I’ve had a few quiet weeks at my day-job and been researching about exciting/scary times we’re rapidly heading towards….the all-encompassing immersive Metaverse, where the virtual and real world are soon to merge! Perhaps it’s even the next stage of our evolution…
By now you know that I love following and writing about present/upcoming trends but also focusing on how we, stock photographers / videographers may profit from it within our side-hustle.
What is the Metaverse, Featuring “Meta”
Facebook is going all-in on the Metaverse investing literally Billions of Dollars into this massive project (much more than Apple did when it launched the first iPhone), even changing it’s iconic name from “Facebook” to “Meta”.
Here’s what Mark has to say about the Project:
The Technology is still in it’s infancy
Flashback to 1995 when I first logged onto the Internet (or the “Information Superhighway” as it was often referred). I was 12 years old and asked my dad his permission to go over to his computer and try it out when my parents weren’t using the phone line lol. He gave me 30 minutes as we only had a limited time per month of usage.
After dialing up on the 56K (with that annoying sound) it’s funny to recall how the first-ever subject I searched for on the Netscape Navigator was for Goosebumps books which were hugely popular for teenagers at the time. I used to love the graphic covers so perhaps it’s influenced me now to create book covers for Arcangel. Great stories too.
How did the 1995 browser look like?
The Netscape browser at the time looked awkward and slow…something like below and of course way before smartphones even existed:
Think of the Metaverse of today as what was the Internet in 1995
From my research, analysts are confident that the Metaverse of today is similar to the internet from 1995 and we all know how far it has progressed/ is progressing (we’re currently in Web 2.0 heading towards Web 3.0). In summary, the Metaverse has unlimited potential and scope to have a dramatic impact in both our personal and professional lives starting within the next few years.
Virtual casino gambling as an example
If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I love to play poker and do make some money from it (as well as shooting tournaments). For instance, I’m looking forward, in a few years, to put on a Virtual Reality headset and be able to “sit” at a virtual poker table with other players and play for real money, which would be a cryptocurrency as Non-Fungible Tokens.
Below is just an example with the graphics still being a bit of a joke for now…but soon we won’t be able to differentiate between what is real and what is not, perhaps…
Massive scope to drastically change our behaviours
The scope is obviously massive and much much larger than virtual gambling and will be all-encompassing. Just think of applications related to:
- Sports viewing;
- Gaming; and
For a more immersive retail experience, check out the analysis from the awesome Tom Cruise film, Minority Report.
Let’s now focus on our own niche of stock photos and videos…
Photos and Videos as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
Now this is where it gets a little more technical. According to Wikipedia:
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data on a digital ledger called a blockchain, where each NFT can represent a unique digital item, and thus they are not interchangeable. NFTs can represent digital files such as art, audio, videos, items in video games and other forms of creative work. The NFTs can be bought on an NFT market.
In other words, NFTs can really be anything digital, such as drawings, music, but a lot of the current excitement is around using the technology to buy and sell digital art. For each NFT there is a unique code within blockchain.
Ditching the Greedy Microstock Agencies?
Having control of your own work and being able to determine how many copies to sell/license and at what price seems to be a dream for all microstock contributors. After all, we’re tired of seeing our work being sold for dirt-cheap, even as low as 2cents on iStock and agencies earnings upwards of 85% of commission. So NFTs may be a way to license our work
According to fabionodariphoto:
The biggest difference between the classic stock agencies like Getty, Alamy, etc, and marketplaces that allow you to sell NFTs is that the value of the work is decided by the artist (or through an auction) and not by the agency itself. Also, there are no middlemen who take most of your earnings in commissions. Typically, photo agencies keep between 50% and 70% of the sale price in commissions. NFT platforms keep a small commission but it is really low (around 2/3 %).
With NFT you have a cost to create the file, but the cost is related to the blockchain used and not to the site used to sell the work. After the initial cost, you can keep all the earnings (if and when you manage to sell the file). The downside (quite big honestly) is that it is up to you to promote your work.
James Wheeler, discusses Blockchain and Stock Photography
James Wheeler co-founder of Photoloo, has just posted a video in which he discusses an idea for a new stock photography agency based on blockchain technology.
What about earning outside of Microstock – See this interesting video
I’m still trying to figure all of this out…
I’m not a techie and much of this appears a bit complex and even dystopian, but at the same time I’m truly exciting about what is to come. So watch this space as I’ll be back soon with updates. In the meantime, if you have some comments/thoughts/questions please ask away!
In the meantime, I’m thinking of trying to create concepts related to this emerging trend (see search result for “Metaverse” on Shutterstock).
I see that Steve Heap has already got a head-start! 😀
I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Madrid, Spain, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage when things go back to relative normal (Spring 2022??). I’ve devoted nine years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer (however, had recently go back into full-time office work to make ends meet, although it’s coming to an end soon). I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.
I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography