Welcome to a new community update post! We just realised that we didn’t do any community update posts for the last year 🙁 However, we’ve had some activity in the blog through the guest blog posts (and we’d like to give thanks to the authors!). And well, what a year 2020 has been! Surely not the best of all times. In any case, time has come for a new update about how things are going in the Freesound world. Here is a summary of the things we’ve been working on during the last months and some plans for 2021:
- Bug fixes, general maintenance and software updates: as usual, lots of work that happen without any glory but that are necessary to keep Freesound up and running.
- New infrastructure: some of you will have noticed that the servers have been misbehaving a little recently, making the upload of large files quite difficult and generating some general slowdowns. The fact is that Freesound continues to grow and our current infrastructure is not easily scalable. In 2021 we’ll start to move Freesound to a new infrastructure that should allow us to scale much better and hopefully get rid of the performance problems we’ve been having this year.
- New frontend: We’ve slowly been working on the new interface, but now we have a developer working exclusively on the implementation of the new frontend and we’re finally advancing at a good speed. If we are able to keep working at the same speed, I think it is safe to say that we can expect the new frontend to be finished during the first half of 2021 🙂
- New features: we’re also working on new features, and have so many ideas in mind! Together with the new interface, we expect to release a new feature that will perform automatic clustering of search results based on sound similarity. This will provide an alternative facet with which to explore search results and find the sound you’re looking for (maybe that other sound that you were not really looking for but sounds similar and is actually amazing!)
In addition to all of the above, we would like to announce that Freesound has been awarded a Grant for the Web award which will provide us with some funds to explore ideas related to a Freesound-sister project that we call Freesound Licensing. The idea of Freesound Licensing is to provide a service to Freesound uploaders that will allow them to re-license the sounds to 3rd parties that need to use the sounds under terms not allowed by the original Creative Commons licenses. The goal is to provide a solution to the typical problem of someone wanting to use a CC-BY-NC sound from Freesound in a commercial project. Freesound Licensing will mediate between that someone and the sound author to generate a new license in exchange for a payment. This will benefit both uploaders and downloaders, but also, by keeping a small share of the license payments, Freesound Licensing will contribute to the sustainability of Freesound. More news regarding this project will come during 2021.
And that’s it for now, happy new year to everyone!
the Freesound Team
Exciting times… But I fear that this may harm the essence and ethos of the Freesound community. If this side-project isn’t carefully explored and implemented, I envision the “free” in Freesound becoming redundant as the site becomes another paid, stock media marketplace site for audio – similar to pond5, audiojungle etc.
That said; thank you for the update and your continued work in maintaining Freesound!
Thanks for the update and to you and contributors for the service and sounds to date. And all the best to you all for 2021.
Hi, thanks for the comments!
“But I fear that this may harm the essence and ethos of the Freesound community. If this side-project isn?t carefully explored and implemented, I envision the ?free? in Freesound becoming redundant as the site becomes another paid, stock media marketplace site for audio ? similar to pond5, audiojungle etc.”
Thanks for pointing that out as I know this is a valid concern that many people (and me included) can have. We definitely don’t want to become “another paid, stock media marketplace site” and we’ll work actively to prevent that. Freesound Licensing should be a complement to Freesound which can help in the sustainability of the platform and can also attract some new users that will contribute new CC sounds (even if CC-BY-NC percentage might grow a bit). Also it is an experiment to demonstrate that CC and commercial applications are compatible and that we can make an ecosystem that benefits everyone. In any case, maintaining the Freesound philosophy is primordial, more important than the Freesound Licensing project itself.
simply awesome for those of us who do not have the resources, contacts or legalese to effectively work thru the licensing process. If done well, Freesound & Freesound Lecensing can benefit from eachother while still maintaining the Freesound philosphy.
This project is what has attracted me to the Freesound platform
Sounds good ! 🙂
I hope that there will be several types of social media options (Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, pinterest, linkedin, you tube, twitter etc…) attached to the profiles so that the uploader does not have to enter them in the description.
And if you could add uploader supportive links (Patreon, PaypalMe, Ko-fi) you would be really great.
Good luck Freesound !
To me, Freesound Licensing sounds like a Frankenstein. If it becomes easy to renegotiate licenses, you’ll see massive waves of CC-By-NC sounds coming in, ruining the spirit of the site. I can just picture the descriptions. “Want our sounds for commercial use? Buy our premium CC-BY license!” I definitely see Freesound Licensing as a dangerous move.
The problem with the proposed model is it encourages people to license their sounds under CC-BY-NC in order to turn themselves even a small profit, which will make CC-BY-NC the dominant format and thus removing the ‘free’ aspect for any commercially ambiguous situations (EG video uploads), and Freesound will thus become another ‘royalty free license’ style sound platform. Methinks the grant is more of a trojan horse.
Freesound can solve the funding issue by instead allowing people to post financial bounties for specific CC0 sounds. So for example, I put up $10 asking for a recording of a boat creaking. People then submit private sound submissions in response, I pick the best one, which then joins Freesound as CC0.
That person can then either choose to allow Freesound to keep all the money (as a donation), or split the bounty, with Freesound specifying automatically specifying the minimum percentage they’ll accept and the user allowed to, if they see fit, increase how much of that percentage Freesound gets.
‘Losing’ submissions are allowed to decide if they want to upload to Freesound anyway, or keep it for another rainy day bounty.
This would then allow people who urgently need a specific sound for a given project to post bounties proportionate to the urgency of the required sound. Not only would this be a sustainable financial model, but it encourages the uploading of permanently free, custom, high-quality sounds. So the money is earned in the service provided by the users and hosting provided by Freesound, and not in the licencing.
A variant of the idea would involve a generalised bounty system where Freesound itself sets up a bounty pot (starting at $0.00) for a specific sound they’re requesting, and the community contribute to the bounty depending on how much they want that sound. Freesound then pick the winner (or could divide the spoils 1st/2nd/3rd) and keep their portion of the split, with the winners free to choose like above if they want to just donate it to Freesound.
Hi, thanks for your comments. These are all very interesting thoughts and we agree with what is is written. We definitely don’t want Freesound to become another “royalty free license” sound platform. The reason for making Freesound Licensing is because we want to demonstrate that Creative Commons sounds and their commercial use can co-exist happily and benefit each other and, while doing this, contribute to the sustainability of Freesound. We think that we’re in a rather privileged position to try something like that. However, Freesound will survive without Freesound Licensing as well, and our priority is the Freesound community and its spirit. We will be monitoring the impact of Freesound Licensing and evaluate together with the community whether it is being beneficial or not. We could decide to shut down the licensing service if it is not bringing positive things to Freesound.