RedBubble has allowed for very specific results to show for people looking for the perfect mug or shirt or a variety of other products for a friend. A pug drinking coffee? Yup. Because it’s not just a little studio with less than 15 artists but rather a whole world of contributors, the chances you’ll find your specific search term for a product are much higher.
Anyone can sign up to these kinds of sites and submit their artwork for customers to find and buy. Redbubble itself currently has hundreds of thousands of artists.
The benefits for the artist are apparent because who doesn’t love passive income from products they make. The company who hosts the artist’s content also takes a cut of every purchase, so the more available artwork to help with SEO and customer’s specific desires the better.
Redbubble has even made deals with brands to allow artists to create sellable fan art with the partner’s characters (i.e Rick and Morty fan art is completely acceptable on the platform under certain conditions).
Shutterstock does the same strategy with photos. It opens the door to the world of photographers and take a percentage of every purchase.
Buuut how sustainable is it? In 50 years won’t that model structure get overcrowded? Will artists who start posting in 2030 be relevant along with the bajillion pieces out there? It doesn’t matter that you posted a gorgeous picture of a sakura tree blooming in Spring – there are a bajillion others in the search results that are arguably just as beautiful to the average consumer.
Photographers will shift priorities. Photos in demand on Shutterstock will relate exclusively to new trends. The site is already overloaded with images of everyday or seasonal nature, so images of new technologies, fleeting cosmic moments, and more temporal phenomena will be what people will demand the most.
People hosting specific events like weddings will still want a professional photographer to capture the intimate moments that can’t be reflected in wedding stock images. Artists will seek out the same art projects along with developing their own unique style to stand out from the increasing crowds.
Companies will utilize a few new trends in the coming years with user submitted content. Print-on-demand products will utilize 3D printing in new ways, User-submitted VR content will be more relevant on sites like CGTrader, and personalized products like the “Put Me In The Story” kid’s book program will become more widespread.