2020 in numbers

Hi everyone,

Welcome again to 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… you guessed it… COVID19 and Freesound! But let’s start at the beginning. The number of new sounds uploaded during 2020 was…

46,441 new sounds!

which corresponds to…

772 hours of audio!

That is roughly 5,000 more sounds than 2019, but 30 hours less of audio. This can be explained because the average sound is about 8 seconds shorter compared to sounds uploaded in 2019. I have an idea about why this might be the case, I’ll let you know below.

What about the license distribution for these 46k newly uploaded sounds? Here it is:

Again, this is similar to previous years distribution, and Creative Commons 0 is still by far the most used license. However, the percentage of CC-BY-NC has increased a bit with respect to previous years. We’ll see in coming years if this is indeed a tendency or just normal variations.

With the new additions from 2020, Freesound now currently hosts an amazing total of 483,213 sounds. 🎉 Here is the evolution of the total number of sounds since the beginning of Freesound, and our prediction for the future:

In 2019, our prediction for the number of sounds showed that we would reach the 500k mark at some point in 2020. As you can see we are very close to the 500k mark but we’re still not there. However this was to be expected because, as I explained in previous year post, our prediction was biased by the upload of large sample libraries in previous years.

The topics of the newly uploaded sounds from 2020 can be summarised with the following tag cloud:

The tag cloud is again very similar to last years’ one, with the big tags (field-recording, ambient, synth, music, loop, effect, …) remaining unchanged. However the interesting thing is to look into the the tags that come after those big ones. Last year I found a big number of sounds being uploaded as part of some assignment in an educational programme in The Czech Republic. This year however, the unusually big tags are yamaha-cs80 and cs80 (and some others related to this). This is because user mogigrumbles uploaded a collection of 1,800 samples of the almighty Yamaha CS80 polyphonic analogue synthesiser introduced in mid 70s. Thank you! I think this is the reason why we see the average sound duration to be shorter this year. The CS80 collection of 4 second long samples seems to be affecting our general statistics. And this is actually interesting because it means that, even if Freesound is huge, individual contributions can still make a big impact on the community.

Here are a few sound examples from the aforementioned sound collection:

And now to another classic statistic from this series of posts: to listen to the whole Freesound recordings would now require 302 days and 20 hours of your life. If any of you is planning on taking a sabbatical year to listen to all Freesound, be ready for a year full of wind, explosions, birds, synthesisers and loops! Ah, and you’ll still get 2-months of vacation after 🙂

Also, those planning a sabbatical, you can take the opportunity to record many sounds so that next year you might enter the rankings of uploaders:

Username# uploaded soundsUsernameuploaded time (hours)

Thanks everyone for all the contributions, you’re truly making the world a better place upload after upload!

And what about downloads? The number of sound downloads (including packs) during 2020 was…


That’s, again, a new record, 1.7M more downloads than last year:

All in all, users have downloaded more than 171M sounds and packs from Freesound! Here is the cloud of query terms that are used by Freesound users when searching for sounds:

It does not really change from year to year, but it is always nice to see these word clouds right? wind, music, explosion, rain, birds, fire, that’s what people need!

Some extra general statistics: In 2020, you sent 22k messages, wrote 1.1k forum posts and made 65k sound comments (18k more than last year!). 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 214k sound ratings in 2020, 45k more than last year. This is really great! In fact, what all of this seems to indicate is that, even though the number of sound uploads is similar to last year, it looks like there has been more activity around the sounds (ratings, comments, downloads…). I wonder if that is because, for some reason, this year Freesound has had more “casual” visitors. And well, could maybe this be a consequence of COVID19 and lockdowns? Let’s dig into that!

In the plot below you’ll see a comparison of the number of Freesound visitors per month in the last 4 years:

As you can see, in 2020 there have been significantly more visitors than in the previous years, specially during the – almost worldwide – lockdown periods of Spring and Autumn. This makes sense, because some people might all of a sudden have found themselves with more free time and decided to spend it on Freesound. In those cases, we could not be happier to have been able to provide a service in these complicated times 🙂 Furthermore, if we look at the number of donations, we also see that this year we got ~30% more donations than the previous year, which correlates very well with the increase of visitors and suggests that people have found Freesound to be a useful resource for them. Let me take this opportunity to thank again everyone who donates to Freesound and, in general, to everyone who makes it possible!

2020 developed in rather unexpected ways for many people around the world, and 2021 seems to be full of uncertanity as well. However, looking at our stats, we can be quite confident that Freesound will remain strong and that, at some point during 2021, we will definitely surpass the 500k uploaded sounds mark! That’s it for this year’s post. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy a 2021 full of sounds 🙂

frederic, on behalf of the Freesound Team

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11 Responses to 2020 in numbers

  1. Jordan/Erokia says:

    Oh wow, that graph of visitors in 2020 is crazy, but absolutely makes sense that Covid19 had to be the culprit for people having more free time.

    Excellent post as always Frederic.
    Lets make 2021 sound better than the last.


  2. TheRealDrummerDude says:

    Wonderful site! This is a stellar example of good things happening on the internet.

  3. Joao_Janz says:

    Great to see the community grow in size and quality!

    I’m glad to be part of the usual contributors =)

    Hope everyone has a great 2021!

  4. Aaron Moreno Ayala says:

    Thank you for this work, is a tremendously valuable resource for anyone who loves sound.

  5. This is great! I hope we reach the 50000 mark. I have a question, how do you guys keep track of the Data about how many sounds, the number of downloads and who used what license people used for the sounds? It’s cool to look at these every beginning of each year. My username is Bryce 835.

  6. Jay says:

    Thank you! This website has become my favourite resource for ambient sound effects. Hopefully will be able to contribute some unique sounds here someday 🙂

  7. colorsCrimsonTears says:

    Been happy to have supplied plenty of free cc0 sounds that so many people
    have found use for. It brings a smile to my face whenever I find out that I’ve been able to help someone out that’s in need! This is a great site that I hope many more people find out about and use in the future. I’m looking forward to continuing to contribute completely free sounds for the public domain. 🙂

  8. San says:

    I?ve a question, is it possible to sell my sound effects ? I?ve been using this sites for long time,still cannot figure it out.Thanks for the team in advance.

  9. frederic.font says:

    Hi San, the creative commons licenses allow you to sell your sounds and give different usage rights to whoever you want to. However, Freesound does not provide any functionality to help in this process. As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re working on a service to provide some support for this re-licensing process. If things go well, maybe by the end of this year we have some first prototypes.

  10. Dopemelor says:

    Am making beats on fL studio and am new
    I needed some samples

  11. PITCHEDsenses says:

    It would be very interesting to know how many terabytes or even more that means, also the traffic amount 🙂

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