The Freesound platform, an established world leader for audio exchange

Freesound, a collaborative platform for audio exchange
Freesound, a collaborative platform for audio exchange

Freesound is a collaborative online platform, created in 2005 by the Music Technology research group (MTG) of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) at UPF, which allows musicians, artists and researchers to exchange sounds free of charge under a Creative Commons (CC) license. In all this time, the platform has become established in top slot and has become a well-known resource for various groups that use audio, probably the biggest repository of sounds with Creative Commons licences in existence.

Freesound uses an advanced search engine with technologies developed by the MTG. With this engine, users can browse, search and retrieve sound information, look for sounds based on their similarity and according to the semantic relations that are established on the basis of textual descriptions. Apart from the web portal, Freesound also offers an API that allows access to and re-use of data and sounds to researchers and developers outside the MTG.

Stunning progression in 10 years

On 2 January 2017, Freesound had 6,200,000 registered users who on average contribute to the platform 100 new sounds per day; just in 2016, 36,000 new sounds that correspond to 588 hours of audio and that join the 327,000 sounds contained on the platform and are available to users (4,400 hours). In terms of usage, users downloaded 16 million sounds from the platform in 2016 which, when added to the previous downloads makes a total of 94.2 million. The Freesound community is mainly located in the US (25.7%), the United Kingdom (6.3%), China (3.7%), and also to a lesser extent in India and in Italy (source: Alexa).

Freesound Labs, a meeting point for creative designers, developers and users

In 2009, Google Research gave an important boost to the platform with a grant of $35,000 that allowed implementing many enhancements to Freesound, improving the software and promoting the use of the product in the areas of research and musical creation from around the world.

Recently, Freesound Labs was launched, a useful tool for keeping track of all kinds of activities and projects that take place around Freesound. In the long term, the aim is to turn Freesound Labs into a portal in which the creators, developers, researchers, and users of the platform can share their projects and give them visibility. This would significantly increase Freesound’s potential impact, would give more value to the re-use of its contents and would adapt to the new requirements of the Freesound user community.

This promotional video of the project (2013) shows some of the capabilities available to the user, as well as some examples of the types of users that make up the Freesound community.