In December 2018, Alamy sent an email regarding their plans to cut contributor commission. From 21st February 2019, Alamy contributor commission for direct sales will change from 50% to 40%.
Initially, such change was supposed to affect all contributors but later in January 2019 they said that after considering photographers feedback, images exclusive to Alamy would remain at 50%. In the same email of 7th January they informed the beginning of the standard 45 day notice period before the new contract comes into effect.
There are many concerns expressed by contributing photographers. Those who cannot afford selling their content as exclusive are affected the most. Ten percent drop may not be significant when you sell an image for USD 4, but it is more prominent if Alamy license your work for USD 200.
In a letter to James West, Alamy’s CEO, the British Press Photographers’ Association insisted Alamy should reconsider their decision. In the BPPA’s opinion, Alamy should still pay existing contributors 50 per cent and change commission structure only for new contributors.
Resulting from the fact that this year’s cut followed a cut from 60% to 50% in 2010, some photographers have already terminated their contracts, others threatened to do so.
James West has explained the reasons for the commission changes in his YouTube video: