Version: 1.0, last update: Nov 1, 2022
Web2 creator economies have experienced a seismic shift towards centralization in recent years. Stock content markets like Getty Images, Adobe Stock, and Shutterstock have enabled creators worldwide to market their stock media content while providing a way for people to access those stock creations easily. However, a trending consolidation of these marketplaces has led to a monopoly of mega-companies who retain a 90%+ majority control over the $4 billion digital content industry1. By 20272, the sector is expected to surpass $7 billion.
While demand for stock photos, videos, music, and designs continues to surge across the global market, the creator experience on centralized platforms has continually diminished in terms of revenue, to the point where major platforms like Shutterstock pay only 15-40% in commissions to creators3. Each creator is beholden to the platform’s payout schedule and censorship policies, with zero access to transactional data. Centralized marketplaces build their brand equity upon the high quality content of creators, while eliminating any opportunity for the creators to build their own brands.
Creators using centralized marketplaces must navigate a system where assurances of copyright integrity are declining. Anyone can initiate a dispute over copyright ownership, but the system does not always eliminate unauthorized use and can be easily abused.
Licensors of digital content have no way to determine if and how an image has been used in the past when using centralized marketplaces.
There’s no easy way to prove their rights to use the work publicly or transfer the license to others. They are also responsible for storing their assets at their own risk and may lose access to original files if they no longer have their accounts on centralized marketplaces. With the rise of Web3 technologies, a decentralized platform casts the promise to replace today’s consolidated marketplaces and solve many of the inherent problems. Such technologies include (but are not limited to):
- Blockchain-based token economies: Give creators new types of revenue streams with added growth opportunities.
- Smart contracts: Provide the automated means for licensing transactions to increase efficiency and transparency, create real-time P2P payment mechanisms, and advance copyright integrity.
- Public blockchain ledgers: Enable an immutable public record of creative ownership and copyright licenses that can be easily verified.
- Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs): Allow for a more fair, community-centered governance model for creator economies.
When utilized in tandem, these technologies can empower a decentralized platform where creators retain control of their revenue and audiences while having the copyright protections necessary for navigating the global content market. With a digitally native solution, it is now possible to disrupt the current marketplace domination to create a next-generation platform that is in step with the emerging digital economy.1. Shutterstock: Unique Market Leadership Does Not Justify Higher Valuation2. Stock Images And Videos Market - Global Outlook & Forecast 2022-20273. Shutterstock: Earnings breakdown for photos, illustrations, and vectors