Shutterstock Making Bank Off of Generative AI Licensing


The latest gold rush in the world of tech is artificial intelligence.

assorted-color folder lot
Assorted-color folder lot. Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral

From writing code to creating videos and images, generative AI is already one of the world’s youngest and biggest industries and demand is only expected to grow in the future.

But to get here, all of these models needed training data and this is where firms like Shutterstock step into the picture.

Home to millions of images of practically anything and everything you can imagine, the Shutterstock archive likely provides an ideal learning environment for generative AI that focuses on photography and video.

And it looks like it brought in Shutterstock no less than $USD 104 million in licensing fees just last year alone, Bloomberg reports.

Not only is Shutterstock making money now, but they’re projecting heady profits from AI licensing into the future. In the next few years, the company expects to make at least $USD 250 million per year from AI licensing agreements, underscoring just how lucrative and critical vendors like Shutterstock are for AI platforms.

Of course, the debate here is about jobs, namely commercial photography and otherwise. As these models become increasingly sophisticated, people wonder about the viability of professional photography in the future. We covered a story on here about how consumers preferred AI-created food images – until they were told they were created by artificial intelligence. That seems to suggest that acceptance of artificial media is really more of a cultural seachange than an impossibility and it has more than a few of us worried for the future of the photography profession.

Any thoughts that you might have on companies like Shutterstock licensing content for generative AI are welcome in the comments.

We have some more headlines for you to read at this link right here.

About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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