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Selling Licenses to Digital Asset Libraries: A Creator’s Guide

Creators of original digital assets like photos, videos, templates, 3D models, fonts, and more can earn substantial passive royalty income by selling multi-seat licenses to their content catalogs. Buyers ranging from global brands to indie studios purchase affordable licenses allowing incorporating creators’ assets across diverse commercial projects.

By uploading expansive, niche content libraries to leading creator marketplaces, then promoting assets strategically, digital artists can build sustainable asset licensing side-hustles or full businesses.

Here is a comprehensive guide to legally and profitably selling licenses to your digital asset catalogs:

Building Substantial Asset Libraries

Focus first on producing sizable inventories of niche quality content:

Consistently Generate Diverse Content

Shoot daily to build up hundreds of on-brand photos, videos, graphics, templates etc. Variety attracts buyers seeking options.

Capture Both Horizontal and Vertical

Mix content useful across many contexts like nature b-roll along with niche vertically targeted assets with more specific utility.

Produce Stylized Sets and Collections

Group standout photos, videos, templates etc into cohesive stylized sets around specific themes, aesthetics and uses. Buyers license entire sets.

Follow Commercial Style Guidelines

Review style guides on marketplaces for on-demand assets suited for business applications like office lifestyle videos and diverse ethnic photoshoot models.

Optimize Technical Requirements

Meet marketplace specifications like image resolution, video codecs, model releases and metadata requirements.

Organize Files Meticulously

Implement a clear file naming convention and library organization system to easily locate and manage assets. Add keywords and descriptions.

Tagging Assets for Discovery

Optimize assets for search visibility:

Include Detailed Titles

Use lengthy descriptive titles including critical identifying keywords clients search like “smiling multi-ethnic business team collaborating on project in office”.

Write Robust Descriptions

Expand on titles summarizing what the asset shows and ideal contextual usage ideas to help buyers envision implementing it. Include technical specs.

Add Extensive Tags

Include all relevant descriptive keyword tags like objects, emotions, colors, genre and location. More tags amplify search matches.

Transcribe Audio

For video and audio assets, provide complete written transcripts and descriptions to expose spoken words to search.

Standardize Metadata

Complete IPTC and XMP metadata fields so assets are categorized and identified by details like creator, creation date, location etc.

Thorough titles, descriptions and keywords direct ideal buyers to your assets when they search those exact terms on marketplaces. Metadata provides secondary discovery clues.

Comparing Leading Digital Asset Marketplaces

Consider these popular platforms for licensing:

Adobe Stock

Massive collection with over 200 million assets. Integration with Creative Cloud. Higher commissions but large reach.


Over 400 million royalty-free assets. One of the largest networks. Contributors earn 15-40% per license.


Owned by Getty. Over 60 million resources. Exclusive tools for contributors. Over 65% commission rates.


Specializes in video but has other creative digital assets. Very strong video traffic. Generous 50% lifetime payouts.


Large selection of over 200 million specialized stock like editorial, historical, celebrity and events. Managed pricing tiers.


Popular free collection and subscriber-based premium assets. One of the top options. Over 40% commission rates.

Research marketplaces thoroughly to evaluate commission splits, reach, content needs, exclusivity requirements, payment terms, and partnership opportunities. Set up accounts.

Creating Effective Listing Pages

Convert browsers into buyers with compelling listing pages:

Lead with Strong Previews

Feature eye-catching title graphics, cover images and video previews representing the asset instantly visually. Avoid generic thumbnails.

Summarize Clearly What’s Included

List every individual file, item and media format included in the download package completely. Reduce product surprise.

Showcase Asset Flexibility

Curate preview images demonstrating assets implemented across multiple diverse use cases and edited differently. Showcase creative flexibility.

Share Usage Rights Upfront

Disclose allowed licenses, restrictions and attribution requirements transparently so buyers can evaluate fit for intended projects immediately.

Suggest Contexts and Applications

Provide descriptive examples of potential implementation ideas the asset would be well-suited for like logos, websites, merchandise etc. Inspire clients.

Link to Full Portfolio

Cross-link between marketplace pages and your full website portfolio to allow deeper site exploration about brand, services, and catalog scope.

Pricing Asset Licenses Strategically

Maximize earning potential while retaining broad access:

Common Marketplace License Models

  • Royalty Free – Single license for perpetual commercial use
  • Rights Managed – More limited licenses for specific applications, regions etc.
  • Editorial – For news, commentary, educational contexts only with restrictions
  • Extended – Licenses granting more exclusivity, seat transfers, indemnification

Analyze Category Rates

Research pricing norms across photography, video footage, templates, 3D models and other asset genres. Align with category and quality expectations.

Consider Production Expenses

Account for equipment, software, subscription, talent and purchase costs producing assets when pricing for profitability.

Factor Prospective Volume

Price lower anticipating high-volume broad usage to maximize distribution over quick per-unit profits. But avoid devaluing work.

Offer Resolution-Based Pricing

Price higher for ultra-high resolution source files beyond standard compressed sizes. This unlocks premium commercial applications.

Provide Volume Discounts

Offer decreasing license costs based on larger quantities purchased especially for enterprise clients with big needs.

Promoting Assets to Attract Business Buyers

Increase discovery beyond just marketplace visibility:

Share Free Samples

Provide a few free low-res assets new prospects can test out to experience quality and get comfortable with usage terms.

Showcase Licenses In Use

Get permission from buyers to publicly display how major brands have licensed your assets for social proof like video scenes, product labels, office decor.

Run Retargeting Ads

Remarket to visitors who browsed your portfolio across channels like Facebook and Google steering them back to purchase.

Develop Referral Programs

Incentivize existing satisfied corporate clients to refer your asset catalog internally and to other brands for commissions.

Promote at Trade Events

Exhibit at industry events your buyers attend like tech, marketing, design conferences distributing codes redeemable for discounts.

Make Press Kits

Prepare pitches showcasing your best assets with licensing details to send industry publications for product roundups, gift guides and reviews.

Expanding visibility beyond just passive marketplace presence accelerates discovering your niche catalog and builds direct business relationships.

Fulfilling Licenses & Deliverables

Deliver seamless professional buying experiences:

Offer Instant Digital Downloads

Allow direct no-wait downloads from the marketplace upon purchase to provide content instantly available when needed for projects.

Prepare Licensing Agreements

Have clear terms of use and licensing contracts prepared covering allowed usages, restrictions, indemnification and processing. Send copies upon purchase.

Automate License Delivery

Tools like Easy License Manager allow instant license certificate delivery, downloading directions and watermark removal automatically using email automation when purchases are made.

Provide High Resolution Originals

Share the highest resolution uncompressed source files so clients avoid quality loss re-downloading compressed marketplace preview files.

Offer Tech Support

Respond promptly to questions about properly accessing, editing, and implementing your assets from less tech-savvy buyers via email, chat and messaging.

Request Reviews

Politely ask happy corporate clients to leave positive reviews on your marketplace profile and highlight them. Social proof secures repetitive sales.

Diversifying Licensing Earnings

Pursue holistic monetization and customer acquisition:

Sell Merchandise

Print popular designs on t-shirts, mugs, cases, posters and other products. Redbubble, Society6, Teepublic and others handle fulfillment.

Offer Embedded Licenses

Sell cheap licenses for bloggers, students, and indie creators to embed assets directly in videos, sites, and apps driving sponsorship opportunities.

Upsell Add-Ons

Offer increased insurance, exclusivity, transfer rights and enterprise packages. Provide custom quotes fast.

Cross-Sell Services

Offer multimedia production services to existing license buyers in need of custom branded content like animated explainers and music.

Develop Spin-Off Products

Transform libraries into instructional courses teaching photography, video production, graphic design and other creative skills.

The more touchpoints, the greater the customer lifetime relationship. Complement licensing with diverse monetization streams.

Selling digital asset licenses provides a scalable semi-passive revenue stream. Assembling vast keyword-optimized libraries then exposing works to buyers across media allows capitalizing on the full earning potential of your creative output over the long term.


By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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