There's a new feature called premium content that allows users to make file downloads available for a charge. This seems to be something with a vast range of different possibilities that range from quite nice to to quite lame. Of course we are all always against commercialization and sell-outs and everything and don't want things to change but there are some interesting options here.
Obviously everyone is going to know whether or not this is something he or she could use and how much sense it's going to make for what you do specifically but there's two points I want to adress.
I always thought it was lame when people sell stuff like brushes or psd files. This is probably just my personal opinion and many will certainly disagree for valid reasons, but I think, if you make some brushes, and you ask money for something as tiny as that, you are lame. Sorry. Actually, the point here is not that it will kill someone to pay like one buck for something tiny, it's just that it changes the entire conversation from "Here, have this, if it helps you I'm happy" to "Before I will share this with you you will have to transfer some of your property to me." Just... no. It's a dick move and, to me, on the same level as charging hundreds of moniez to let people watch you draw something and describe what you're doing on a workshop. Or asking people to pay you for critiques or paintovers or feedback. I think it's dishonest and I don't like it. The "but my time has value" excuse doesn't really work here either - because then you should be charging ACTUAL rates, which a normal person can't (and shouldn't) pay.
For this reason, I kindly ask all my peers, especially those who already make a living with their work anyways, to not be dickwads and ask money from kids who are learning. It lowers you in my eyes and if you do it then I don't want to talk to you anymore. If you need money, do contract work. Corporations have a shitload of money, so that's where you should make a living. Leave the kids alone. It goes without saying that my stuff, files, and tutorials will stay free.
Back to the premium content feature, a perspective I personally really like would be something akin to crowdfunding/name your price/flattr kind of thing: You'd just be doing normal stuff and uploading it like usual and if someone decides he or she likes it there's an option to give you moniez (a matter of choice). Especially for people who do webcomics or other stuff that relies on a vibe and a connection with watchers or readers while not being something that you could probably make a living off by doing it for hire this would be good. Everyone could read it, those who have some money left over can support it, those who have a bit more can give a bit more if they want. I actually hope to see a lot more like that, I read a ton of webcomics and always feel bad since it's so hard to support these people if they're not selling a book or something. But, and here's a big but, 20% is a huge cut that dA is taking, so this is probably not going to replace kickstarter or direct donations.
Anyways, here's a tiny thing to end this entry. Something that'd probably be somewhat of a dream or at least a goal of a lot of artists would be to make a living off their work indirectly - that is, through royalties, prints, donations etc as opposed to rates you charge for jobs, and then to have more time on their hands to produce more work, which in turn would support them again. After all if you work freelance, on second thought about what I said above, the money you get from the corporations indirectly comes from the kids just as well, minus what the CEOs take. So, for the future what I hope for in this field is that we see more growth in the independent sector, more selfpublished graphic novels, more webcomics that sell books and stickers themselves, more indie games, more people being creative and more people supporting them in return for what they do - basically the middle class producing, innovating and trading between each other like they should be in a healthy economy. Especially in the field of comics/manga/graphic novels there's a lot of room for improvement. I'm not even gonna mention the music sector here since we all are oh so against record companies. I just wish there was a platform that would finance itself through advertising rather than taking a percentage. But then again, the money that comes from corporations who pay to advertise is money that you paid at some point just as well. So the question is how do we get the most direct (and most financially lossless) connection from the consumer to the creator.
So in summary my point is, whatever! Do what you like and try not to starve! Cheers!