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  • avatar
    219 sounds
    52 posts
    Freesound Radio?

    I posted this in another thread which seems to have withered so I thought I would bring it to the surface here. Just wondering if anyone else would like to hear a semi-organized stream of freesound sounds.

    What I would like to see is some kind of "freesound radio" that just streams sound after sound (but not randomly). Would it be possible to stream freesound into Pandora? Or create a Pandora-like "recommendation radio"? Perhaps that could be a service that you charge for, to help pay the bills.

    hello_flowers wrote:
    I don't quite understand what dave is saying about a radio station. Why a radio station? How will that work, seeing how some samples are really short, and that if it spouts out sounds that aren't related to eachother... ???

    I was assuming most people were familiar with Pandora, but perhaps not - go to It is quite nicely done and I think has a successful business model. A group of people calling themselves the "Music Genome Project" listens to each song and records attributes for it:

    Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.

    Over the past 6 years, we've carefully listened to the songs of over 10,000 different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new stuff coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world.

    You create "stations" by entering an artist or song. Pandora then plays songs that have the same "genes". Most of the time it does an amazingly good job. Their FAQ claims that their free subscriptions are paid for by advertising, but I have never seen or heard an ad there. I would guess that most of their income comes when someone hears a song they like, and they click on a link to go to itunes or amazon to buy it - I am sure pandora gets a cut of the sale.

    At Freesound, I like to listen to new sounds, sounds that have recently gotten comments, related samples, and occasionally a random sound. When I first visited I listened to the most downloaded and top-ranked songs, which took about 10 minutes, and left me with tens of thousands more sounds to explore somehow. I certainly can and occasionally do searches and explore in various ways. But most of the time I am not really searching for anything in particular - just something I haven't heard and that I find interesting.

    I often listen to music with headphones while working. I would love to be able to just listen to a stream of freesounds, like stations on pandora. If I hear something cool that I would like to keep, I would go download it. Using pandora instead of randomly selected sounds would ensure that the sounds were somehow similar (e.g. field recordings, foley sounds). Also since it is a continuous stream I don't have to keep clicking away on my mouse to keep the sounds flowing.

    I really think a freesound feed into Pandora could work quite well, for the following reasons:
    1. Although there is no "sample genome project" akin to the Music Genome Project, I gather that Bram & Co. have developed algorithms that can extract many of these "genes" from samples. We could also appeal to the freesound community to record "genes" for each sound.
    2. I believe the Creative Commons License that freesound uses would be compatible with what Pandora is doing. I just noticed that pandora is not yet international due to licensing restrictions. freesound has no such limitation.

    Granted I don't think the world would rush out to listen to "freesound radio" but I suspect that many people would, especially as we all get smarter about this freesound project. For field recordings, I think that some kind of experience that let you sit back and listen to sounds from all over the world would be really appealing to people. I'm thinking of using the geotags to go on "aural journeys" - e.g. listen to sounds from a certain geography, or moving from place to place in some kind of theme, or following the sounds of a day from dawn to darkness in a certain type of environment (wilderness, backyard, city). Or provide a way for people to make a playlist of sounds for others to listen to - a kind of radio show or podcast. We are already doing this on freesound today, creating hour-long mixes to help people sleep, etc.

    Of course streaming "freesound radio" directly from freesound would suck Bram's bandwidth dry. All the more reason to approach someone like Pandora about the idea. They seem to have solved the bandwidth problem.


  • avatar
    178 sounds
    742 posts

    Hm. Interesting idea.

    Personally I am more partial to music, so I subscribe to the ccMixter editor's pick podcast and a few individual artists like NoiseCollector and Pitx.

    I guess the radio would play more ambient sound?
    That shouldn't be so hard to do technically, with pandora or otherwise, but the question is how would the samples be selected? I think ambient stuff and soundscapes would work best (altohugh I doubt I'd listen to it much.)

    Freesound Admin Official Acclivity Fan Club - Member | Stuck with FLAC? Check the FAQ.
  • avatar
    4677 sounds
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    Thanks Halleck, I have to add some more stuff to CCmixter soon. They get antsy when I upload 3 songs in a row so I stopped for a while... I like the idea of a stream. I think you could incorportate into sample packs easily as the playlist is all related, but then again what's wrong with random or unrelated sounds? I think this should be explored more myself.

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