Imaging Sales Market Broken From The Top

I have received quite a few comments on my previous post on the imaging marketplace, and I am attempting to clarify my condensed writing.

The market for selling photographs is fundamentally different from that of selling music, books, or other goods. Rather than selling “premium” supply as defined by the number of people who buy the same product, the value of a photograph is defined by how little it sells (just like art). Fundamentally a photography superstore (like Getty Images, Corbis, Jupiter Images, and even Digital Railroad) that sells the same image the way Amazon sells books yields the wrong value to the buyer.

A buyer doesn’t want the photograph he is about to purchase see appear in deep circulation. Yet, a reader of a book makes a buying decision based on popular opinion (Oprah, iTunes) and purchases it too. Selling images (and art) requires an inverted superstore that derives its value from the massive distinctive images it sells. Coincidentally the imaging marketplace has changed dramatically from a monolithic market (between agency and pro-photographer) to a Long Tail of supply and demand (between anyone and anyone).

A fantastic opportunity lies ahead to create a new marketplace for photography that caters to the latest and high growth audiences. Don’t get discouraged by the pufferfish of the imaging industry, that portray they own the market. They don’t.

The sign of an intelligent nation is its willingness and ability to reinvent itself, upstream. Let’s inspire the world with new rigors of excellence we first and successfully apply to ourselves.

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