Microstock - the mp3 of photography?
Then a revolution begun, nurtured by the technological evolution. The MP3 file was born. The audio digital format was there before, but now, the MP3 allowed users to send each other files thanks to its very low file size. It has its drawbacks. The bitrate that controls the size can also control what your ear hears. You lose quality... But this is not the point of this post.
The point is that in a similar way the digital cameras affected the market of stock photography. They allowed a huge army of amateurs to pursue their passion. Nikon and Canon are the first to be blamed/acclaimed for this.
Blamed by the industry in the beginning, just as the MP3 format was, the digital cameras are now part of everyone's gear. And so will microstock be. Think how popular the MP3 has gotten. We may have tapes, vinyls, audio CDs...but the new generations are armed with Mp3 players and they purchase music by song and not by albums.
That's IF they "purchase": distribution got democratized and demand&offer are now in control, not a single person or a group of persons.
The days of the collection CDs will be over. Nobody will buy 300 images of the same theme, no matter how low the price. They want control and the right tune/ photograph. Sellers are no longer controlling this, but the buyer. The customer is in control, the agency does the marketing, gives the right tools and lets him decide.
Anyone can make the perfect photo for the perfect buyer. Veterans and newcomers compete on equal grounds. It's their imagery that makes the difference as well as the buyer.
Where did the last DJ go? To MySpace, to Itunes, to Dreamstime...
Photo credits: Barbara Helgason.