I was just wondering about the notion put forward that getting 1000 sales at $1 each is the same as one sale at $1000; there must be some awfully boring and time-consuming work involved in going through 1000 different $1 sales reports...
In the long run, I think that the idea that there HAS to be room for all sorts of stock outlets is true and is the only possible outcome; that the buying market will find its own area of suppliers is also probably true, but as Alain points out here and in his recent Lu-La article, the bulk marketing of anything takes a hell of a toll on time and resources and, ultimately, on the quality of the goods on offer.
My own experiences with stock started back in the late 70s and ended more or less with the advent of CD sales; it became very clear to me that change were irreversibly afoot and that it was costing me a heck of a lot more to produce stock than it used to. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my stock was largely derived from commissioned work 'extras' which became available to me that way. As this was mainly with calendar models and the opportunities for travel pics afforded by the foreign locations, it all made commercial sense. However, another unwelcomed storm was lurking just below the horizon: the madness imported to Britain from some of the more strident sisters in some US colleges and universities: political correctness.
Almost at a stroke, clients became afraid of pretty girls; pretty girls began to lose a hell of a lot of work and so did photogaphers who worked with them. This was all greeted with whoops of joy by the similarly weird women of some of the UK establishments who imagined that because their more attractive sisters were now less visible, it would somehow make their own plainess less apparent. Yes, of course...
Thing is, most of the girls I worked with were really very nice people, felt not in the least exploited (laughed at the very idea, as did their bank managers) and were simply doing the best with the deal that mother nature had handed to them.
Anyway, like cheapo stock, the situation was created and nobody won very much of anything whilst many, like myself, lost a hell of a lot!
So, getting closer to the stock theme: after investigating different agency options, I realised that for MY TYPE of interest, there simply was no future. Others will have different experiences - that's the way it goes. I simply happen to believe that photography, when you are as committed to it as I have been all my life and it has been my provider all that time, deserves a better deal from ME, the doer of the deed. In other words, if I feel I'm prostituting it then I carry the guilt; as I feel guilty enough for many things in my life already, that's one additional guilt I can avoid!
Ciao - Rob C