Please see below the reply by Rob from MusicBrainz (forwarding because
he is not on the mailing list):

> On Jan 17, 2016, at 04:51, Mitar <mmi...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I would suggest that anyone interested in monetizing APIs check how
> MusicBrainz (https://musicbrainz.org/) is doing it.
> An open encyclopedia for music metadata. Their data is all open,
> collaboratively made, and APIs are free to use, but big users are
> asked to pay. In this way they are getting money from Google, for
> example. You should contact them and check how they feel about issues
> raised here: Do they feel that they get strings attached for receiving
> money from Google? How do their contributors feel about them getting
> money in this way? How do they achieve that big players pay, but
> community projects, researchers, and others do not? What is the
> process to determine that? In fact, I am CCing Rob from MusicBrainz
> here.


I wanted to give you an update on our business model, since we pivoted
on that back in May. If this sounds bad, it isn't -- we're actually
following along the path that Creative Commons has envisioned for
people using their licenses. For over 10 years we used Creative
Commons licenses to determine if people should or should not pay us
for the data they use in their business. That got us to $250k/year and
then we leveled off. (This is akin to an aspiring CC artist releasing
their content as they work to become known).

But then there comes a point when the business/aspiring artist can
stand on its/their own and start making its/their own rules. And this
is where we've arrived now -- today we have a support model where
people who make commercial use of our data are encouraged to support
us. There is no requirement for supporting us, but we're quick to
point out that a company that makes financial gains using our data
really ought to give something back to us in order for us to keep the
lights on and improve what we do.

And, this is working! Have a look at our growing list of supporters:


The only major music tech company left that isn't supporting us is
Apple and maybe SoundCloud, but they are on my hit list for this year.
Have a look at the tiers of support we setup:


Note that the tiers have guidelines that are a vague suggestion of
data usage and company size. While people get an idea what "support"
means, it isn't fully clear, so most will sign up as "stealth
start-up", which is great, because it lets us start a conversation
about their data use. In the course of the conversation we can
determine a fair level of support that suits the company's current
needs and ability to pay. Note that we hardly talk about "products" in
this case anymore -- we don't really care how people use our data.
(I've long joked about us operating under a drug dealer business
model, that "the first one is free". But, really, this is exactly what
we're doing. Lots of companies got hooked on our data and now we're
looping around asking for support)

I hope this makes sense -- if not, hit me up for questions!


--ruaok         Excel is not a database!

Robert Kaye     --     r...@musicbrainz.org     --    http://musicbrainz.org


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