Amazon: Fine art dealer?

Can Amazon's online art store disrupt the art industry?
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

Amazon has come a long way from its roots as an online bookstore. Among many other things, the company is now in the wine business, the 3D printer business, and could soon become a fine art dealer.

A new online art store on Amazon is rumored to soon sell over 1,000 pieces of art from more than 100 galleries. As The Art Newspaper reports:

Amazon representatives told dealers the site would resemble Amazon Wine, which launched last fall and works directly with 450 different vineyards and winemakers across the country.

The art platform will take a commission from all sales conducted through the site rather than charge galleries a monthly fee to present their wares, according to dealers familiar with the venture. Commissions will range from 5% to 15% based on the work’s sale price, dealers say. (For comparison, the online sales site Artspace charges commissions ranging from 10% to 20%.)

But for now this is all speculation based on what Amazon has proposed to various dealers. No official announcement has been made by Amazon.

While its makes sense for Amazon to go after a slice of the $64 billion international art market, the question will be if their model can draw in buyers in a way online art sites haven't been extremely successful at doing so far. Total revenue for online art sales in the U.S. are around $288 million and saw modest 3.4 percent growth from 2006-2011.

“There’s been major disruptions in so many other industries, in the music industry, in the publishing industry,” Matt Stinchcomb a VP at Etsy told Wired last year. “I think soon in the book world, soon in education. But I think soon also in the art industry.”

Maybe Amazon will be that disruptor, as it has been for so many other industries.

Amazon to launch virtual art gallery [The Art Newspaper]

Photo: Flickr/JAXPORT

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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