More questions on Monotype's subscription royalty model

New: Monotype is transitioning Monotype Library Subscription (which customers signed up with for webfonts on Fonts.com) into Monotype Fonts. 

MLS (which sounds like a disease you do an ice bucket challenge for) paid regular royalty rates (as far as I know) so it would be 50% or so based on the contract. Monotype Fonts pays only 25% royalties.

Will the foundries receiving royalties on those existing subscriptions get 50% or 25%? Will the revenue remain as direct to the fonts used or will it be split across all synced and production fonts as is the case with Monotype Fonts?

Whichever way it is, once a plan is up for renewal, only Monotype Fonts is available as an option and therefore farewell 50% and hello 25% royalties. 

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Comments

  • Dys-type-ian.

  • Completely baffled as to why people still sell their type with Monotype. I mean COMPLETELY baffled.  It's almost like they are all little lemmings, jumping off the cliff one by one. Happily oblivious to the danger below. Also completely baffled as to why no one talks about Monotypes transgressions more - maybe its because of the NDA in the new contract.
  • I would have said the opposite: that there has been a great deal more anti-Monotype discussion in public, in the last several years than ever before. Especially, but not only, in the past year.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,374
    @Justmytype76 I'm not sure why others haven't quit Monotype, but here's my perspective that may ease your bafflement.

    It appears that Monotype has found a delicate balance in their approach, exerting just enough pressure on type foundries and their customers to maintain profitability while still retaining their business. From my perspective, Monotype’s strategy results in a situation that's somewhat uncomfortable, but not untenable. The diminishing returns from Monotype, though smaller, still outweigh the potential gains I might achieve by removing them. While removing my fonts from Monotype would cause an increase in sales through other vendors, it likely wouldn't tip the balance. This makes it financially imprudent to remove my fonts from their platform, despite the challenges posed by their increasingly severe optimization strategies and blatant disregard for type designers.

    Monotype's focus appears to be on streamlining their vast font catalog, prioritizing efficiency over maintaining close relationships with individual type foundries. This approach, while potentially alienating some smaller players, seems to be a calculated move to concentrate resources on securing key typefaces that are crucial to their business model. From a broader perspective, it's clear that the disappearance of the Typodermic Fonts library from Monotype would likely have a negligible impact on their overall operations.

    As for the NDA, the only people in the conversation are those of us who haven't signed the latest agreement. That might skew the conversation, somewhat. There may be foundries that are thrilled with Monotype, but we can't hear what they have to say.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,128
    Yes, I have Facebook posts from type designer friends proudly announcing they are a Monotype Creative Partner.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,389
    edited December 2023

    It’s unlikely Monotype is going to eat the design industry. They piss off a whole lot of customers, big and small, and that number is unlikely to go down any time soon.
    Soon, no. But a little later than soon, the basis of the entire business - not just one company's business, the whole enchilada - is as obsolete as the buggy whip: Content authoring tools (in the widest sense) generate the text, images, animations, audio, videos, their layout compositions — and the type. 

    There won't be separate font files, just documents.

    In print media, PDF output from those a.i. powered authoring tools will be indistinguishable from a PDF made 20 years ago.

    Ditto the video data file uploaded to tiktok.

    I guess the typeface name trademarks might be licensable, but it's going to be hard to get royalties from something that no one uses any more.
  • My expectation is that many of the traditional sources of income for foundries are at high risk of drying up and we need to work hard to create a viable future for indie foundries. 
    Can you please explain this? What are the trad sources of income? What is the exact risk?
  • Soon, no. But a little later than soon, the basis of the entire business - not just one company's business, the whole enchilada - is as obsolete as the buggy whip: Content authoring tools (in the widest sense) generate the text, images, animations, audio, videos, their layout compositions — and the type.
    Is this just like how you were touting the forthcoming blockchain/nft disruption/revolution for type and other industries?
  • My expectation is that many of the traditional sources of income for foundries are at high risk of drying up and we need to work hard to create a viable future for indie foundries. 
    Can you please explain this? What are the trad sources of income? What is the exact risk?
    For many years MyFonts was the main source of income for most indie foundries (clearly there are exceptions). From what I've heard those royalties have dropped to half what they used to be for quite a few foundries. I don't have exact data on that, only what I hear. The Monotype Fonts subscription is unlikely to generate decent income for foundries (based on my calculations and what I've explained in other posts) so the royalties will likely drop even further. There will always be exceptions but this is a general trend I'm seeing.

    More recently, Adobe licenses have contributed towards generous royalties for foundries, in part due to the minimum payments per font. My understanding is that Adobe will not be offering minimum payments to new foundries, and I am not sure if they will offer it to existing foundries once contracts are up for renewal. I don't have details on this, but it would make sense that Adobe would try to reduce the cost of fonts in its subscription given that the role of fonts is not so critical for people actually getting the subscription.

    A more general note: for quite a few foundries, font prices have remained relatively static for many years now in spite of massive inflation. In practice, this means that the income generated for foundries provides less purchasing power than it used to 10 years ago. That's less food on the table and a smaller apartment.

    Again, these are general trends that I see coming for indie foundries. It would be great if these do not materialise, but the risk is real.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,374
    @Nadine Chahine
    I don't have details on this, but it would make sense that Adobe would try to reduce the cost of fonts in its subscription given that the role of fonts is not so critical for people actually getting the subscription.

    While you're probably right about fonts not being critical in gaining subscribers, you may be overlooking how important they could be for retaining them.

    I have no inside knowledge of what goes on at Adobe; this is all conjecture. I think the value of fonts in this context extends beyond their immediate design utility; they play a critical part in the overall Adobe ecosystem.

    Consider a user who primarily engages with Photoshop and Illustrator within the Creative Cloud suite. Over time, they integrate various Adobe CC fonts into their workflow and documents. Given the flexibility of Adobe’s model, which allows for extensive font usage without additional costs, these users are likely to utilize a much broader range of fonts than those purchasing fonts individually.

    The potential switch to a competing product introduces a significant hurdle. The loss of access to Adobe’s fonts would mean that all their existing documents with embedded Adobe fonts would face compatibility issues. For these users, the task of sourcing and licensing each font individually or finding suitable replacements could be daunting, labor-intensive, and costly. This scenario is not limited to graphic designers; it extends to professionals in other fields, like video editing, who are equally reliant on Adobe's font offerings but, unlike the Photoshop/Illustrator example, have lots of viable alternative applications available.

    Adobe’s subscription model, with its inclusive access to a wide range of fonts, serves as a powerful incentive for users to maintain their subscriptions. The cost and effort required to replace these fonts if they leave the Adobe ecosystem could be a deterrent to switching to alternative platforms. While paying royalties to foundries might be a significant expense for Adobe, it appears to be a calculated investment in customer loyalty and subscription retention.

  • Yes this is certainly true for legacy projects. Also good to keep this in mind in light of what is happening with Figma. To get back to the topic of payments though, the balance of power is so much in favor of Adobe that the foundries individually do not have much negotiating power in case Adobe decides to reduce payments. Whatever happens in the future, this is important to keep in mind. 
  • 100% spot on! My principal concern with any distribution model is the power dynamic at the negotiation table. How much power does a foundry have in relation to the other party sitting on the other side? It's clearly not a zero-sum game and both parties can have a healthy collaboration, but am always skeptical when power is highly skewed to one side or the other.
  • ...Once that’s cleared, the next difficulty is getting that to customers. I maintain that every foundry should eventually transition towards running their own shop, selling direct. Control the marketing, control the message, control the sales and relationships. Resellers and their varied licensing/bundling schemes should only be a stepping stone toward foundry independence. 
    Kris, would you ever expand on this in a blog post on klim.co.nz? There is a plethora of information on how to design type but I personally believe the business side of type, and the details of what's involved in running a successful shop, can feel unapproachable to many type designers. It's a daunting prospect!

    The Klim website's had iterations and improvements throughout it's lifespan, expanding it's initial design to suit it's growing requirements (ie. PDF type specimens are no longer featured/needed and the visual scope of each release has grown etc etc). Given how Klim has grown from strength to strength, I believe many people would be interested in your take on the journey you've taken in establishing and growing your foundry's online scope.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,389
    edited December 2023
    Soon, no. But a little later than soon, the basis of the entire business - not just one company's business, the whole enchilada - is as obsolete as the buggy whip: Content authoring tools (in the widest sense) generate the text, images, animations, audio, videos, their layout compositions — and the type.
    Is this just like how you were touting the forthcoming blockchain/nft disruption/revolution for type and other industries?
    You may be confusing me with Eli Heuer or Yanone; I've RTd a lot of people touting such ideas (at least back to Vinay Gupta's pre Ethereum launch screeds) but I don't remember writing anything myself. If you remember specifics, I'll be happy if you can remind me.

    The text elements of latest image generators is compelling, to me. 

    https://x.com/chaseleantj/status/1737816505507795060?s=20

    https://x.com/chaseleantj/status/1737750596768370876?s=20

    https://x.com/Itsyopahadiboy/status/1737726617340842094?s=20
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,940
    This AI stuff is going off-topic for this thread, but is something I would be happy to discuss elsewhere. I can think of a bunch of things that I think machine learning is going to struggle with beyond small bits of text in English within images, and hope the rush towards AI-generated text isn’t going to be yet one more thing that disadvantages everyone who uses other languages and writing systems. The tech industry has form in this regard.
  • k.l.k.l. Posts: 103
    You may be confusing me with Eli Heuer or Yanone; I've RTd a lot of people touting such ideas (at least back to Vinay Gupta's pre Ethereum launch screeds) but I don't remember writing anything myself. If you remember specifics, I'll be happy if you can remind me.
    The text elements of latest image generators is compelling, to me.
    So you are touting these things.
  • You may be confusing me with Eli Heuer or Yanone; I've RTd a lot of people touting such ideas (at least back to Vinay Gupta's pre Ethereum launch screeds) but I don't remember writing anything myself. If you remember specifics, I'll be happy if you can remind me.
    Maybe not saying it direct, but boosting or posting links to it amounts to the same thing.
    The text elements of latest image generators is compelling, to me. 

    Whenever you say stuff like this, all I think is “wow Dave would love to just cut humans out of the typeface design loop”. Perhaps you don’t mean it as that, but being responsible for commissioning fonts for Google has a certain frisson, don’t you think?

  • Kris, would you ever expand on this in a blog post on klim.co.nz?
    I’ve never actually considered it. Would it be worthwhile? It would be a very specific point of view for a very limited audience! 

  • k.l. said:
    You may be confusing me with Eli Heuer or Yanone; I've RTd a lot of people touting such ideas (at least back to Vinay Gupta's pre Ethereum launch screeds) but I don't remember writing anything myself. If you remember specifics, I'll be happy if you can remind me.
    The text elements of latest image generators is compelling, to me.
    So you are touting these things.
    You may be confusing me with Eli Heuer or Yanone; I've RTd a lot of people touting such ideas (at least back to Vinay Gupta's pre Ethereum launch screeds) but I don't remember writing anything myself. If you remember specifics, I'll be happy if you can remind me.
    Maybe not saying it direct, but boosting or posting links to it amounts to the same thing.
    We'll have to agree to disagree on this, chaps. I don't think retweeting even means agreement, lmao - I think it's worth discussing how new technologies effect a technology business like type, worth being aware of what even marginal voices are saying.



    You may be confusing me with Eli Heuer or Yanone; I've RTd a lot of people touting such ideas (at least back to Vinay Gupta's pre Ethereum launch screeds) but I don't remember writing anything myself. If you remember specifics, I'll be happy if you can remind me.
    Maybe not saying it direct, but boosting or posting links to it amounts to the same thing.
    The text elements of latest image generators is compelling, to me. 

    Whenever you say stuff like this, all I think is “wow Dave would love to just cut humans out of the typeface design loop”. Perhaps you don’t mean it as that, but being responsible for commissioning fonts for Google has a certain frisson, don’t you think?


    It's not that I love to see it, but that I do see it, and I think it's dangerous to avoid seeing it. 

    I see mid journey v6, or https://jingyechen.github.io/textdiffuser2/ , and so I suggest a discussion of the future of royalty rates is incomplete without including a case where they all drop to zero.

    In this case, I also see my own current job going the same way, absolutely. That's what I mean about the whole enchilada. 

    The history of type is packed to the gills with rapid revolutions in the technology base, and very few brands survive these turns. Are we next year going to be in the same spot the phototype companies were in 1985 when Adobe PostScript, Apple LaserWriter, and Aldus Pagemaker were out, and Fontographer was about to - similar to hot metal companies when the Lumitype came out in 1946, or cold metal companies when the Linotype arrived in 1884?
  • Monotype wouldn’t be the Monotype we know if they aren’t already looking to take type designers out of type design and they have enough fonts to train AI on. 
  • Kris SowersbyKris Sowersby Posts: 41
    edited December 2023
    In this case, I also see my own current job going the same way, absolutely. That's what I mean about the whole enchilada. 
    Finally, your dream of destroying the commercial font industry will come to pass! Unfortunately the monkey’s paw has curled: your own position will also be redundant. I suppose it’s another sad case of being careful what you wish for. If only we’d figured out how to protect ourselves with the blockchain!

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