To all Elements contributors


Hey @WormwoodMusic, stop derailing your thread! :joy:

Wait, now I derailed the thread by telling you to stop derailing the thread.

Sorry about that.


Sensible and insightful post. All of it, but very much this part.


Thank you @FortyTwoStudio for your insights and great thoughts. Very much appreciated!

I do agree with most of your post. However I do think Envato owes the authors something very important. That something is transparency, communication and basic respectful business ethics.

I agree that there can be some unnecessary passive aggressive complaining on the forum, myself included on a bad day. Something to keep in mind for all of us.

In my opinion, there are several rock solid reasons to speak up together as a community. The forced relentless Elements advertising against exclusive market authors for example, is nothing to take lightly or casual. Don’t want to got there to much in this topic, but I think the increasing dissatisfaction with this is more than understandable.

This ”if you are unhappy, just leave” mentality I strongly disagree with. Topics like affiliates who are not getting paid properly, dysfunctional broadcast licensing system, price dumping, gaming of the search engine, Audiojungle authors not getting credited at Elements videos, broadcast license use in Elements etc etc, are all very important topics that unfortunately needs pressure from the community to be dealt with. For some these recurring topics might be perceived as complaining and whining, but in 98% of the cases it is not, as far as I see it.

In general I understand that critical voices can be uncomfortable and draining. It definitely is. Still, in the long run, critical voices are very important and are eventually contributing to necessary changes for the better and greater good. It has happened before and it will happen again. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it, somebody needs to dare to say what “everyone” is thinking.

Of course it would be less need to speak up in the community if Envato hired more staff to specifically work with the increasingly long to do list. Hopefully this will happen.

AudioJungle seems to be the loudest and most outspoken part of the Envato ecosystem, and I think that is something to be proud of. It for sure is important and of great value that we have authors who care and dare to speak up for things that deserves awareness.

That said, there is nothing acceptable about being rude and disrespect those who do not have the same view or take the same choices as oneself.

I’m happy to see constructive communication in this topic and hope we all can continue communicating in a civilised matter, and maybe most importantly accept that we don’t need to agree on everything. A big thanks to absolutely everyone who raises their voices :slight_smile:


Forty Two Studios, Thanks for sharing hard data. Just curious about what your thoughts are on this: Suppose Envato opens the doors to 2000 more authors to join elements subscription model, and then 200,000 more “music elements” (tracks) are on that market.resulting in everyone chasing after bits and pieces of the $16.50 a month pie from each customer (who are granted unlimited downloads), What would you do next to counter that move, knowing that buyer behavior is potentially forever changed?

Let me remind everyone that Napster created a culture of free music that lasted 15 years. There was no turning back, music simply was “free”. Now, however, Spotify and a couple of others have done a fairly decent job getting people to buy music again through what else? a monthly subscription model!

Dealing production music to marketing agencies, film makers, ad agencies, post houses, tv show production companies and so on is a “business to business” relationship. This industry is slowly sliding down a very slippery slope by not protecting the synchronization license.

Once that goes away and all that remains are scattered crumbs from the subscription pool of revenue, you have to admit that your monthly earnings will most likely decline to under $1000 a month in shared subscription revenue royalties. There will just be way too many people to pay and it is clear as day that the business buying public will be achieving massive cost savings (that they NEVER asked for imho). From my estimates, easily 90% savings is being granted with this subscription model.

How do I come to that figure? Well just take Promosapien and his numbers. If I recall, he indicated that he was spending $2000 a year on sync licenses for his video editing business. Now he can spend $200 for the subscription. That’s 90% savings. That is $1800 no longer being spent. These are just simple facts!

My point is that if all music producers continue to take every deal that is thrown at them and constantly justify it with “any money is better than no money” we will have a business where the sync fee is wiped out entirely, forever, producers will be collecting fractions of cents for each download, and buyer behavior and expectations will be changed forever, and it will be irreversible.

The only thing that will be left, I predict, is fractions of cents per item downloaded, and PRO performance royalties on the back end which ultimately will have to be protected by governments, rate courts, and legislatures.

In summary, my post to every music producer is this…the more you support and participate in subscription models, the more you are supporting the long, slow, and punishing revenue decline for your personal portfolio. I know, I know…it contradicts elements authors data who claim “I am making more money though”…for now you are…but just wait until hundreds or thousands of more producers pile into that model out of pure panic, fear, and desperation to just make anything. The market will crash the way the price of Bitcoin did in 2018.


Thank you for participating in this discussion, @FortyTwoStudio.

The number one obstacle between authors and more page views and/or sales is increased competition. No question.

I also agree that working harder, longer, and smarter is an absolute necessity for those who wish to make producing music (or stock photos, stock video, etc.) a significant source of income.

As someone who is a video producer and part-time AudioJungle contributor, I purchase far more music from AudioJungle than I sell, and have been doing so for 10 years.

I am a sole-proprietor who has to hustle to make it in my chosen profession. I am not wealthy, but I love this work and find it rewarding, interesting, and challenging.

I should be an Elements subscriber. I fit the profile perfectly. I’m a middle-tier media producer / editor who should be attracted to the subscription program’s cost saving benefits.

The average I spend on stock music annually is actually closer to $3,000 (most, but not all, purchased here).

I continue to purchase sync licenses from the AJ marketplace instead of joining Elements because it is my opinion that this is the most author-friendly method of buying music.

Given my love of being able to make a living as a creative professional, I don’t wish to support a business model that, in my opinion, has the potential, long-term, to be harmful to creative professionals.

I have been critical of Elements and the relentless marketing of it on the marketplace. I see this as detrimental to sync license sales. I am also fully aware that this is Envato’s enterprise, and they are free to do with it what they like.

It benefits me in no way whatsoever to be vocal about my opposition to the program. I would be better off if I stayed off the forums and kept my opinions to myself.

I don’t see this as spending all my time complaining and none of it working, though. I work plenty, trust me.

I have a strong feeling that now is an important time to participate in these discussions and advocate for creative professionals that come up with the great music, video clips, WordPress themes, etc. that I rely on every day to make a living.

I said this in another thread and realize I am repeating myself. Envato has created an amazing resource for creative professionals. There is no debating that fact. As creators of content that is sold here, we all want and need Envato to succeed. We would prefer that the price of that success not be the diminishing of our own businesses.


The average I spend on stock music annually is actually closer to $3,000 (most, but not all, purchased here).

Think of how many media professionals out there are in your exact same boat…must be hundreds of thousands of them with the ability to spend $3000 a year on sync licenses from their clients budgets.

I continue to purchase sync licenses from the AJ marketplace instead of joining Elements because it is my opinion that this is the most author-friendly method of buying music.

You seem to be one the more compassionate buyers out there who truly understands the plight of music producers. The reality is that “increased profitability” always takes precedent and most people and businesses will not think this way. It’s just a matter of time before the $3K a year sync license “spender” takes advantage of the $200 a year subscription option and the end result will be $2800 less spent on music licenses. Let’s not forget how they are rewarded with UNLIMITED DOWNLOADS and do not have to report to the author intended end usage of the “license”.

Remember how I talked about “voluntary charity” from media producers. We truly are in that kind of era. It’s not the fault of companies who dreamed up these models. They really never forced anyone to participate. The offer was “Hey musicians, photographers, graphic designers, stock videographers, etc…do you want to “sell” your media in a new model that is about 90 to 95% cheaper than the current pricing model?”

And the fact of the matter is that media creators are lining up to say “Yes! I’ll take that deal!”

No creative media producer, musician, composer, photographer, video editor, videographer, graphic designer, any stock media producer wants to diminish their business and revenue, but the sad part is that they voluntarily do exactly that by agreeing to participate in a subscription model where they know going in, that they are selling out for an extremely low price point.


I already wrote here that I do not understand what the authors are guided by who go to a losing deal.

I understand if it were the authors who do not have popularity and go to this step, from hopelessness, but it makes the best in the business. How can this be explained?

My personal opinion (no need to be offended) is greed, I can not find another explanation, I have long pondered, but nothing else…


Now, everyone has the right to voice their opinions, but this “greed” nonsense is getting a bit ridiculous.

Isn’t everyone here trying to maximize their earnings? If not, why don’t you make your music available for free? This is business.

Isn’t it as greedy to hate Elements because you want more earnings? There is just no logic to your statement…


Greed is that the" element " decided to use as an additional income, not for the sake of customers.

Now many come to realize that they have made worse in the first place itself, devaluing their work.

Do you want to do charity work? no one bothers you, but it should not affect . on other people.


totally agree! :slight_smile: it’s time to re-invent music. We have to create something different, personal, original…
Copy and paste other tracks is a path that leads us to nowhere.

  • agree


I haven’t been an AJ author for very long and based on what I have been reading in the forum, I’m getting the impression that the top decision makers for Envato/AJ are focusing more on promoting Elements subscriptions and not the authors as a whole. Only certain authors will be invited to participate and that could very well be a move that is in their favor as far as revenue is concerned. Authors who did not receive an invitation will potentially be forced to go “non-exclusive” and upload their items elsewhere. I don’t really see how a new author could make a living on AJ when the deck is already stacked against him/her. I’ll continue to upload tracks but eventually a decision will have to be made to either weather the storm or explore other options.


I would recommend everyone who is unsure about the whole “what kind of customers is Elements meant to attract” discussion to read this older official Envato statement aimed at VideoHive: Video on Elements

Cut and paste of the first part:

Well, you say that Elements is “opportunity for authors to earn from those same items with a different type of customer”. Well, this seems to be true. But it is also fair to observe that the new type of customer is not only brand new customers that have never bought anything on Envato Market, but it is also the customers from Envato Market, which you transform into this new type by Elements subscription (Otherwise, you would not put a banner on all pages of Envato Market, right? :slight_smile: ). What does the data/stat say on this?

That is correct. This definitely crossover of customers from Envato Market to Envato Elements as well as new customers directly to Envato Elements who have never purchased from Envato Market. Part of the reason for this is that we’re looking to increase the overall lifetime value of a customer. This means doing what we can to turn one-time buyers into long-term customers.

Envato Elements represents an opportunity to take someone who might have an ongoing need for creative assets from buying once (and then having to do all the acquisition work again to convince them to buy a second item) to someone who right away sees the increased value of committing for the longer term. Envato Elements isn’t for everyone and that is why it exists alongside Envato Market.




I didn’t read all comments, but who from top authors removed their songs from Elements? Did they say something about it? (for example on forum).
Thank you very much :slight_smile: Very good article!


Mmm, I’m not sure about the exact numbers but as far as I know PinkZebra had added a great part of his vast portfolio and then left only 47 tracks available on Elements and TimMcMorris, on a similar move, has currently only 10 items in the catalog. Again, I’m not certain about how many tracks they had added in the first place.

On a side note: At this very moment I’m working on the post for a video that’s using 9 music tracks and a bunch of graphic assets downloaded from Elements. They would have spent in a single project more than what they now will do in 2 YEARS OF SUBSCRIPTION. Don’t get me wrong, this people are great fellas and they are an amazing team to work with, but of course, almost nobody out there is like @promosapien.


In another thread, 8 ball mentioned how it would be prudent for Envato to occasionally try author ideas to improve the market for all. So many amazing ideas come forward, but all are met with no interest from Envato management. Examples: curated playlists in each genre, closure of inactive accounts with small non active portfolios that do not produce sales, setting minimum prices at $20, closing the market to new authors (so the existing community can possibly succeed), Deletion of old tracks that never sell.

Now, I recall a moderator once saying “you can not close the market to new authors because that is discrimination.”

But look at what’s happening with elements. Not only is it a closed off “by private invite only” market that clearly favored staff, reviewers, and hand selected “well liked” authors, but it also grossly devalues digital music assets and it discriminates! It’s just that simple. No one can deny that. The music assets have been grossly devalued with elements and $5 tracks. It’s just incredibly hypocritical on so many levels. And it is becoming more clear that subscription models will never generate the kind of monthly revenue for individual authors as it once did on the (one off sync license) market. No way will an author ever be able to grow their monthly earnings to 7 to 10K a month on a subscription market.

Elements clearly and overtly contradicts what Envato claims to be their core message “when the community succeeds, we all succeed.” This message really needs to be “When our hand selected and specifically chosen authors and employees succeed, we too will succeed, the rest of you will watch your revenue decline because we’re doing everything we can to get customers to not buy from you, but sign up for elements instead.”

What’s done is done, and there probably is no turning back, but please at least consider the ideas of closing the market to new music producers. Make them apply by sending a link to 5 of their best tracks. Make them show you that they have a site up and are professional. What about the playlists? Wouldn’t customers appreciate curated playlists in each genre?

That’s the way I see this unfolding…It’s true, it is your company Envato management, but please don’t be hypocritical in your approach that includes false messaging to the community. Your company is no longer about success and opportunity for “the community” it’s about success and opportunity for the chosen one’s.

And wormwood…yes that is a sad, sad scenario. So much for “voluntary charity” from your production team. I wonder what they’ll mark up the costs for “music licensing” for on their final invoice. Those 9 tracks may have fetched $200 to $400 on the audio jungle market, but I guess your production team was able to download all 9 for $16.50 - the monthly fee at elements. So pathetic and depressing, it’s not even $2 a track when you look at it that way. They also have the rights to download 12,000 tunes if they felt like it! How sad! Pathetic! Insane!

Oh well, those elements authors decided to devalue the entire industry. Buckle up folks, I think we’re all in for a rude awakening because revenue has no place to go but down, and it will accelerate downward soon enough. It already seems to be happening in fact. Complicit authors are responsible for this.


Sadly, I’m afraid it’s not even that, @SteelSound. This production house was already subscribed to Elements for the graphic assets and footage, so they now spend the shocking amount of $0 in music… literally, not a dime for what could have been ~$200 in just a single piece (this first one is part of a batch of 5 training modules but do your self a favor a don’t do the maths).
Regarding the ideas proposed above, many of them sound really interesting, specially the curated playlists by genre. I hardly doubt, though, we’ll ever see that… well, perhaps in Elements? And the minimum price is A MUST!


LOL! Indeed They paid nothing Ha Ha! They already were subscribed so the music just became…well…a free bonus!

Are you elements music authors thinking about this? Oh dear…this is just so sad and depressing. Music peeps will do it again. The napster years are roaring back! Free music for all! Rock on elements!


Thanks for the kind words, @WormwoodMusic and @SteelSound, but it’s more about the principle of it than compassion. I think it’s the right way to purchase music because it seems to me to be the fairest way for those who made the music. Plus, Envato is compensated fairly well in this sync model, too - except, I suppose with elite authors where they take a smaller percentage.

I also sell a few tracks here, so I can appreciate the challenge everyone faces in trying to make enough from music to justify the time spent making it. I live in the U.S., where the cost of living is fairly high. If I can only make a few cents per track, I might as well close the DAW and forget about uploading new stuff.

And with my full-time gig, I’m writing TV spots, corporate video, shooting, editing, and creating motion graphics. I pay my bills by doing creative work. I love the work, but I’m not getting rich from it…yet. :wink:

I understand that it’s not easy to make $ at this, and I would rather buy music for my projects in a way that I think compensates authors fairly.

My clients (who are not huge companies, by the way) have budgets that allow for 4-5 RF tracks priced at $20-50 each for a fundraising video. I have been doing these projects and buying music this way for over a decade. Clients have never asked me if I could cut those license fees by 9/10, and although it is becoming available here and elsewhere, I’m not offering it to them.

I have never professed to be an expert, and I certainly don’t have Envato’s research budget. I haven’t been able to understand why cutting the price of digital assets so drastically has become the primary emphasis of their business. That’s my perception. Perhaps it’s not reality.

I can’t see how blowing up the established pricing tiers of these assets and reordering them for pennies on the dollar can help the people who make music, stock video, website templates, etc. and depend on that income to feed their families.