Community update February 2018

Dear all,

Welcome to our monthly update about things happening in the Freesound dev world! We have no significant new user-facing features to showcase this month but, as usual, we’ve been working in the background and been making some backend changes and developing some stuff which is not yet ready to be launched (but will be shortly!). We also continue to advance (maybe a bit slowly than expected) in the implementation of the new font-end interface 🙂 Here is the list of updates/fixes for this month:

  • Store the sounds that are downloaded every time a pack is downloaded. This will allow us to tell you which sounds (and with which licenses) were inside a pack when you downloaded it.
  • Change the way we store the count of downloads that you make.
  • New anti-spam measures to prevent spammers from using “about” and “URL” profile fields for spamming.
  • Currently we show a warning when including images from non-HTTPS locations in sound descriptions. Now this warning is extended to other fields that also support including images.
  • Improvements in the API documentation.
  • Other minor bugfixes and optimizations.

Aaaaand that’s for February. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next post!

The Freesound Team

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Community update January 2018

Dear Freesounders,

Welcome back to our monthly community update post in which we tell you about the things that have been happening in the Freesound dev world. This month we are releasing a major new feature and, as usual, many smaller things which improve Freesound here and there and make necessary steps for future improvements and new features. Our big new feature this month is…

  • Username change: from time to time we receive requests from users that want to change their usernames. Until now this was not available as an option and we only did it manually after support requests. From now on, you’ll be able to change your username from your settings page. Even if you change your username, posted links to your sounds, packs, etc., will still work (we redirect to the new username). Nevertheless, please don’t go and start changing all your usernames now, 99% of your usernames are certainly really good!  This is only intended for special occasions. Also, note that you can only change your username a number of times and that, when changed, you won’t be able to go back to your previous one.

Besides this new features, here is a list of other updates and fixes:

  • Store all the times you download the same sound as different records. In this way, in the future we’ll be able to tell you in which dates you downloaded a specific sound and with which license.
  • Improvements in our admin interface to manage API applications.
  • Updates in the documentation of the API.
  • Improved processing of HTML content in forum posts, sound/pack descriptions, about field and forum/sound signature fields.
  • Add a link to the sound moderation ticket from the sound page (only if you are the author of the sound or a moderator).
  • Other minor bugfixes and optimizations.

Aaaaand that’s for January. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next post! Some new big things are coming for uploaders 🙂

The Freesound Team

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2017 in numbers

Dear all,

Just like we did one year ago, we have collected some statistics of Freesound usage during 2017 and we’d like to share them with you. The stats will be presented following the same structure as in last year’s post so let’s get started with the number of new sounds uploaded during 2017:

36,517 new sounds!

which corresponds to…

661 hours of audio!

This means that this year there have been around 1,000 more new sounds uploaded than in 2016. Interestingly, sounds uploaded in 2017 are 5 seconds longer in average than sounds uploaded in 2016, thus the increase in hours of audio with respect to 2016 (73 hours) is bigger than expected.

This year the vast majority of uploaded sounds were released under the Creative Commons 0 license, as opposed to last year where the Creative Commons 0 and Creative Commons Attribution licenses were equally distributed:

Freesound currently hosts more than 363k sounds, which means that it would take you a full 213 (and a half) days to listen to all of Freesound 😉 We still have not reached the mark of 400k sounds, but if you continue uploading sounds at the same rate it’s just a matter of months until we get there…

If we look at the tagcloud (see below) of the uploaded sounds we’ll see that, again, field-recording is the most used tag of 2017. However we see also other tags which are very common: vsco-2, multisample and single-note among others. This is because of the addition of the Versilian Studios Chamber Orchestra 2 Community Edition library of ~3,000 instrument samples that happened back in January 2017.

And now getting to the ranking of uploaders. Last year there was a bit of controversy because we showed a raking of users sorted by the number of uploaded sounds during 2016, but this did not take into account the duration of the sounds. So this year we are showing two rankings, one ordered by number of uploads and the other ordered by total uploaded time:

Username # uploaded sounds Username uploaded time (hours)
#1 Samulis 3,071 #1 klankbeeld 54
#2 kyles 655 #2 shuraifa 47
#3 penetrermind 583 #3 kyles 27
#4 GCGuest1 536 #4 csengeri 27
#5 reklamacja 458 #5 awaka 23
#6 pjcohen 436 #6 felix.blume 14
#7 Jovica 366 #7 8
#8 deleted_user_2195044 351 #8 JonnyThePonny 7
#9 ldezem 321 #9 InspectorJ 6
#10 Glitchedtones 319 #10 DunyaninSesleri 6
#11 InspectorJ 311 #11 Corsica_S 5
#12 klankbeeld 291 #12 frambo44 5
#13 eardeer 291 #13 ChrisReierson 5
#14 Anthousai 285 #14 ColdWombDescent 4
#15 felix.blume 268 #15 BeeProductive 4
#16 deleted_user_7146007 263 #16 deleted_user_7146007 4
#17 cabled_mess 253 #17 Jovica 4
#18 awaka 242 #18 gis_sweden 4
#19 lomographicmusic 233 #19 Samulis 4
#20 jalastram 230 #20 dbspin 4

As you can see, the number of uploaded sounds and the total number of uploaded hours are different beasts, but there are some users who made it into both rankings. Congratulations to all uploaders (and moderators!) regardless of whether you are or not in the ranking!

Let’s now continue with statistics about the number of downloads. The number of sound downloads (including packs) during 2017 was…


So yes, you’ve beaten last year’s record of downloads. In fact, Freesounders have made more than 110M downloads in all its history, which means an average of 300 downloads per sound. Quite a number! Nevertheless, if we look closely at the downloads data, we see that there are a few sounds which are downloaded A LOT, and MANY sounds which are not downloaded much. In statistics, this is called a long tail distribution, and it’s something very common. Here we show a histogram of the number of downloads per sound:

This histogram should be read like “40% of the sounds in Freesound have been downloaded between 0 and 20 times”, “10% have been downloaded between 20 and 40 times”, and so on. In this histogram we only show up to 500 downloads per sound, but to make it complete we should show until ~130,000 downloads per sound (which is the number of downloads of the most downloaded sound in Freesound). The global average is at 300 downloads/sound, but the the likelihood of getting 300 or more downloads after uploading a sound in Freesound is not as high as you would expect (only one out of six sounds get, at least, that many downloads!). However don’t worry too much, 96% of sounds get at least one download 😉 In any case, you know what you have to do: upload awesome sounds! But before downloads happen, people need to search for stuff, so let’s see what Freesound users are searching for:

Does this look familiar? It looks quite similar to the termcloud we showed one year ago doesn’t it? Well, apparently wind, explosion, music and whoosh (in all it’s spelling variants) are still the most commonly used search terms. For example, on average for every day, there are more than 400 queries with the term wind and more than 270 queries with the term explosion. Other terms in the termcloud like scream or footsteps also seem to be pretty stable from one year to the next. We’ll see what happens in 2018!

To finalize this post, some numbers about messages, ratings, forums and comments. During 2017, you’ve sent more than 19k messages, added 140k sound ratings, written 1,900 forum posts and made more than 43k sound comments! With the exception of sound ratings (which has increased), these numbers are slightly lower than last year’s stats. We’ll see what happens next year after the new interface has been released and the impact that it will have on all these numbers.

Thanks for reading and enjoy a 2018 full of sounds!

The Freesound Team

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Community update December 2017

Dear Freesounders,

Here we are again with our monthly community update about things that have been happening in the Freesound dev world.

This month we have not released new user-facing  features, but this does not mean we have not been working hard 🙂 We indeed made a lot of changes on things that are not so much visible, and we are also in the middle of implementing other new features that you will love but are not ready yet to be deployed. So here comes the list of things we did:

  • Make links to sounds whose author changed his username still work after the username change
  • Prevent some errors that could happen when users double-click submit buttons in forms
  • Improvements in the way the number of sounds per users and packs, the number of posts per users, and number of comments and ratings per sounds are stored and synchronized with the real counts
  • Minor improvements in moderation workflow
  • Deleting your user account now requires to re-enter your password
  • Fix bug that in some occasions showed wrong sound signatures
  • Speed optimizations in our admin pages
  • Improve the way in which we store and synchronize information about user donations
  • Other minor bugfixes and optimizations

This is quite a number of things… but we have more news! Just as a kind of Christmas present, we would like to annoucne that during the last months we have been working hard with a designer on a complete redesign of the Freesound look and feel. This means that at some point in the next year Freesound will get a renewed design, more modern and easier to use. As part of the design, we slightly updated the Freesound logo and this, ladies and gentleman, will be the new logo and “red” Freesound tone:

Looks great, doesn’t it? The design phase for the new look and feel has already finished, and we have just started the actual implementation phase. During the design phase, the goal has always been to update Freesound’s look while preserving existing functionalities and workflows. It is still too early to reliably estimate a release date, but we’ll keep you posted.  Exciting, isn’t it?

Aaaand that’s it for now, thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next post!

The Freesound Team



ps: don’t see the differences in the logo? put it next to the current one 😉



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Community update November 2017

Hi again,

This is our monthly update of things happening in Freesound development! Remember we told you we’d try to write regularly-spaced-in-time blog posts letting you know what’s going on? Well we made it, so once month later here is a new issue 🙂

Here are the new features deployed this month:

  • Sound signature. If you go to your settings page you’ll see a new form field with the title Sound signature which allows you to introduce some text. You guessed it right? This text will be added at the end of the description of all of your sounds. If you change the sound signature, it will automatically be updated on all of your sounds. This way you’ll be able to add attribution instructions or other information that you want to appear in each sound. What? You have uploaded no sounds? Maybe it’s time to start!
  • Subscribe/Unsusbscribe to forum threads at any time. Those of you who participate in the forums already know that when you post in a thread you have the option to subscribe to the thread and get email notifications when new messages are posted. In these email notifications you have the option to unsusbscribe from the thread as well. Now these two operations can be easily performed from the thread page. This also means that you can receive notifications without actually participating in the conversation.

Besides these new features, we also made some other smaller changes and bugfixes:

  • Added minor improvements in the UI of the describe sounds page.
  • Fixed a bug which was wrongly reading metadata of some file formats including lossless version of M4a files.
  • Fixed a bug which disabled the group by pack option in search page.
  • Fixed a bug that caused some pack filters to fail in the search page when pack names contained non alphanumeric characters.
  • Fixed a bug in the search page which prevented sorting options other than Automatic by relevance to be used.
  • Correction of other smaller errors, significant code clean ups and internal optimizations.

That’s it for now, thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next post!

The Freesound Team

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Community update October 2017

Dear Freesounders,

We’ve been working hard on Freesound lately and have some news to share with you. You’ll remember that earlier this year we started a campaign to promote donations in Freesound. We had a public discussion in the forums where many of you participated (thanks!), and we finally started the donations campaign in July 2017 (see this forum post for details on the campaign). We’re now getting 15 times more donations than we used to get before starting the campaign which is a great start! It moves us closer to our sustainability goal and it has already allowed us to start spending more time and resources on improving Freesound for all of our users. Thank you all!

We have recently released some new user-visible features to Fresound:

  • Donations via stripe. Some potential donors didn’t want to use Paypal to send donations to us.  As an alternative, we added support for donations by credit card using Stripe.
  • Support for AAC files (.m4a extension). You can now upload sounds encoded using Advanced Audio Coding (AAC). AAC is a lossy audio compression standard designed to be the successor of MP3. Even though we still prefer sounds to be upload using uncompressed formats or non-proprietary formats like OGG, we’re sure that AAC support will come in handy for many Freesound users. [EDIT 20/10/2017: user guyburns reported that lossless m4a files are also supported but that there seem to be problems detecting the number of channels].
  • Faster random sound navigation. We’ve always had the ability to randomly browse for a random sound in Freesound. Now this is faster, try it today!
  • Sound license history. We now keep track if a sound uploader changes the license of their sound. This is important because you may have downloaded a sound under one license, and when you go back to check its status some months later the license may have changed! We will now tell you what the license was when you downloaded the sound so that you can be sure of your rights and obligations.

We’ve also made a number of smaller changes which are not as visible, but help us improve Freesound for us and you:

  • We now keep a record of what the sound of the day was each day. Do you want a throwback to what the sound of the day was on a particular day of the year? We’ll be able to tell you!
  • If you forget your password and your email address you can now reset it using just your username, much the same way that you can log in with both your username and email.
  • If you’re uploading many sounds at once with a geolocation, we now remember the last location that you added so that you can quickly add the next.
  • Tickets now show faster for our tireless team of moderators (thanks everyone!)
  • We’re making changes to move Freesound to a full HTTPS setup, protecting you when you enter passwords when logging in.
  • We’re fixing small programming errors that have accumulated over years of Freesound development. If you’ve ever got a message saying “You found some part of Freesound that’s broken”, then don’t worry, we get a notification of the error and we’re working to make sure that these errors happen less for our users.

That’s all for now! Hopefully this will be the first post of a series of more-or-less-regularly-spaced-in-time posts that we’ll be doing to keep you updated about things happening in the Freesound dev world. Want some more exciting news? Then wait for the next post 🙂

Thanks for reading and keep on Freesounding!

The Freesound Team

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Maintenance downtime, Monday 3rd July 10:30 a.m. CEST [done]

Dear Freesounders,

On Monday 3rd at 10:30 a.m. CEST Freesound will be down for approximately two hours while we perform some maintenance on our servers. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this may cause.



edit: all servers have been updated and we’re back to normality (Monday 3rd 1 p.m.)

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Problems sending emails [fixed]

EDIT 8/6/2017: email sending is back to normal. We’ve resent emails with activation codes to all users that registered during the period while the email service was not working properly.


As some of you reported, Freesound is experiencing problems with emails. We have identified the issue and worked out the fix, but are still waiting for our email provider to do some extra stuff. We hope that email sending will go back to normal in the following hours.

After all email problems have been fixed, we will re-send activation emails to those users who registered after the problems started and could not activate their accounts.

In the meanwhile please be patient 🙂



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Login with email and Twitter cards

Dear Freesounders,

This is post is to let you know about two features that we have just deployed for your enjoyment:

  • Login with email: from now on you can login to Freesound either using your username or your email address. Might not be a game changer, but will certainly be helpful for many users.
  • Support for Twitter cards: you can now share Freesound sounds on Twitter and these will be displayed in a nice card with a Freesound player. All you need to do is to add a Freesound sound URL in your tweets 🙂

Twitter Card screenshot

That’s it for now!!
Keep on Freesounding,


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The future sustainability of Freesound

Dear Freesound community,

We would like to give you an update about the current situation of Freesound funding and to get your feedback about some of our future plans regarding its sustainability. Be prepared for a rather long read 😉

As most of you will know, Freesound was started in 2005 at the Music Technology Group (MTG) of Universitat Pompeu Fabra. The initial aim of the project was to create an open database of sounds that could also be used for scientific research. However Freesound became bigger and bigger and turned into a wide and active community of users which grew well beyond any initial goals. Freesound currently hosts more than 4400 hours of audio and serves around 50000 sounds per day. For more statistics, have a look at this blog post.

As you can imagine, the cost of maintaining Freesound has been increasing as the site has grown, and it is not an easy task to find resources (both human and machine) to maintain and keep improving Freesound. Freesound has always been developed and maintained by researchers at the MTG and, as hard as it might seem to believe, Freesound has never had a single person fully dedicated to it (with very few exceptions). This is because Freesound’s current sustainability model is based on maintaining and improving Freesound as a “side-effect” of other research projects.

Our current sustainability model only allows us to maintain Freesound and does not allow us to spend time working on adding new features or improving existing ones. To change that, we need to rethink the current sustainability model and get to a point where Freesound can generate enough to be partially sustained by itself. This means to generate enough regular income so that we can dedicate more resources to Freesound and make it a better place both for its user community and the research community.

Because of the nature of Freesound and the philosophy of openness, sharing and reuse that we promote, we think that the sustainability model that best fits our case is one based on user donations (similarly to Wikipedia). Even though Freesound has been accepting user donations since the beginning, it is something we have never promoted. Currently, we are *only* raising around 2000€ per year in user donations, but we think we could raise much more. Considering the huge amount of users that regularly download content from Freesound, we estimate that with a very small yearly contribution from some of these users, we can collect enough to keep Freesound in good shape. For the sake of total transparency let us mention that, ideally, we want to raise enough to be able to maintain a couple of people dedicated full-time to do research and development with Freesound. We also want to be able to cover some of the expenses related to hosting and server maintenance. We estimate that this could be covered if we raise a minimum of 100000€ a year. This means that we need to increase current donations by a factor of 50. Please note that we are not thinking of imposing any yearly fee for the use of Freesound. What we are suggesting is that if we reach a significant number of donors, donations as small as 10€ a year would be enough to reach our goal.

In order to increase donations we are planning to start a campaign to actively promote them. We will do that by using banners and pop-ups, and occasionally sending some emails. Our main target is to reach those users who regularly download content and try not to impact users who are already contributing to Freesound by uploading sounds, by writing in forums or being part of the core community. We will also publish a regular report on how much money we raised and how we spend it.

Before making further steps with the donations campaign we wanted to share this with you and get your feedback. Feel free to tell us your thoughts in this forum thread that we set up for this occasion.

the Freesound team,

Alastair, Andrés, Bram, Frederic, Sonia, Xavier

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