We announce to you the launch of our web experiment Freesound Taxonomies on an sound taxonomy for Freesound.
The Freesound Taxonomies experiment is a listening test in which you are asked to categorize a number of sounds into a set of “categories”. These categories belong to a new taxonomy that we are designing to aid the sound description process in Freesound. The purpose of the experiment is to understand whether or not our taxonomy is clear and understandable for a general audience, and how suitable it is for being integrated with Freesound. Your participation will help us to enhance the sound description process in Freesound, to improve our understanding on audio taxonomies and, more generally, to improve audio analysis in Freesound.
Your input is valuable to us and we appreciate your effort in completing the experiment. It should not take more than 15-20 minutes. To participate in the experiment please follow this link:
Welcome to our 2022 Sustainability Report! Here we give an update on how 2022 went for Freesound in terms of sustainability, and present our plans for 2023. You’ll see that most of the information is very similar to previous years’ posts, but still, we think that it is important to share a yearly update with the community. The report is split in a number of sections discussing specific aspects that contribute to the sustainability of Freesound, and a final section with a summary, conclusions and future perspectives.
Sound uploads are an essential part of the sustainability of Freesound. In 2022, 49,153 new sounds were uploaded to Freesound (which corresponds to 961 hours of audio). This follows a growing trend with respect to previous years (although 2021 saw a spike), and confirms the healthiness of the Freesound community in terms of sound uploads. We are very close to reaching the mark of 600k sounds uploaded to Freesound. But not only sound uploads are important, also sound comments (49k), ratings (174k) and all other ways in which Freesound users interact and generate valuable content for the community. If you’re curious about these kinds of stats, you can check the 2022 in numbers blog post which was published a couple of months ago.
User donations have continued to fall in 2022 compared to 2021, and are now back again to levels similar to 2019. What we are most likely seeing here is the “get back to normality” after the COVID19 lockdowns which resulted in almost a 30% increase in donations. In 2022, we received 46,600€ from 5,300 individual donations. We expect the number of donations in 2023 to stop the lowering tendency and keep similar numbers as in 2022. As usual, donations income has been spent on maintenance and development efforts. In particular, we put a lot of emphasis on upgrading our backend technology stack (for the nerds: we upgraded from Python 2 to Python 3, and from Django 1.1 to Django 3.2 ), and on the new user interface (which is getting closer and closer). Let us take this opportunity to thank again everyone who donated to Freesound!
Contribution from UPF
Freesound is an initiative of the Music Technology Group, a research group of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF, Barcelona, Spain). In 2022, the UPF contributed to Freesound similarly to previous years. We have continued our infrastructure improvements which allowed us, among other things, to make Freesound faster and to significantly increase download speeds. The current infrastructure consists of a Kubernetes cluster with 80GB of memory and 25 CPUs for the Freesound website, with an external server used for serving sound downloads and some static files (which transfers around 2TB of data per day). This infrastructure is contributed by the UPF, together with some IT support. Also, a big part of the human costs for maintaining the Freesound website and related research activities (i.e. our salaries), are a contribution by UPF. In relation to that, during 2022 we have been able to open a new PhD position that deals with research topics related to Freesound and which will surely have a positive impact on the platform (more on that below).
Contribution from research grants and Freesound-related research at UPF
Research is at the very core of the Freesound philosophy and, in fact, it is where it all started. We have carried out lots of research activities around Freesound, but, similarly to 2021, in 2022 we did not receive any new big research grant with a primary role for Freesound, but we did receive a 10k USD donation from Google in appreciation for the research efforts on releasing open audio datasets (Google had previously supported our research in that direction and awarded us several Google Research Awards in the past) . Nevertheless, we’ve been able to continue with our Freesound-related research activities which broadly cover these topics:
Further support of Essentia, the audio analysis library that powers Freesound sound analysis.
Research on methods for automatically classifying audio events and development of artificial intelligence models. We have started deploying such methods in Freesound and some of their outputs are available through the Freesound API.
Research on methods to support the sound description process of Freesound, including the definition of a simple taxonomy which will enter an evaluation phase during 2023 (you’ll hear some news about this soon).
Research on methods for interpretable machine learning in audio classification.
Research on methods for automatic generation of music instrument samples and music loops.
Research on hardware and software interfaces for accessing Freesound content (Freesound sampler plugin).
If you’re interested in learning more about the research that happens around Freesound not only at the MTG but also around the world, be sure to check the papers section of the Freesound Labs website. You’ll see that in 2022 alone, there were 161 research papers referencing 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, while commercial use of the API requires a commercial license. In this way we make sure that commercial applications using Freesound also contribute back to the community. Note that this is independent from the license of the sounds themselves, which need to be respected regardless of the API usage agreement. In 2022 we maintained a similar number of license agreements (we added a couple but also a couple were cancelled), maintaining the yearly income around ~6,000€. We spent this money in the same development efforts described in the User donations section above.
Summary and perspectives for 2023
In 2022 we have been able to continue focusing on research and development efforts for Freesound in similar way as we did in 2021. We’ll have to keep an eye on user donations during 2023, and think about possible actions if the donations fall below pre-COVID standards. Also, we expect that in 2023 we’ll get new research projects funded which allow us to open new positions and have a significant impact on Freesound. In terms of development, we expect to make the final release of the new user interface during 2023, and continue with the deployment of new technology (particularly classification models). We are also aiming at upgrading the technology we use for the search engine. The new user interface will provide a fresh look to Freesound and some new functionalities, but also represents a big advancement on the technology that we use that will allow us to continue development in a more sustainable manner. Similarly, the backend technology upgrades that we carried out this year are an important step towards Freesound future sustainability.
We’d like to finish this post by saying thank you to everyone who contributed to Freesound during 2022. We’ll let you know how things go next year in the 2023’s sustainability report!
[Guest blog post by Riki Refaeli and David Talmor, Freed‘s family and friends]
With great sorrow we part from Friedhelm Hans “Freed” Hartmann upon his tragic death, and provide this tribute to Freed and his many activities including his strong contributions to theFreesound community.
From 1979 to 1986 Freed studied contemporary composition at the Carl Maria von Weber University of Music in Dresden, from 1986 to 1988 at the Akademie der Künste Berlin, and from 1989 to 1993 algorithmic composition at the Institute for Computer Music and Electronic Media at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. During this time, Freed also joined the German Electroacoustic Society as an active member. From 1993 to 1995, Freed expanded his studies with Itzhak Sadai at the Buchmann Mehta-Musikhochschule of the University of Tel Aviv in the field of music archaeology as a scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service. In addition to worldwide performances of Freed’s compositions, which were organized by music companies such as the IGNM or ICMA in various European and non-European countries, Freed’s efforts to introduce new musical ideas to listeners who have less experience with avant-garde or experimental music included the contribution of a large fund of experimental sound textures to the Freesound community, which are still used by several thousand members, the collaborative creation of music pieces, consisting of sounds and sound structures of many Freesound members of different musical backgrounds, musical educational projects and lectures for primary school classes.
Freed’s interest in his music paralleled his interest in the life he built with his life-partner, Riki Refaeli, near the Mediterranean coast just south of Tel Aviv. Freed and Riki built a life together that included much culture, frequent hiking trips in various regions, and delightful get-togethers with their broad range of friends. The relationship between Freed and Riki reflected the diversity, color, and activeness of how Freed related to music. Tragically Freed met his death in the Mediterranean Sea, and although his life ended his works very much continue. Freed’s Freesound profile can be found here. His highest rated sounds in Freesound are found here, and his most downloaded sounds are at here. You can learn more about Freed’s work at his web site, and on his YouTube channel.
Freed very much enjoyed and benefited from the Freesound community, and we hope that the Freesound community will continue his memory and his approach by continuing to use his works and to remember the very special person from which they came.
I know it has been a while since the last update regarding the new Beast Whoosh user interface that we’ve been working on for the last… 5 years already! Well, now we’re getting reaaaally close to the final release. For that reason, today we’re announcing a pre-release.
When using the old UI, you will see a link in the front page to activate the new pre-release UI for your current Freesound session. You can also activate it following this link. Note that if you open Freesound in a different browser (or in a new private tab), the old UI will appear again.
The new user interface incorporates many changes and new features. But also, some (mostly minor) things are still remaining to be done. I have added a section in the help page about the new user interface in which you’ll find information about the new features and things not yet implemented (among other things related with the new UI). For conveniency, I also post the list of changes/new features and things remaining here (but be aware that this list here in the forum post will not be updated):
Main new features and changes of the Beast Whoosh UI:
Updated overall look and feel to be plain and make navigation easier.
Responsive design that adapts to mobile phones and tablets.
The new UI includes a light theme and a dark theme that can be configured in your account settings.
Different website sections are now available thorugh the upper menus.
Added more sounds (and packs!) in the front page.
The “Random sound of the day” section of the front page has been turned into a sort of game in which the sound name and description is not shown initially so you can guess what the sound is before displaying that information.
The new “Manage sounds” page will allow sound uploaders to better keep track of the upload process of their sounds and manage sounds afterwards.
You can now edit the description of multiple sounds at once, just like when you describe multiple uploaded files at once. You’ll find how to do it in the manage sounds page.
The interface for describing and editing sounds now also includes a sound player so you can listen to the sound while describing/editing its information.
The new “Charts” page shows some statistics about user activity. This sort of replaces the old “People” page. If you have ideas of other statistics to add to this page, please let us now.
An option has been added to the account settings to show sound spectrograms by default in sound players (instead of the waveforms). Also, spectrogram and waveforms can be toggled in any player by doing alt+click on them.
An option has been added to the account settings do enable/disable sound playback polyphony. The default is to enable polyphony, that is to say, two enable multiple sounds playing at the same time (which is how Freesound has worked over the years).
An option has been added to the account settings to show search results in a grid which allows to get more search results in less screen space (also, in grid mode 30 sounds are retruned per page instead of 15). This addresses some concerts raised by users testing the new UI about the number of sounds visible on screen. But also, the spacing has been optimized a bit since the first UI beta (even without using the grid mode).
Sound bookmarks are no longer named, but they can still be categorized. Also, bookmarks are no longer public to other users. We’re planning many improvements in relation to bookmarks (including a rename to Collections), so stay tunned.
You can now bookmark a sound by doing alt+click on the bookmark button, and this will save the bookmark under the last bookmark category that was used without displaying the bookmarking interface. This is a great way of quickly adding bookmarks.
The “Map” page now has an option to filter by tag (and also embed the maps generated using that filter).
The “Search” page now has an option under the advanced search options to Display results as packs. This options effecitvely allows to search for packs in the search page.
The pages to display the full list of sounds or packs by a user now use the search page (with a username filter applied). This allows to further sort, match and filter the list of sounds.
Things still missing in the new UI:
Moderation pages (this is the biggest part remaining, sorry moderators!)
Modals for listing sounds/packs downloaded by a user, and users who downloaded a sound/pack.
Remix groups pages (the pages that show sounds that have been remixed)
Make new sound embeds using the new design
API credentials management page (for developers only)
Implement the ruler in the big sound player
Improvements in accessibility (compatibility with screen readers). Here we’ll need help from the community to find the parts which have no good support for the screen readers.
That’s it for now! I hope you enjoy using the new UI 🙂 We expect to continue working on it during the coming weeks, and are aiming at a final release during Summer 2023. At that time, the option to use the old UI will be removed.
Thanks for reading, and remember to leave your feedback about the new UI in the forum thread linked above.
The “SSE” sound effects come from the Sunset Editorial collection which was donated to USC Cinema in 1990. Sunset Editorial had a low-key history in Hollywood. Not a lot is known about them. This is because their credits in films were usually just “Sound Effects — Sunset Editorial”. The company was active from about 1964 to 1987. They mainly did episodic television shows like “Bewitched”, “I Dream of Jeanie”, “The Partridge Family”, and “The Waltons.” They have 569 credits on IMDB! A lot of the 1960s editing was done by Fred Brown. They were owned in the ’70s/’80s by sound editor Gene Corso.
Sunset Editorial was a very simple operation. They only edited sound — no mixing. And they worked on a tight budget. Sound editors came and went. There wasn’t much money available for creating new effects, so they depended on effects that sound editors had been using for decades. Freelance editors brought their own collections, and then copied effects to take as they went on to their next job.
Their sound effects collection consisted of dozens of cardboard boxes filled with small rolls of 35mm magnetic film. Each had a slip of paper around it describing the sound.
The rolls were clear 35mm acetate film with two magnetic stripes. One stripe contained the sound, and the other was just to keep the film’s thickness even from edge to edge. Otherwise it would wind unevenly onto a reel.
At USC Cinema, the sounds were transferred from 35mm mag to 1/4” full track tape. The work was done mostly by Sound Department T.A.s Cormac Funge and Tim Maloney in 1990. I actually tracked them down and was pleased to learn that they’re both still film sound designers!
Cormac & Tim’s memories of this project were not exactly happy ones. There were about 1,200 rolls of film. With all the handling, it took them about six months to transfer a total of 21 hours of sounds. But they did a great job.
I got the SSE tapes from the USC Archive in 2016. It was immediately clear that these tapes had a big problem. They were recorded onto used Ampex tape from the 1980s. Tape manufacturers changed their formulations in the early ’80s, and it turned out these new tapes were very unstable. They started to display what became known as Sticky Shed Syndrome.” (Google it.) When this happens, the glue that binds the magnetic oxide to the plastic base becomes sticky, and separates. This makes the tapes virtually unplayable.
Fortunately, there’s a temporary fix. Tapes can be baked for several hours at a low temperature in an oven. So that’s what I did. Each tape was baked at 150ºF for four hours, then cooled for four hours.
This made the tapes stable enough to transfer using my Nagra 4.2 full track recorder.
The good news is that this is an incredibly diverse and rich collection. The bad news is that a lot of these analog 35mm mag elements were copies of copies of copies. So they had a fair amount of noise and distortion. Because of this, I did much more restoration on these sounds than usual. I used iZotope’s RX 10 software. Most sounds cleaned up nicely, but I did eliminate about 20% of them.
Here’s a very annoying but typical example of the restoration:
The resulting 1,022 sound effects are quite good. There are a lot of amazing sounds here ranging from the 1930s into the early ’80s. Check out the ambiances. Even if a sound seems a little odd to you, try layering it with other sounds to create something unique. They can make great sweeteners! To get you started, here’s an incredibly rare recording of the entire Wilhelm Scream recording session:
I couldn’t have done this my self. I want to thank Dino Everett, Ben Burtt, Andrew Kim, everyone at Soundly, Frederic Font, and Lynn Becker.
– Craig Smith
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 sound in the School of Film/Video at California Institute of the Arts, where he is now Academic Sound Coordinator.
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.
2023 is here and that means it is time for us to grab our year in numbers calculator and show you some statistics about last year’s Freesound activity. As usual, we start by showing some general statistics similar to those shown in previous years’ posts, and at the end we focus on a different aspect of Freesound, which this year has to do with the relation between text queries, sound plays and sound downloads. But let’s start from the beginning. The number of new sounds uploaded during 2022 was…
49,153 new sounds!
which corresponds to…
961 hours of audio!
This number is not as high as in 2021 (which reached a record of 56k new sounds), but it is still 3,000 sounds more than in 2020 and even more than in years before so the number of uploaded sounds is still growing strong (more on that below)! The average duration of sounds has not changed much compared to the previous years, and sits at 70 seconds per sound.
Here is the Creative Commons license distribution of these newly uploaded sounds:
In 2021, we observed that the distribution had shifted a bit in favour of using CC-BY sounds (and in detriment of CC0), but this year we see how the use of CC0 goes back to what it used to be before 2021 and it represents two thirds of the licenses used for new sounds.
With the new additions from 2022, Freesound now currently hosts an amazing total of 581,369 sounds, for a total audio length of 384 days and 9 hours. Here is the evolution of the total number of sounds since the beginning of Freesound, and the prediction for the futurethat we made last year:
As you can see, we are very slightly below the prediction, but that is to be expected as last year’s prediction would be biased by the record number of newly uploaded sounds. If all goes as expected, we should be closing 2023 with about650k sounds and reach 700k in 2024.
Here is a tag cloud of the tags of the sounds uploaded during 2022:
The usual big tags are still big (field-recording, music, loop, synth, …), but this year it looks like noise has made a strong entrance in the top tags, partially because of the contributions by Hewn.Marrow who seems to have been exploring noise quite deeply (e.g. see this pack):
Here is the classic chart of the users who have contributed the most sounds in 2022:
Thanks everyone (not only those appearing in the table) for all the contributions! It is absolutely incredible to see that many new and high-quality sounds being uploaded every year 🙂
And what about downloads? The number of sound downloads (including packs) during 2022 was…
This is even more than in 2020, when we observed a significant increase of downloads which we attributed to the increase of visitors due to COVID-19 lockdowns. All in all, users have downloaded more than 215M soundsand packs from Freesound!
The term-cloud below shows the most common query terms that have been used when searching in Freesound during 2022:
The top 10 terms are the same as in previous years, with slight variations in the ordering: rain, wind, explosion, music, footsteps, piano, fire, thunder, whoosh, and woosh. Approximately a thousand users search for the sounds of rain and wind every day! Also interesting is the use of both whoosh and woosh. According to the dictionary, the first spelling is used as a verb and the second one as a noun. Both are therefore correct, but Freesound does not use intelligence to somehow “link” the two terms. Maybe this is something to improve in the future!
Now some extra general statistics: In 2022, you sent 17k messages, wrote 1.2k forum posts, added 174k sound ratings, and made 49k sound comments. These numbers are decreasing with respect to the previous years in which we saw a big increase that we attributed to COVID-19 lockdowns. This behaviour was somehow predicted last year and now we see that these “community activity” indicator are close to what we observed in 2019.
And now, to conclude this blog post, we will provide some statistics about sound plays (i.e. every time you listen to a sound while browsing Freesound), sound downloads and their relation to user queries and data transferred. If we take the total number of sound downloads in 2022 shown above we can easily see that this means a rate of 2,700 sounds downloaded every hour. But have you ever wondered how many sounds are being played every hour in Freesound? Well, this varies a lot depending on the time of the year and it is actually difficult to estimate even for us, but after some number crunching we have estimated that 8,600 sounds are being played every hour. This could be interpreted so that for every sound downloaded, approximately 3 sounds have been previewed before. What might be more surprising however is that if we look at the number of user queries per hour, we see that about 6,500 text queries are made every hour, which means that only 1.3 sounds are played per user query, and also means that at least a 60% of the queries result in no sounds being downloaded. All in all, considering all sound downloads and sound plays, our severs stream about 2TB of information per day. If you look at the blog post from last year (2021 in numbers), it was actually briefly mentioned that the amount of data transferred was 1TB per day, but our estimate for this year has doubled. This could be due to having wrong estimates in the previous year, but will also be most likely related to our changes in the downloads infrastructure which allowed for much better download speeds and might have therefore resulted in overall higher amount of data transferred every day.
That’s it for this year’s post, thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy a 2023 full of sounds 🙂
[Guest Blog post by Mehrdad Pourzaki, Lead Movement Communications Specialist at Wikimedia Foundation]
The Wikimedia Foundation, the global nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, including our audiovisual repository the Wikimedia Commons, is hosting a global contest for The Sound of All Human Knowledge. Submissions are open now through 10 October. The Wikimedia sound logo will be used to identify Wikimedia content across a wide range of uses and smart devices, including personal voice assistants. You can learn more about the contest on wiki, including campaign materials and how-to videos. There is also a humble prize for the winning sound. The Freesound community is primed to participate since you already have a knowledge of and appreciation for audio and free licensing. As the organizers, we warmly invite the Freesound community to take part in this global contest. We’d love to hear from you and please help us reverberate the call.
Wikimedia sites receive 750 million page views a day and that knowledge is further reused by search engines, other platforms, and applications that don’t consistently inform their users that what they are learning comes from Wikimedia and the thousands of volunteers around the world who contribute. Voice assistants are on the rise everywhere in the world and while there is a lot of expertise in our movement when it comes to visual logos and photo competitions, we are excited to be exploring new parameters when it comes to sound and audio production. Play your part in our global search. On September 29 we had a drop-in clinic with our expert partners MassiveMusic, you can find some information in the link above.
Mehrdad Pourzaki, on behalf of the Wikimedia sound logo project
Do you want to write a guest blog post for the Freesound blog? We like that! Please send a proposal using our contact form
Uploaded sounds are released under one of the CC licenses you choose. Other content (metadata, tags, comments, etc…) is provided as CC-Zero.
Your activity in Freesound is public and can be seen by all users (except your private messages).
You are responsible for your posted content.
We (Freesound) keep your data confidential and apply security measures to keep this confidentiality.
We (Freesound) don’t warrant that all the data on the site is correct. We are not liable for information not posted by us on this site.
We can use anonymized data collected from Freesound (sounds, statistics about sounds, tags, comments, downloads…) for research purposes.
You agree to receive email notifications in accordance with your email preferences.
Beyond providing consent for the updated terms, starting on the 4th of April users with sounds will also be given the opportunity to upgrade current Creative Commons licenses from 3.0 to 4.0. The main difference between these two is that Creative Commons licenses 4.0 are more user-friendly and more internationally robust, but the general terms are the same. More information can be found here. The option to upgrade licenses is only offered to users who have uploaded sounds with any of the “old” CC-BY or CC-BY-NC licenses, and will also be available in the user settings page as long as user has sounds with old licenses.
Please let us know if there’s anything you’d like to discuss about these updates by commenting to this post. Thanks everyone!!!
Welcome to our 2021 Sustainability Report! Here we give an update on how 2021 went for Freesound in terms of sustainability, and present our plans for 2022. You’ll see that most of the information is very similar to previous years’ posts, but still, we think that this will be interesting for you. As usual, the report is split in a number of sections discussing specific aspects that contribute to the sustainability of Freesound, and a final section with a summary, conclusions and future perspectives.
Sound uploads are an essential part of the sustainability of Freesound. In 2021, 56,783 new sounds were uploaded to Freesound. This number is even bigger than in previous years (see more stats here). We saw this year that a significant number of the uploaded sounds (~15%) come from professional sound design studios that decided to upload part of their catalog and release it under a Creative Commons license. This is interesting because it further highlights that Freesound is a relevant tool not only for hobbyists and amateurs but also for sound professionals, and it also promotes the use of Creative Commons among professionals. All in all Freesound continues to be doing very well in terms of sound uploads.
User donations fell a bit in 2021 compared to 2020, but 2020 was very exceptional due to the COVID19 lock-downs which happened around the world, resulting in a 30% increase in donations. With respect to 2019 (pre-pandemic times), 2021 still represents a 25% increase in donations, and we received almost 59,000€ from 6,600 individual donations. We’ll have to see whether this trend continues and 2022 gets closer to pre-pandemic times, or whether the amount of donations is maintained with similar numbers. Thanks to the boost of donations in 2020 we’ve been able this year to spend a lot of efforts working on the implementation of the new user interface and also on the new infrastructure to which we have been (and still are) migrating. Let us take this opportunity to thank again everyone who donated to Freesound!
Contribution from UPF
Freesound is an initiative of the Music Technology Group, a research group of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, Spain. In 2021, the UPF contributed to Freesound similarly to previous years, however this year the change of the infrastructure has also resulted in more involvement from university’s IT support staff. We have moved to an infrastructure based on a Kubernetescluster maintained at the UPF level. This has allowed us, among other things, to make Freesound faster and to significantly increase download speeds. We now estimate a daily consumed bandwidth of around 1TB of data. Beyond IT staff, researchers from the university also dedicate time to Freesound related activities (either research, development or administration) and are paid by the university. As you can see, the contribution from UPF is huge, and it is only thanks to the combination of the different sustainability streams discussed in this post that Freesound is sustainable.
Contribution from research grants and Freesound-related research at UPF
Research is at the very core of the Freesound philosophy and, in fact, it is where it all started. We have carried out lots of research activities around Freesound (see some details below), but, similarly to 2020, in 2021 we did not receive any new big research grant with a primary role for Freesound (like the AudioCommons project that we coordinated a few-years ago). As explained in our previous sustainability report, at the end of 2020 we received a grant from the Grant for the Web call to experiment with the application of Web Monetization technologies in the Freesound Licensing project, and the work done for this grant was carried out during 2021. We were able to experiment with some ideas and build a proof of concept for Freesound Licensing, but the project has not advanced much further and we are still in the process of assessing viability from a legal perspective.
As a quick summary, these are the research activities that we carried out at the MTG in 2021 and in relation to Freesound:
Further development and maintenance of Essentia, the audio analysis library that powers Freesound sound analysis.
Research on methods for automatically classifying audio events and development of artificial intelligence models that we plan to deploy in Freesound during 2022.
Research on methods for interpretable machine learning in audio classification.
Further research on clustering methods to be potentially applied to Freesound search results. We have advanced a lot on the implementation of these methods in Freesound and are quite ready to make them available to the public, but some more efforts are still needed.
Research on hardware interfaces for accessing Freesound content (the SOURCE sampler that was announced in the forums)
If you’re interested in learning more about the research that happens around Freesound (i.e. using Freesound data) not only at the MTG but also around the world, be sure to check the papers section of the Freesound Labs website.
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, while commercial use of the API requires a commercial license. In this way we make sure that commercial applications using Freesound also contribute back to the community. Note that this is independent from the license of the sounds themselves, which need to be respected regardless of the API usage agreement. In 2021 we increased the number of license agreements and also re-negotiated some of them (based on usage) and were able to increase the yearly income to reach ~6,000€. We spent this money in the same development efforts described in the User donations section above.
Summary and perspectives for 2022
As it is shown in this report, 2021 has consolidated the already existing trends in terms of sustainability and we have been able to translate this into many improvements in the website. We have not been able to further advance with potential new sustainability sources like the Freesound Licensing project and also we have not obtained new research grants, but nevertheless we have been able to carry out research which is more focused on Freesound and can more easily be transformed into actual features for the website. In 2022 we expect again to spend many development efforts in Freesound, with the main goals being to finish the new UI and to deploy research outputs into the website (we have already done significant work in that direction during the first months of 2022).
We’d like to finish this post by saying thank you to everyone who contributed to Freesound during 2021, in particular to those who donated and those who uploaded and moderated sounds. We’ll let you know how things go next year in the 2022’s sustainability report!