videos worked well on Envato Market since 2011. I was in the top 200 photo contributors (now somewhere around the 300 mark I believe). But then two big changes came along.

  1.  In 2017 they made a huge change and deleted around 80% of their entire stock photo catalogue. This of course meant a lot of contributors with nothing left in their portfolios. Mine shrunk to a little over 350 photos instead of around 5,000. Additionally, they removed size variations and left only one size. This meant those who were used to paying $1 for a tiny web image now were faced with perhaps a $5 fee for the same image. These changes irritated not only contributors, but buyers as well. Many left, and I doubt will ever return.
  2. Envato Elements. While they promised Elements would not eat into the Market earnings, inevitably it has and they continue to advertise heavily for Elements on the Market itself, further shifting buyers across. Photo sales dropped dramatically.

2019 has seen my earnings on Envato Market drop to around 50% of 2018.

But there’s more to the story than just that alarming figure. Envato Elements certainly is growing. In fact, if you combine Elements and Market together, Envato has accounted for one of my highest earning agencies for the last few years.

One of the keys to this is being included in the Envato Elements ‘Contributor Bonus’ payments each month. Around September 2019, a change was made so that you will only get this bonus (and a smaller share of it than we used to) if you have a certain number of new assets uploaded in a 3 month period.

This wouldn’t be such an issue, except it is getting harder and harder to get new content accepted. If this keeps up, I expect my earnings to drop considerably.

Envato Market Contributor Review Highlights

SALES

Regular sales on both Market & Elements

ROYALTIES

Author driven pricing

TOOLS

Limited, but sufficient

BEST FOR

Film-makers, audio & WordPress themes

Part 4: Envato Elements Contributor Recommendations

If you’re a WordPress theme or plugin author or perhaps even an audio track producer, you may want to consider exclusivity. Not only do they sell a lot of this kind of content, but as you sell more you will reduce your author fee, meaning a bigger slice of the pie for you. This really doesn’t make sense though for all media types. Photographers for instance would not want to be exclusive there.

Stock video producers will do well at Envato, especially with the author driven pricing meaning you can get what you want per sale.

If it wasn’t for their insanely strict and inconsistent reviewing, I would recommend them more highly. But this fact alone makes me a little hesitant, as even seasoned stock contributors will randomly struggle to get anything accepted.

But other than that, if you are ok with the Envato Elements subscription model, then my recommendation is to be a contributor with Envato. The earnings should make up for any annoyances along the way.