Font licensing on the web just took another step forward. FontFont have released new web-optimised versions of 15 of their type families — over 300 individual fonts — which you can, if you like, use via Typekit’s service at (I gather) no extra cost, whether or not it’s listed in Typekit’s own library. At first glance it may not seem like so much of a massive deal, after all, you buy the font, you get to use the font, but it’s interesting in that it’s not just delivered in the ‘traditional’ manner by the foundry but you also get an additional service provided by a third party, and that the fonts aren’t available to license directly from that third party. It’s a subtle distinction, but it changes the nature of Typekit (and other such services) from being vendor outlets to being vendor outlets and service providers to foundries.
Illustrating the potential importance of this, I remember a talk by Bruno Maag last year where he was asking why he should offer his fonts through a service like Typekit — the potential revenue as a cut of subscriptions was so low, he said, that it just wasn’t worth it. Of course there are services offering different business models, such as Fontdeck*, but this adds yet another model to the mix, and a potentially very lucrative one at that. All very interesting.
Update: Jason Santa Maria emailed that Typekit have been offering this service since February, something that oddly passed me by at the time. Must have been the discount that got my attention this time around. Discounts on fonts, how could I not?