More From the USC Optical Sound Effects Library

[Guest blog post by Craig Smith]

In August of 2018, I uploaded 1,233 vintage optical sound effects from various Hollywood productions ranging from the 1930s to 1950s. I called the collection “the Gold Library” because of the color of the old Dyno label-maker tapes on the boxes. 

Since then, I have continued to preserve the former USC optical sound effects library. And now I’m extremely happy to present the next collection of 1,554 classic sound effects: The Red Library.

Where did these come from?

To recap, I acquired these sounds from the USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive in 2016, just before they were to be thrown away. They are first generation full-track 1/4” tape transfers of 35mm optical sound effects. For more information on this project, Please see my February 2019 Blog post:

What’s the difference between the Gold and Red Libraries?

Although the specific origins of these sounds are mostly lost, It has become clear to me that the Gold effects were mostly clean “master” effects that were used to print copies to be cut into a film’s soundtrack. The effects in this new Red Library are not as clean, and have many splices, indicating they have been a direct part of the editing process. I’ve nicknamed this library “the workbench collection,” because these sounds are clearly leftovers from several Hollywood productions.

What’s the difference between master and working copies?

Until the mid 1950s, sounds for film were recorded onto 35mm film by modulating a beam of light.

This was a delicate process that required extremely accurate exposure and developing. These tracks could be either variable area or variable density. Both had advantages and disadvantages.

These master tracks would then be duplicated for editors, cut into individual sounds, and wound into small rolls held by rubber bands or paper tape. They were then placed into “trim boxes” for easy access.

The sounds could be retrieved by editors and edited on a Moviola editing machine As they cut effects, they would return the leftover bits, the “trims”, to the trim boxes.

The sounds were edited onto reels that were then put onto reels and loaded onto “dubbers” for final mixing.

This system worked well, except that every optical generation created more noise, loss of high-end, and distortion. Since the prints shown in theaters were many generations removed from the original recordings, precision in every step was incredibly important.

What happened in the editing room?

Sound editors loved to collect their favorite sounds so they could use them again and again. Sometimes they would print more copies of a sound than they needed. Everyone was fine with this, but making copies of copies could lead to degraded sound quality. They also would take the trims with them at the end of a production, even though they might be full of audible splices. 

Another thing editors did was to install “portable” optical cameras in the edit room to speed up the process.

This was likely to introduce ground noise, and intermodulation distortion due to improper exposure.

So how does the Red Library sound then?

Pretty good, actually!

My original intent with this project was to preserve, not restore. But I realized that many of these sounds needed a little help. So I did some minimal restoration including hum and hiss reduction, reduction of distortion, and splice repair (gaps and clicks). Since there are over 1,500 effects in this library, the time spent on each effect was limited. But I’m happy with the results. These are very usable sounds that you won’t find anywhere else. And they layer very well with modern digital effects.

So what’s next?

There is a lot more sound to recover in this project. The Red and Gold libraries were the easy stuff. Beyond this, I’m dealing with tapes that are badly shrunken, and tapes that have sticky-shed syndrome. Since I’m the one doing the transfers, I don’t know when I will have more to share. But I know there’s good stuff in those tapes, and I’ll find a way to recover it.

Again, I want to thank those whose support has kept me going on this project: Peder Jørgensen, Christian Schaanning, Leanna Kaiser, Jesse Smith, Dino Everett, Ben Burtt, Frederic Font, Randy Haberkamp, and Lynn Becker.

And a reminder to tell all your friends: Whenever you record a cool sound, upload it to Freesound! It’s the quickest and easiest way to achieve immortality!

—Craig Smith

Craig Smith’s Biography

Craig Smith has been recording and manipulating sound since 1964. After graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, he worked as a sound editor and production mixer in Hollywood, specializing in noisy action-adventure films that are blamed for the downfall of society. He left that world in 1986 to teach at California Institute of the Arts, where he is now Academic Sound Coordinator in the School of Film/Video.

Craig’s own work experiments with implied narrative and accidental sound design – putting together sounds & images that have nothing to do with each other to create unexpected stories.

Craig is a member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and the Audio Engineering Society.

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2019 in numbers

Hi everyone,

A new year has started and here is our traditional year in numbers post in which we give you some statistics about last year’s Freesound activity. As usual, we will show some general statistics similar to those shown in previous years’ posts, and also extend a bit on a specific topic which, in this year’s post, is about uploaders. But let’s get started! The number of new sounds uploaded during 2019 was…

41,450 new sounds!

which corresponds to…

772 hours of audio!

Wow! That’s around 5,000 more sounds and 85 more hours of audio compared with 2018. Fun fact, the average sound length for 2019 is somewhere between that of 2017 and 2018, but the overall tendency we observed last year of recently uploaded sounds being longer than those uploaded years ago, still seems to be a thing. Any ideas why this could be the case?

Let’s move to something else. Here is the distribution of licenses of these 41k newly uploaded sounds:

Pretty similar to last year’s distribution, which in its turn was quite similar to the previous year’s distribution (but not quite the same as the year before that!). In summary, Creative Commons 0 is still by far the most used license.

In total, Freesound currently hosts an amazing total of 441,075 sounds, very close to the 450k mark! 🎉 Here is the evolution of the total number of sounds since the beginning of Freesound, and a prediction for the future:

Yeah, going strong! The prediction seems to indicate we might pass 500k uploaded sounds by the end of 2020. We might need some big collections to be uploaded because it looks like the prediction is biased because of the huge modular samples library uploaded in 2015 (see the more stepped line in the middle of the plot). But hey, why not? Let me dare you all to get Freesound to 500k uploaded sounds in 2020!

And now to another classic statistic from this series of posts: to listen to the whole Freesound recordings would now require 274 days and 6 hours of your life. Not bad huh? This is unless you use the <shameless self promotion mode on> Freesound Timeline app which will allow you to go much faster 😉 <shameless self promotion mode off>.

The newly uploaded 41,450 sounds in 2019 conform a very similar tag cloud to that of last year:

Again, there seems to be balance between field-recording and related tags on the one hand (ambient, soundscape), and music related tags on the other (synth, loop, percussion). Also, there are some generic tags like synth, effect, and, of course, sound, which are also used a lot. Interestingly enough, two very specific tags appear reasonably sized in the tag cloud above: czech and panska. These are all used for sounds uploaded by users with similar names. I imagine this is part of some assignment in an educational programme in the Czech Republic. Maybe from this school? If someone knows more, tell us in the comments! Those sounds add up to almost 3,000 and the audio is great! (but descriptions could definitely be better, hmmm…). Here’s one nice example:

Now let’s talk about uploaders. Uploaders, meaning the users that have uploaded at least 1 sound to Freesound, represent approximately the 2‰ of registered Freesound users. What? Note that ‰ (per-mille) is not % (per-cent). This means that only 2 out of every 1000 users have uploaded at least one sound. This is a rather unbalanced ratio, but it is in fact quite similar to what’s found in other websites where users upload content: the number of consumers is always much much much larger than the number of producers. This makes Freesound’s 24k uploaders its scarcest yet most precious asset 🙂 Let’s look into how many sounds are uploaded by each of the uploaders:

This histogram should be read like “more than 60% of the uploaders in Freesound have uploaded less than 5 sounds”, “around 10% of the uploaders have contributed between 5 and 8 sounds”, “5% of the uploaders have uploaded between 9 and 12 sounds ” and so on. The average is of 18.5 sounds per uploader. This means that there are a lot of users who upload few sounds, and few users who upload a lot of sounds. Again, a classic behaviour observed in user contributing websites like Freesound. And who are these few users who uploaded lots of sounds during 2019? See here the ranking of uploaders by number of sounds and by duration:

Username# uploaded soundsUsernameuploaded time (hours)

Some quick notes about this ranking:

  • We have Erokia back in the 1st position in the ranking by # uploaded sounds! Also worth mentioning that Erokia is also now part of the awesome team of Freesound moderators 🎉
  • You might find it suspicious that PhonosUPF is in the second position (for those who don’t know, Phonos is a foundation linked to the Music Technology Group, where we make Freesound). Well, this is because Phonos is uploading all sorts of instrument sound transformations that were produced during a lifelong career of one of its members, electronic music pioneering in Barcelona. Thanks!
  • You might recognize the name of craigsmith from the USC optical sound effects library he started uploading last year. He’s back with more rescued sounds form Hollywood studios, but he’ll tell more you about this in an upcoming blog post.

Looking at the ranking by duration we also see some all time great contributors like klankbeeld, felix.blume, tim.kahn, kyles, and also other names that repeat from previous years ranking (awaka, kevp888, janrou, …). Thanks everyone for your contributions, that’s what really makes Freesound awesome!

Let’s continue with some quick numbers about downloads. The number of sound downloads (including packs) during 2019 was…


That’s a new record, 1.6M more downloads than last year:

All in all, users have downloaded more than 149M sounds from Freesound! Here is the classic cloud of query terms that are used by Freesound users when searching for sounds:

As you can see it is very very very similar (if not exactly the same) as last year’s one, with wind, music, explosion in the top positions. Also, the interest for piano and car that started last year has been maintained. Surely a lot of interesting information to dig in to here, but now it’s not the time. Maybe in next year’s post!

And to finish the post, let’s now see some more general statistics. In 2019, you sent 19k messages, wrote 1.1k forum posts and made 47k sound comments. Again, very similar numbers to those of 2018. The good news is that sound ratings maintain the increasing tendency of last years, with a total of 168k sound ratings in 2019, 10k more than last year.

That’s it for 2019 in numbers post! Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy a 2020 full of sounds 🙂

frederic, on behalf of the Freesound Team

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Community update December 2019

Hi everyone,

Welcome to a new community update! Yeah we know, we have not been updating you very regularly lately, but this does not mean we have not been working hard on Freesound. As has been the case for the last year, we have been very much concentrated on working on either under the hood improvements, or research type of issues which do not have a clearly visible output in the Freesound website (yet). But we are indeed working on great things which will definitely end up in the platform 🙂 Here’s a summary of our current main working threads:

  • Bug fixes, general maintenance and software updates: this is a big one, as we are about to carry out necessary software updates (for nerds: Python, Django updates…) which affect all of our codebase and are therefore quite time consuming.
  • New features: we’re working on new features mostly related to the search page. However all these new features require a lot of previous research work (don’t forget we’re a research institution, so that’s what we do best!), and again features need their time to become a reality. The new search features we’re working on will allow to cluster search results as well as add new filtering options.
  • New fronted: yes, we have not abandoned this one. It is going very slowly, much more than we thought, but it will eventually become a reality and it is indeed in our roadmap.

Oh and by the way, we just published a tech-oriented post about Freesound in the Creative Commons Open Source blog, you might want to check it out 🙂

Aaaaand that’s it for the short update. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the updates in the coming year. Big happy new year to everyone!

The Freesound Team

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Community update July 2019

Hi everyone!

Summer is here and here we are with some news about latest Freesound developments. This time we have released changes in Freesound which have a very big impact on the performance of the site and also some important improvements of user-facing features. Here is a summary of the changes:

  • Improved geotag editing for sounds (and for sound description). Now the map is bigger and in sync with the latitude/longitude/zoom fields.
  • Added missing email types in email notifications preferences panel. Now you’ll have better control about the email notifications you want to receive from Freesound.
  • Reduce use of ReCaptcha in private messages for users we know are not spammers
  • Updated Stripe donations API to comply with new European regulations
  • Dramatic speed optimizations in some Freesound pages (including frontpage, and browse sounds page) and other general speed optimizations that affect the whole site.
  • Many other minor bug fixes and optimizations.

To give you an idea about the speed improvements that we have released in the last couple of weeks, check out this plot which shows CPU usage of one of our servers:

Yellow color indicates the percentage of the time the server is “doing nothing”. In general, the more yellow the better, as it means that the server has enough time to work on all of the tasks it is assigned. As you can see, in the middle of the month there is a sudden change and all the pink area is drastically reduced to leave more space for yellow. This is due to both hardware and software updates which result in a general improvement of Freesound response time. Freesound’s servers are happy now 🙂

We hope you have a great summer and enjoy the new super fast Freesound!

– The Freesound Team

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Freesound goes Eurorack Hardware with CTAG Strämpler

[Guest blog post by Robert Manzke alias rma31]

Hi, my name is Robert, some 6 years back I have founded the academic working group “Creative Technologies AG” (CTAG) at Kiel University of Applied Sciences in Germany.
In the domain of Audio, we engage students and form international collaborations.
Our focus is music technology and production, sound synthesis and design and adjacent areas such as electronics, computer graphics, algorithms, related hard- and software, maker technologies, human machine interaction, immersive art and media and so forth…

Also, I got my first Freesound t-shirt on June 2nd 2009 and have always been a great fan of the Freesound idea, to create a social and open platform for sounds and its use in science and education.

Since the existence of CTAG, there have been several student teams involved with the Freesound API to interact with the sound data base. Most notable results include the Beaglebone single board computer based sampler “Beagle Boom” and, very recently, the Eurorack sample streaming module “CTAG Strämpler”:

Strämpler harware UI
CTAG Strämpler.

CTAG Strämpler (half streamer, half sampler therefore “Strämpler”, which is close to the German word “Strampler” meaning romper suit) is an electronic sound synthesis module designed for Eurorack modular synthesizers.
Most importantly, it has internet access with connectivity to the Freesound API, making the Freesound sound data base accessible through hardware. One can download sounds to the module’s SD-card and play them back as two separate voices.
Typical parameters such as pitch and amplitude can be influenced, just like one would do with a sampler. It includes a comprehensive control voltage (CV) matrix, where external CV signals can modulate various sound parameters. Some basic effects such as a stereo delay and low/highpass filters are implemented as well.

The firmware and the DIY hardware design are entirely open source and available on Github. CTAG is currently looking for collaborators to further develop the Strämpler. One highly desired feature would be the ability to sample your own sounds within your Eurorack setup with Strämpler and share them instantly on Freesound, actively contributing to the sound data base. More details can be found on hackaday and the projects web-page.

CTAG Strämpler demonstration video.
CTAG Strämpler latest PCB revisions in the works.

Both above mentioned projects were related to hard/software projects by students as part of their regular curriculum. Doing such practical projects allows us to teach students immediate application of web-programming (Freesound API), time-critical real-time audio programming and application of digital signal processing, soft/hardware UI design and implementation, hardware near programming and design, debugging of complex systems etc. Students greatly deepen their abilities during these practical projects and are highly engaged. They also learn how to reach out and inform the world about their work (social media, github, Freesound, open source concepts, etc.).

Apart from the Freesound related project, there have been numerous other projects at CTAG, mostly with a strong penchant towards the open source community; our purpose is to give back knowledge to the society as being associated with a public university in Germany. Students also benefit of a continuously growing pool of partnerships with other academic institutions (Erasmus+ exchange) and private companies. CTAG is also a strong advocate for startups in the music-tech domain and we are proud to have helped Instruments of Things to become alive.

We always look for opportunities to collaborate and wish to further support Freesound with our applied research, just get in touch with us 🙂 …

— Robert Manzke

Robert Manzke developed his passion for electronic music starting age 5 (the record was Vangelis Heaven and Hell, his first synth was a Korg Poly 61).
It lead him to successfully study electrical engineering and digital signal processing. He obtained a Ph.D. in computational imaging sciences at King’s College London in 2004 and worked for Philips Research USA in the field of medical imaging afterwards.
He left that field in 2012 and joined Kiel University of Applied Sciences as Professor for Ubiquitous Computing. Since then he focuses on his passion of music technology within the Creative Technologies working group (CTAG).

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Community update May 2019

Hi everyone!

It’s been some time since the last community update, but we’ve kept you busy with other kinds of very interesting blog posts so you’ll hopefully have not noticed 🙂 Anyway, here is a summary of the latest updates that we released to Freesound:

  • Many improvements in the audio processing back end. This will allow us to process sound more often and carrying out more advanced audio analysis to enable new search features.
  • Show a warning when entering tags that contain letters other than a-z and numbers. This restriction was already in place but no proper feedback was shown to users.
  • Fixed a number of bugs in forums which resulted in wrong forum post counts when searching in the forums.
  • Improvements in spam checks.
  • New components implemented for the upcoming Beast Whoosh interface. Nothing public yet.
  • Many minor bug fixes and optimizations.

As usual, for a more techy and detailed list of code changes, you can check our source code repository. That’s it for now, enjoy Freesound!

– The Freesound Team

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Out of the ordinary Freesound usage

Hi Freesounder!

The Music Technology Group is the research institute based in Barcelona, Spain, that has created, maintains and keeps supporting Freesound for now over 10 years. MTG is turning 25 this year and we will be presenting Freesound as one of the most important projects to come out of the MTG since its inception.

To highlight the diversity of uses of Freesound we would like to ask you if you or someone you know ever used Freesound in any “out of the ordinary” situations. We have asked this kind of question before and heard about people using Freesound to explain to teachers how children with autism experience sound, how dogs can be desensitized to thunder, to provide a soothing song-bird ambience at a child’s burial, how a scream recorded by a student in his bedroom made it to a Hollywood blockbuster, … and many more of these amazing stories.

To help us discover some more of these out of the ordinary uses, please tell us your story in this forum thread 🙂

With love,

The Freesound Team

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Sustainability Report 2018

Dear Freesounders,

Remember when we discussed about the future sustainability of Freesound almost two years back? We mentioned back then that we would keep you updated about the status of the sustainability of Freesound, including general information about the donations we receive and how we spend them. To that end, here is our first Freesound Sustainability Report which describes the main contributions to Freesound sustainability during 2018. We plan to publish a similar report on a yearly basis. The report is split in a number of sections discussing different aspects that contribute to the sustainability of Freesound, and a final section with a summary and some conclusions. Be advised, this is a rather long post, but we hope you’ll find it interesting 🙂

Sound uploads

When we talk about sustainability, we tend to think of it only in terms of financial sustainability. However, a very important aspect of the sustainability of Freesound is the continuous uploading of new sounds by the user community. These sounds bring real value to Freesound and make it a useful resource for many users around the world. Specially good-quality sounds. The fact that Freesound is a valuable resource for many users is what is making the donations’ campaign a success, and what ultimately enables other types of contributions to the sustainability such as those from the university and from research grants (see below). We’d like to highlight that the 36,000 sounds uploaded during 2018 are one of most important contributions in terms of sustainability. Similarly, other user actions like rating and commenting sounds, writing forum posts and doing sound moderation, are very important and also contribute to the sustainability of the platform. For a summary of Freesound user activity during 2018, please check the 2018 in numbers blog post that we recently published.

User donations

It has been over a year since we started the campaign for donations that we announced in the blog and forums. Since then, the number of donations we receive has been significantly increased, and we now receive 20 times more donations than what we used to receive before the campaign. This is a great success and we are very proud of the reaction of both the core Freesound community and also the less-involved Freesound users. In 2018, we received a total of 45,000€ in user donations. We spent the donations in the following development tasks:

  • Improvements in the Freesound platform through student internships and the work of a software developer. For a detailed list of developments check the Community Update blog posts of January, February, March, May, June, August, September and December.
  • Design of the new Freesound front-end
  • First phase of implementation of the new front-end by a front-end developer
  • Software licenses and cost of services for the help desk (Zendesk), email services (Amazon), maps services (Mapbox), and monitoring (Site 24×7).

Contribution from UPF

For those who don’t know, Freesound is an initiative of the Music Technology Group, a research group of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, Spain. In 2018 (and also in past years), UPF contributed to Freesound by providing the necessary IT infrastructure and basic maintenance (15 servers, 4 TB monthly data bandwidth, IT support staff). The expected cost of such infrastructure if Freesound was hosted in external services such as Amazon Web services or similar, would be over 20,000€/year for only hosting costs. This price would be about 5,000€/year by using a cheaper dedicated hosting provider, but we would also have to pay additional IT support costs in this case.

thanks for reading until here, you can now take a deep breath and do a short meditation while listening to the sound below…

…good, let’s continue reading

Contribution from research grants

As being part of a university, research is an important element of the Freesound philosophy. During 2018, the AudioCommons research grant (in which Freesound plays a central role) was still ongoing. This allowed us to dedicate significant human resources (partial time of 3 researchers and 2 PhD students) for research and development around Freesound. Furthermore, a Google Faculty Research Award was awarded to us to particularly focus on the development of a big dataset made with Freesound content (see this blog post). Contributions from research grants resulted in:

  • Development of the Freesound Datasets research platform and FSD dataset.
  • Further development and maintenance of Essentia, the audio analysis library that powers Freesound sound analysis
  • Research on improving the existing algorithms used for analyzing Freesound content and addition of new 3rd party algorithms including perceptual timbral models.
  • Research on methods for automatically classifying audio events.
  • Research on clustering methods to be potentially applied to Fresound search results.
  • Support the development and general system administration in Freesound.

Commercial usage of the Freesound API

Freesound has an API endpoint which allows third parties to develop applications that incorporate Freesound content. Usage of this API is free for non-commercial purposes. Nevertheless, the commercial use of the API requires a commercial license. In this way we make sure that commercial applications using Freesound also bring something back to the community. Note that this is independent of the license of the sounds themselves, which need to be respected regardless of the API usage agreement. In 2018 our license agreements generated an income of 2,500€. We spent this money in the same development efforts described in the User donations section above.

Summary and perspectives for 2019

As you can see, 2018 has been a great year for Freesound in terms of sustainability. Most importantly, we have consolidated contributions from user donations which have allowed us to significantly increase development efforts for the platform. We also got important contributions from UPF and from research grants which allowed us to focus on very relevant research lines whose results will eventually be used to improve Freesound. In the coming year we’ll probably see lesser contributions from research grants, but we expect similar contribution from UPF and increased user donations (due to users repeating yearly donations and new users deciding to donate). Also we expect a similar number of sounds to be uploaded, or perhaps a bit more if the bulk description tools get more popularized. Overall we expect to spend similar efforts in the development of the Freesound platform as we did in 2018, an important part of which will be the implementation and release of the new Freesound front-end.

We’d like to finish this post by saying thank you to everyone who contributed to Freesound during 2018, in particular to those who donated and those who uploaded and moderated sounds. We’ll let you know how things go next year in 2019’s sustainability report 🙂

frederic, on behalf of the Freesound Team

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2018 in numbers

Dear all,

Following the tradition of the last years, here are some statistics about the use of Freesound during 2018 🙂 . The statistics are presented following the same structure as in 2016′s and 2017′s post, with a special focus on analyzing sound ratings at the very end.  But let’s start from the beginning: the number of new sounds uploaded during 2018 is (drum roll)…

36,006 new sounds!

which corresponds to…

697 hours of audio!

Awesome isn’t it? That is about 500 less sounds than last year, but almost 40 more hours of audio! On average, uploaded sounds in 2018 are 6 seconds longer than in 2017, and in 2017 sounds were already 5 seconds longer than in 2016. Why is this happening? No idea, but we’ll see if the tendency continues next year…

Now let’s look at the distribution of licenses of these 36k uploaded sounds:

It’s indeed quite similar to last year’s distribution, but Creative Commons 0 (CC0) has gained an extra 3% in detriment of Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (CC-BY-NC). Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) stays at 25%. It’s good to see how many sounds are being shared in the public domain.

As we predicted in 2017 in numbers post, this year Freesound has passed the mark of 400k uploaded sounds (although it happened at the very end of the year!). That’s bringing us closer to the half a million mark but there’s still long road ahead for that. Here you can see the evolution of the total number of sounds hosted in Freesound since the beginning of time (see the last dot right above 400k):

In fact, if you wanted to embark on the task of listening to all sounds uploaded to Freesound it would now take 242 days and 16 hours! Don’t try and do it yourself, instead let’s take this opportunity to thank our amazing team of moderators who do indeed listen to countless sounds and make all this possible: qubodup, InspectorJ, parabolix, Erdie, Headphaze, tim.kahn, philsapphire, AlienXXX and balloonhead.

Let’s now look at the tagcloud of the sounds uploaded during this year:

Again field-recording is the king, and many of the other typical frequently-used tags are also visible here: ambience (sharing the glory with ambient), synth, loop, electronic, etc. Not many big changes in that area, at least changes that can be easily spotted. Maybe for a future freesound in numbers blog post we’ll have a deeper look at this tag cloud.

Here is the ranking of uploaders by number of sounds and by duration of uploaded sounds. Yeah, this is what you were waiting for:

Username # uploaded sounds Username uploaded time (hours)
#1 kyles 3284 #1 kyles 113
#2 craigsmith 1233 #2 awaka 31
#3 frederic.font 514 #3 csengeri 25
#4 @realdavidfloat 509 #4 klankbeeld 23
#5 awaka 351 #5 craigsmith 20
#6 deleted_user_2731495 297 #6 kevp888 16
#7 Greek555 287 #7 gis_sweden 14
#8 gis_sweden 279 #8 Roses1401 10
#9 penetrermind 263 #9 tim.kahn 7
#10 AudioPapkin 262 #10 inchadney 7
#11 Jaszunio15 251 #11 Greek555 6
#12 Anthousai 230 #12 janrou 5
#13 javapimp 220 #13 felix.blume 5
#14 toiletrolltube 217 #14 wjoojoo 5
#15 kevp888 210 #15 soundX360 5
#16 arnaud coutancier 210 #16 Martin.Sadoux 5
#17 proyectosonidosias 197 #17 himura.kazuto 4
#18 Mattix 194 #18 Glen_Hoban 4
#19 Soundholder 190 #19 PleasureKing 4
#20 DirtyArchives 184 #20 Diegolar 4

This time we have the same winner in both rankings, user kyles with 3284 uploaded sounds corresponding to 113 hours of audio. A thing that the 3 users in the top ranking of # uploaded sounds have in common is that they all used the new bulk describe feature that was introduced last June 🙂 . For those who don’t know, uploading full sound collections now is easier with this tool. Just like craigsmith did with the USC optical sound effects library, and kyles is doing with his own recorded professional collection. In any case, it’s simply marvelous that there are so many contributions from so many users. On behalf of the Freesound user community and everyone that uses Freesound, huge thanks to all uploaders! You know our twitter timeline is full of people really grateful to all of you right?

Let’s continue with some quick numbers about downloads. The number of sound downloads (including packs) during 2018 was…


So yes, that’s beating records again, with 2.5M more downloads than last year:

We’ll see what happens next year, but it doesn’t look like these numbers are going to get any lower. Freesound accumulates now more than 129M downloads! And how could you maximize the number of downloads of your sounds? Look at the cloud of query terms to see what people is searching for:

Again, not many changes with respect to the last year. wind, music, explosion and whoosh are again in the first positions, although a sudden interest for piano and car seems to have appeared. Remember that there are around 150k queries per day, so there’s really room for everyone here!

Finally, we’d like to finish this post with some more general statistics. In 2018, you’ve exchanged 19k messages, 1.4k forum posts and made 44k sound comments. These numbers are very similar to those of 2017. Regarding sound ratings, this year there have been 158k sound ratings, which confirms a tendency of increasing ratings from 2016 and 2017. Here we show the histogram of the number of ratings per sound:

This histogram should be read like “50% of the sounds in Freesound have never been rated”, “5% have been rated 3 times”, and so on. Even though the average number of ratings per sound (dashed line) is of 3.5, this is just because a few sounds have been rated many times. This is similar to what happens with the number of downloads and that we reported last year in the 2017 in numbers post. However, in this case the number of ratings is much lower than the number of downloads 🙁 .  In old Freesound times we used to show a popup asking for a rating right after downloading and this resulted in many more sounds being rated. We’ll have to think whether or not something like this could be re-added to Freesound, specially now that we’re re-thinking and updating the whole Freesound interface… Another interesting aspect about ratings is to look at the histogram of the average rating value per sound:

What this figure shows is that sounds are typically rated very high (average of 4 stars), so users normally rate a sound only when they like it, but do not use low ratings to penalize sounds they dislike. Interesting food for thought, should we forget about 5-star rating system a move into a binary like/dislike option?

Aaaand that’s it for this year’s post. We hope you found it interesting. Thanks for reading and enjoy a 2019 full of sounds!


frederic, on behalf of the Freesound Team


EDIT: after writing the post Alastair suggested me the idea of  making a summary of the Freesound year in audio. Good news is that I already developed a tool some time ago that would make just that automatically 🙂 I set myself to run the tool and record the output… and here it is the Freesound 2018 in Sounds:

Freesound 2018 in Sounds comes in two different flavours, check the description of each sound for more information 🙂


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Community update December 2018

Hi again dear Freesounders,

Welcome back to our (not really) monthly blog post about things happening in the Freesound dev world! You’ll have noticed that lately we’ve been a bit less active writing in the blog. This is because some of us have been on a leave (well, me!) and others have been concentrating more on some research work which is also an essential part of Freesound – even though its impacts are not immediately seen in the website. Also we’ve been doing some work on the new interface which, in fact, is always happening silently in the background. Nevertheless here are some small updates we deployed to Freesound lately:

  • Usability improvements in advanced search
  • Removed the <> from URLs in emails we sent which caused some email clients to not show the links properly
  • Improved live “username existing” check when registering new users
  • Improvements in admin pages for managing sound flags which should allow us to manage these more easily
  • Improved support for old Freesound v1 links (so that these still work properly)
  • Other minor bug fixes and optimizations

That’s it for now, thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next post… Oh, and have and nice holiday break those of you who have it 🙂 Get ready for the next year because we have many great plans for Freesound!

The Freesound Team

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