01 Jun 2015 Everything you Need to Know about VIP Royalties

Microstock agencies pretend that all contributors are paid the same. It’s not true. Some contributors earn higher royalty rates than others, and not just across different “levels” and exclusivity options.

It goes by different names at different places, but the one I like best is “VIP royalties”.

I mentioned them when I wrote about negotiating with new agencies a few years ago, but let’s take a closer look.

What are VIP Royalties?

Simply put, they’re a higher royalty rate paid to some contributors.  It’s a higher rate of royalties on credit sales, and sometimes also a higher fee on flat-rate subscription payments.

How common are they?

More common than you think; at smaller, growth-oriented agencies where they recruit top microstockers directly they’re much more common than at stablished agencies.

Who gets them?

Mainly, top contributors and (inbound) distribution partners.  Contributors earn VIP royalties by having a large and high-quality portfolio, or they may just have content that’s rare but in high demand.

Where are they Available?

All new microstock agencies have them.  Almost all established microstock agencies do too, though they all deny it. Note that if the agency is super hot and easily attracting top talent, they may be less inclined to pay VIP royalties when asked.

Is easier to get higher royalties when the agency comes to you inviting you to contribute. But even that doesn’t mean you’ll get them.

The only way to have a serious shot at attaining VIP royalties is to have a portfolio that the agency needs more than you need the agency, and that usually means your portfolio needs to be super high quality and somewhat unique.  Size and production regularity are also important considerations, though don’t expect promises of future production to be taken seriously if they’re not backed up by your recent shoots.

So next time an agency contacts you inviting you to contribute, ask them if they are willing to offer you VIP royalties.  It never hurts to ask.  Just don’t be offended if they say no.

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