iStock has the lowest contributor royalties in the industry.
For some, that is reason enough to stop reading right now and move on to another agency, which is totally understandable.
If you're still reading, let me explain.
Back in their golden days, contributors were getting fair royalty rates, and had tiers to reach to increase them even higher. Many went exclusive and got even higher rates again. But now the story for independent contributors is a sad one – 15% royalty for photos, 20% for vectors and video. That is excruciatingly low and iStock should rectify that immediately. But they won't.
After being bought out by Getty Images, royalties have continued to slide. In fact, for 2022, those poor few who are still exclusive at iStock now have even higher download counts to reach to maintain or improve their royalties. Most of these numbers will be impossible, meaning in effect, another rate cut for exclusives.