This is one I’ve had ‘on the shelf’ for some time now. It’s a stab at a pricing model to replace royalty free and rights managed. In fact, it’s a hybrid of the two models using usage and file size to create a quick and easy pricing for all types of photography.
There is yet another debate on pricing on linkedin so I thought I’d throw this one in to see if it works. While this model may not work at all it could serve as a starting point for a concerted effort to come up with something that works. What if we had “burned the boats” of rights managed, royalty free, and subscription models and had a blank sheet of paper? Are there other ways to give a commercial value to photography?
Let’s approach this as an open source pricing model. So far, the debate about pricing as been taking place within the industry. Photographers, industry experts and distributors are all weighing in with their opinions. Unfortunately, the opinions that matter most, those of the people on the receiving end of complicated pricing models, the buyer,s are missing in the debate. Perhaps buyers can engage with sellers who need to find out what they are looking for in pricing for photography. Being somewhat on the buying site myself here’s a first stab:
- Simplicity: Get a price in one or two steps and have an easy license agreement (basically without much limits)
- Predictability: Knowing the price of the product your browsing in advance, not at checkout
- Usability: Pricing that fits reasonable budgets for different uses of photography
- Flexibility: Licenses that recognise the integrated nature of media. Buy once use forever, no relicensing
- Sustainability: Pricing that recognizes that I will use more and more images but my budget won’t get bigger
There are a number of problems with pricing models currently in use. Rights Managed is lengthy to license, impossible to predict and has to be relicensed for every use. Royalty Free is inflexible and therefore too expensive for some uses. Microstock is cheap, therefore give a limited return for photographers which makes it difficult to shoot quality products. Subscriptions hold the best card as it’s simple and quick to license and re-use. Price levels are low though which may prevent investment in more expensive photography.
This model works with usage and file size. Usage because there are different needs and budgets involved for different media. Size because it’s the only thing you can really control (circulation and size can’t be checked). This hybrid of Rights Managed (usage) and Royalty Free (file size) gives clients a price list that can be viewed before purchasing, that is standard for all photography types and allows for quick and easy licensing. The levels are arbitrary, you can have some collections priced higher than others if necessary, as long as it’s simple and viewable before going down a purchase path.
Is it open to abuse? Of course, you can license an image for blog and use it for a magazine. Some people will. In general though people want to do the right thing and if this is made easier there is an incentive to do so (think iTunes). Simpler models can reduce unauthorised usage and create new markets.
So there it is, another piece in the pricing puzzle. If you like it, use it. If you don’t give your feedback here.