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Freesound aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, ... released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse. Freesound provides new and interesting ways of accessing these samples, allowing users to:
We also aim to create an open database of sounds that can also be used for scientific research. Many audio research institutions have trouble finding correctly licensed audio to test their algorithms. Many have voiced this problem, but so far there hasn't been a solution.
As long as you follow the legal guidelines described below in the Licenses section, ... yup! Some sounds you cannot use commercially, and many of the sounds you need to credit the author. See one section below!
Well, it depends on what you want to do and which files you want to use. First of all, freesound lets the user select one of three licenses for their sounds. And, we used to have a 4th license, which complicates matters. Depending on the license there are things you can and can't do with the files. Let's start with the licenses. Creative commons has a really nice page explaining them:
We aren't lawyers so this isn't legal advice, but here's our summary: for the "zero" license you can do pretty much what you want with the sound. You could even sell the sound, ... but you can't claim you are the author! For "attribution" you should always mention the original creators of the sounds when you use them. "Noncommercial" works like attribution, but you can't earn any money with the piece of work you create! As with all licenses the original creator can give you permission to use the sound outside of the original license.
The content of the Freesound website is uploaded by the users of the site. As per our terms of service our users are required to follow the rules and not upload any copyrighted material. However, like all content on the internet, there might be cases where the users of our site are (un)knowingly uploading illegal content. If you find such content, make sure that you click the "Flag it!" link on the page which contains the sound.
In freesound "1" we had an additional license called Sampling+:
Our interpretation of this license: you can do pretty much what you could do with the attribution noncommercial license, but additionally you can't make commercial advertisement with the sound. You can't make a track with Sampling+ samples to sell a car, for example. Sampling+ is being removed by creative commons because it's a difficult license to interpret, see below for more on that.
Now I can already hear you saying, "attribution", how should I do that, so see the next section!
Crediting people is easy, just say something like this:
This [video/theatre piece/...] uses these sounds from freesound:
"sound1" by user1 ( http://freesound.org/s/soundID/ ) licensed under CCBYNC 4.0
"sound2", "sound3" by user2 ( http://freesound.org/people/user2/ ) licensed under CCBY 4.0
The official Creative Commons guidelines for attribution can be found here: How To Give Attribution - Creative Commons
If you want to know which files you have downloaded since you joined freesound, you can see this in the attribution list.
If you have a particularly long list of files or very little space to attribute sounds you can always do:
This [video/theatre piece/...] uses many sounds from freesound,
for the full list see here: http://www.mysite.com/work-credits.html
If you want to see a practical example from the video game Minecraft
In the event of using sounds in Freesound to create new sounds, the following table helps you understanding how you can mix them, what can the resulting license/s be, and what the attribution obligations are. Lets say that a user B adds a new sound of her own that includes/modifies/remixes a sound from another user A, then:
|License of sound of A
|B wants to distribute the new sound under
|Can B do this?
(*) If a third user C uses the sound from B, she must attribute to B.
(**) B must attribute the sound to A. If a third user C uses the sound from B, she must attribute both A and B.
Retired just means that Creative Commons is no longer recommending this particular license. If you want to read in detail why, have a look at their blog post which explains it all in detail.
We would love to remove all Sampling+ licenses from our site, but the sounds on freesound are not our sounds, they are the sounds of our users. So, we can't simply change the licenses for the users, we have to ask them to change the license. This is exactly what happens when an old freesounder signs into their old account: we ask them to upgrade all their samples to a new license. Again, you can see how we do that in the creative commons blog post. Until all old users have signed into freesound once, there will always be Sampling+ sounds on freesound...
This is an unfortunate consequence of systems such as YouTube Content ID Scanning.
For example, a lot of the sound effects from this site are being used "raw" in songs ("raw" which means "unchanged"; so without any editing, extra plugins etc. things that change the sound).
So if an artist creates a song that contains all of, or even a snippet of, a "raw" sound effect from this site, and then the artist also submits their song to the YouTube Content ID Scanning system, then if another person uses the same sound effect in a YouTube video, the ID scan will discover a match. If the sound was modified with plugins, stretched or slowed, etc., then the system is less likely to find a match.
When a match is found, the artist/publisher that submitted their work to YouTube Content ID gets notified that a video has been uploaded that contains a match with their submitted song, and then they may raise a copyright claim on the video.
Most often this can be (and has been) resolved by disputing the copyright claim through YouTube and explaining the situation. To support this, you can provide evidence that the Freesound upload predates the copyrighted work (e.g. provide a link to the Freesound sound page followed by the release date of their copyrighted work).
For all the sections below, please make sure you check your spam folder for the emails we send you.
Please go here: http://www.freesound.org/home/password_reset/
This should help: http://www.freesound.org/home/reactivate/
Sure! Go here... http://www.freesound.org/home/username/
You can find the option to delete yourself in your settings page. When you delete your account, all your personal data will be removed. We will still keep records of your downloads, ratings, comments, etc., and these will still be visible in Freesound, but will be assigned to an anonymized user account with a name similar to "Deleted User XXX".
If you have uploaded sounds, you'll be given the option to either keep the sounds (and packs) or to delete them. If you chose to keep your sounds, these will still be available for other users in Freesound but sounds will appear to be uploaded by an anonymized user account. In this way, the Freesound community can still download and reuse the sounds you created.
To download a sound, first make sure you are logged into your registered account. Then, navigate to a sound's full description page by clicking on the title of the sound on either the search results list or any link on the site. Example of what this page looks like: https://freesound.org/people/InspectorJ/sounds/406900/
On that page you will find a big red download button on the right-hand side of the screen. Click on this and your download should begin. If that doesn't start downloading the file, but instead takes you to another page with a streaming player, you might have to Right-click on the download button and select "save target as" or "save link as" depending on your browser. Do this for each sound you want to download.
On the "edit" page of a sound you will find a sound deletion link, at the very bottom of the page... You can find the edit page by looking for the link called "Edit sound information" on the single sound view page.
We support 4 formats at freesound:
mp3 is mpeg 2, layer III. We don't really need to explain this :-)
FLAC (.flac or .fla) is the Free Lossless Audio Codec, an open-source compression scheme that can cut the size of an audio file in half (on average) while not losing any quality in the process. It's basically ZIP for audio files. Using FLAC is good for Freesound because it saves on disk space and bandwidth usage, reduces download times, but doesn't degrade the quality of the sample like mp3 or another lossy codec would.
Ogg Vorbis (.ogg) is an open-source lossy audio codec comparable to modern AAC Audio (as used in the iTunes store, etc.). It does degrade the quality of the sample somewhat in order to save on space, but it is much more efficient at this than an older format like mp3. An Ogg file can have the same quality as an mp3 file using less space, or better quality using the same space.
AIFF/WAV (.aiff or .aif/.wav) are both uncompressed audio formats. Files in this format are considered by some to be easier to work with because there is no extra conversion step in most cases. However, this comes at the price of a much larger file.
Other recommendations for sound conversion software are:
It is important to have a description of a sound, it can help you find specific sounds through the search for example. What use is our major sound library going to have if you are not able to find a specific sound when you need it. The purpose of description is, on one hand to provide information (preferably deep) about the sound, from where it comes, it's peculiarities and the tools used to create/record it ... and at the other hand to be used when doing a search.
However, this is a problem that all sound libraries have. So perhaps its best to have a look at how they solve this problem and then turn to our specific situation here at freesound and see if we can adapt their model to ours. In sampling, especially the big part of sampling that contains field recordings, there are several layers in which we can describe sounds.
We will take a simple example "car crash sound" and improve its description.
First of all, there is the macro description. This describes the whole event of a sound. For example "this is a recording of a car crash". For somebody looking for a sound of a car crash this description is perfect.
However, what if your looking for the sound of metal and glass breaking? This car crash could be very useful, but perhaps if you hadn't come up with that you might not have located this source. So in order for this to work you need to break up the sample in smaller events.
Our description: "Car Crash: breaking of glass, crushing metal on metal, burning rubber."
This is the level in which you use the same kind of language usually found in modular synthesis. The Envelope of a sound, the timbral aspects etc.
Our description: "Car Crash: breaking of glass, crushing metal on metal, burning rubber. Hard impact sounds, glass shards falling to the floor."
Another important factor is the technology used to create the sample. Make sure you list:
Our description: "Car Crash: breaking of glass, crushing metal on metal, burning rubber. Hard impact sounds, glass shards falling to the floor. Recorded with a SoundDevices recorder and stereo microphone (rode NT4). The sound was post-processed to make the impacts more dramatic (compression with waves C4)."
Another way to attack the problem is to try to answer these questions:
Our description now finally becomes: "Car Crash: breaking of glass, crushing metal on metal, burning rubber. Hard impact sounds, glass shards falling to the floor. Recorded with a SoundDevices recorder and stereo microphone (rode NT4). The sound was post-processed to make the impacts more dramatic (compression with waves C4). Recorded on windy afternoon in Melbourne centre for our new movie The Car Crash. The car we destroyed was a Fiat Panda."
First off, we're not copyright lawyers, so these guidelines should not be seen as legal advice ;-)
If you have any doubts about your sound being legal or not to post try asking in the legal questions forum, but don't forget we aren't lawyers.
Why don't you try searching for the sound you want: Try http://www.freesound.org/search/. All the sounds on freesound are made by our users, Freesound itself does not create or record the sounds!
If that doesn't help you could try asking in the Sample Request Forum.
Sounds uploaded to Freesound can be of any duration, but there is a file size upper limit of 1GB. Note that when uploading multiple files at once, the size limit is applied to the sum of all file sizes. Therefore you can, for example, upload 4x250MB files, but not 3x500MB.
When you listen to the sounds before downloading (on the site), you're listening to mp3 or ogg previews of the sounds encoded in relatively low bit rates to save bandwidth. No (dynamics) compression is applied at all out of that that the mp3 or ogg encoder itself might add (which should be minimal or none).
When you download the sound you get the exact same original file that was uploaded, no transcoding nor any kind of editing at all, without the squeaking.
You can describe your uploaded audio files in batches of 10 sounds using the Freesound describe sounds page. However, if you have many sounds to describe this can become a tedious process. Luckily, if you have demonstrated being a faithful Freesound user (and have already uploaded 40 sounds or more), when you go to the describe sounds page you'll see an extra option named Bulk description of files. If you don't see that option and still need to describe files in bulk, please fill a request using our contact form.
Using that option you can provide descriptions for several files at once by uploading a data file which contains all the necessary metadata information. We support data files in CSV, XLS, and XLSX formats. Data files must be created following the instructions below.
Using this method you can describe hundreds of sounds at a time, this means you have to double check that all the metadata you provide is correct because you won't be able to modify the descriptions in bulk at a later time. We recommend that before uploading any large collection, you first try by batch describing a small number of test sounds and see if it all looks good. After that you can do the rest :)
2) Open the template file with any spreadsheet editor software like LibreOffice Calc, Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets. XLS and XLSX should work well with any of these options and possibly other similar software. CSV has better support in LibreOffice Calc and Google Spreadsheets.
3) Fill in the metadata of your sounds by adding one new row per sound. You can delete the example rows provided in the template, but don't delete the header row. This is a description of what should go in each column of a row:
4) Save the file in either CSV, XLS or XLSX format. If saving in CSV format, make sure that comma is used as the delimiter character.
In November 2023, a new Freesound user interface (codenamed Beast Whoosh, or simply Freesound 3) was released (and the old UI removed). The new UI not only updates the graphical design of the website but it also introduces a ton of improvements in terms of workflow and features. Also, it provides new ground for adding more new features in the future. What follows is a list of the most important changes and new features implemented by the new Beast Whoosh user interface:
There are probably other new features and changes that I'm not listing here because I already forgot, but these should be the most important :)
Freesound isn't meant to upload songs, it's for sounds! We know this distinction is sometimes difficult (soundscapes come to mind), but if you made it you probably know in your heart if it's a song or a sound... For songs there are a lot of great already existing sites like:
You should reference the ACM MM'13 Freesound Technical Demo article.
Frederic Font, Gerard Roma, and Xavier Serra. "Freesound technical demo."
Proceedings of the 21st ACM international conference on Multimedia. ACM, 2013.
Also, you should use the word "Freesound" instead of variants like "FreeSound", "freesound.org", etc.
Try the contact form