What is commercial use of MB data?

I can’t figure out from the documentation whether a site is considered “commercial” if it’s free for everyone to use, but has ads on it so that there’s some income from page views or clicks. Can someone please point me to an answer?

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On what occasion does this question arise?
If you add a download link you have to decide whether it’s “free” or not. If you don’t have to pay any money for it, it is considered free, even if you pay by looking at ads or clicking links. Most of these platforms are certainly commercial.

I mean, if I’m displaying information, and it’s there for the benefit of anyone who likes – just a utility that can be accessed by anyone interested – and I put Google ads on the page, because Google pays for page views and clicks on their ads (even if their ads have nothing to do with the content I’m displaying from MusicBrainz), there’s something commercial going on, but I’m not charging anyone to see the information I’m getting from MusicBrainz. It’s 100% free for them. In that case, is this considered a commercial use of MusicBrainz data?

The issue being, Google might pay me money, even though I’m not charging anyone else money. What I’m unclear about is whether the fact of Google paying me money makes the use of the data commercial.


Now I understand :slight_smile:

I don’t think that’s commercial use but I’m no lawyer.

…and you should change the title to “What is commercial use of MB data?” or something like that, to make more clear what it’s about.

This is a question that @rob can answer :slight_smile:

p.s. You’ve gotten me curious, please let us know what you are building, when you are ready!



We don’t have a public definition for commercial use, because it is very situational and subject to interpretation. For that reason we encourage people to sign up with us to have this discussion.

Ads in general do not make an app commercial – if ads are the only source of income for a mobile app, then no worries. In general, we’re pretty chill about mobile apps unless they start generating a lot of traffic that impacts our servers – once that happens we’ll need to work out an arrangement that works for all involved.

But, we’re not in it to fleece people (unlike our evil nemesis) – we’re keen on helping our partners become successful – with a clear motive of having successful partners support us more.

Let me know if you have more questions!


Thanks, Rob. If I do wind up making any serious bank from it, I’ll definitely upgrade myself here to a commercial users. If. :slight_smile:

I own the domain songsby.com. And I figure, if I can’t find a way to monetize that, I’m a lost cause.


Thanks. Done. I appreciate the feedback.


Or the world is a lost cause, since it is so hard to monetize anything these days…