Last year I wrote about stock footage. In that post I wrote about Artgrid, using stock footage and why I decided to cancel my account. Flash forward to December 2022 and I am upgrading my Artlist account (royalty free music and sound effects) to an Artlist Max Social account. This reads like an advertisement but I assure you it is not.
If there is one point I have tried to make clear since starting this site it is that I am not making any money. None. Not from writing, not from making videos – not from anything I am putting online. Which is why every time I write about a camera or editing software or using a service like Artlist I try and be upfront about what I get out of it and whether or not it makes any sense. The short version for nearly everything is that it doesn’t.
If I could go back in time and offer younger me some advice it would be “don’t spend that money”. On almost anything. If you have something you can use, like my first beautiful Panasonic camcorder, just use that. Don’t upgrade. Don’t listen to people online telling you what you need. Just make do and be happy.
Back to December: I upgraded this account. Despite my advice of not spending money I spent money. Why would I do this? The cost for one. My old plan was $300 a year for music and sound effects. I use both a fair bit despite not having much of an online presence. When I joined Artgrid last year (so I could have access to stock footage) I was charged another $470. $770 seemed like quite a lot of money for something I was not really using (aside from making fake trailers – which since I now have an active account I can share).
Because my yearly cycle begins/ends in February I was prorated when I made this change to my account. Looking at the website the cost will be either $360 a year for the social plan (which is what I have) or $480 for the pro plan. So given that I was spending $300 a year for access to music and sound effects, this is a pretty good deal for me. I pay $60 more a year and I now have access to all of their footage. In addition to that they have templates for Final Cut Pro X, LUTs and plugins (in the above video I used some of their transitions).
I’m not entirely sure this makes sense from a financial point of view. My intention, which it seems is always the case, is to do more this year. Post more on this site, create more videos for YouTube. I plan to create short form content for Instagram and write more fiction. Will it happen? I hope so. The past two years have been lacking in the creation department and I certainly have been feeling the loss.
Having access to music that I can use and share is an absolute blessing and if you take a moment and compare the various royalty free music and video sites I think you will find that Artlist is more than competitive (again not an ad but this is something I have struggled with). To prove this point I am going to look into the various sites that offer music and stock footage.
You may not have noticed but I have spent a good deal of time finding sites and comparing them. I began making a chart, taking screenshots and attempting to find a way to share my findings in a way that is visual and easy to follow. I have failed at this because there are too many sites with too many options to make this streamlined. Instead and I am going to speak to the three sites that are comparable.
Before I share this I want to point out the following: there are many different companies providing these services. In my travels I looked into many that were already familiar to me (The Musicbed, Filmsupply, Epidemic Sound, Pond 5, Adobe Stock) and I was surprised at how much the pricing differed. As much as I adore The Musicbed and Filmsupply I doubt I’ll ever use their services as I simply cannot afford them.
Many of the other services have more reasonable prices but they greatly limit the number of downloads. Shutterstock costs $60 a year less than Artlist and Storyblocks but at that price only allow ten downloads a month. I digress, let’s move on to the important part of this post.
I’ll be honest I want to be incredibly in-depth and helpful here but even narrowing this down to three sites leaves a good deal of variables. For me, I need the basic creators license that Artlist and Storyblocks offer – the ability to post on social media and access sounds and video. I don’t work with other people, I am not making worldwide commercials or films and I don’t make wedding videos. So, for me these are the prices for the plans that make sense.
That being said one consideration to note is the ability to keep the videos/content I’ve made if I decide to no longer use the service. In the past I found that the service Epidemic Sound did not offer this option – meaning that if/when you stop using their service you have to replace the music in your videos. That’s just a terrible feature. From what I have gleaned all three of these services allow you to keep the footage/music/sounds in your videos even if you not longer subscribe to the service.
My subscription is set to renew on the 12th and to be honest when I started writing this I had no intention of using another service. Since discovering Envato Elements and looking through their site I am no longer sure. They have a ton of assets, the quality looks good and the cost of using their service is almost half of the other two. As I keep reiterating I want to pay as little as possible and after spending a couple of weeks looking at these services Envato Elements seems like the smart choice.