Join the Club!

Recent improvements in Soundcloud’s private sharing features have enabled me to put into action an idea that I’ve been wanting to set up for quite a while now but which I haven’t felt able to in quite the simple and fuss-free way I envisaged.

The Sound Collectors’ Club is basically a private account I’ve set up on Soundcloud.  The idea is that people can upload their recordings on a given monthly theme to this account via the dropbox above.  Once the recording or recordings have been transferred into that month’s private ‘set’ (by me) I will then e-mail you a private link which will give you direct access to all the tracks which that set contains and which you are free to download and use within commercial projects without any restriction (other than you obviously mustn’t go and sell them on as sound effects – individually or as libraries).  Hence, from contributing just one recording you could end up with a small arsenal of sounds to add to your library.  However, a contribution is necessary in order to even be able to audition any recordings within the private set.

Part of the big appeal for me of using Soundcloud for this venture is that some of it’s ‘Stat’ features come in really handy.  Once you’ve gained access to a set you can comment on each other’s recordings and ‘favourite’ a sound – all of which I’m hoping will soon be able to be automatically documented on Twitter for people to follow (and, hence, within the ‘Activity’ feed above).  The creator of the track that gets the most downloads (decided by the number of ‘favourites’ that a recording gets if download numbers are tied) gets to choose the theme or topic for the following month.  In this way, participants get a chance to supplement their libraries in the way that best suits them rather than me dictating the subject matter every month.

As is probably evident from this idea, I’ve been very inspired by the flurry of activity that has occurred over the past year or so within this global sound community that is currently thriving online.  The Sound Collectors’ Club borrows ideas from several of the products of this community that have come before it but tailors them into a package which best suits me and my interests.

In a nutshell, the club is basically inspired by 4 things:

  1. I love the (potentially) phenomenal productivity of crowdsourcing (nod to Tim)
  2. I love the idea of field recording workshops but I’m always a bit frustrated that the pooled results are just for listening purposes and cannot be used on commercial projects.
  3. I like the concept of Shaun Farley’s Sound Design Challenge but I want to participate in a field recording version of this.
  4. Soundsnap.  I’ve begun to dip into this from time to time over the past year or so and have grown to quite like using it for grabbing a couple of fresh sounds here and there.  In this way, I don’t envisage the club providing definitive collections such as Tim’s Hiss and a Roar ventures; rather an occasional supplementary boost to the palette of fresh sounds at your disposal.

My current priority is just to get this idea out there and see if anyone’s interested in joining in.  However, if people are interested, I do have a lot of ideas that I would like to try out in this format.  One such idea is to do a larger worldwide version of Noise Jockey and fieldsepulchra‘s Project MoMa collaboration that they did back in May and then pool the results. Also, I’d like to try and make this not just a virtual club but also organize field recording meet-ups with other local sound enthusiasts and then once again use the club account to bring all our efforts together.

The whole basis and appeal for me of this idea is it’s simplicity but please do bear with me if there are any rough edges that crop up over the coming weeks that I may have overlooked.  I’m no web wizard:  I have no idea how to set up a website (hence I’ve stuck with wordpress.com) and have no real intention of learning as I prefer to focus all my attention on my primary ambition which is to keep getting better and better at sound editing.  This is still a work in progress:  I’ve made a point of avoiding the inaction that overdeliberation can produce but as a result I will need to continue fine tuning things over the coming weeks.  Having said all that, in theory the club should need very little supervision other than accepting submissions so I’m hoping this is a very straightforward yet fruitful venture!

Feel free to offer up any comments or suggestions within this blog or through Twitter.  With a bit of luck, there’s a few of you folks out there that are keen on this idea too and we can start getting a few sounds together!

Look forward to hearing from you –

Best,

Michael Maroussas

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4 responses

  1. This is a great idea, Michael, and I’ve working on incorporating some of those ideas into the Sound Design Challenge for future events. I’ve spoken to people about the idea of “create a sound effect for this” and everyone who participates gets a copy of each others’ work. There’s been positive response to this idea, so it will happen in the future (maybe January?). I’m also planning something along the lines of a “record it” scavenger hunt idea (I’m just letting the thing grow a little more before running that one). I’ve also just added a new feature to my site called SoundSwap, for people to share and trade personally recorded/synthesized sounds.

    My only suggestion for your idea is to watch out for moochers! 😉

    October 31, 2010 at 12:28 pm

  2. Michael Maroussas

    Having spoken to Shaun I just want to clarify that, due to the ‘sets’ being private, no-one gets access to the sounds within unless they contribute. Hence, no-one can get something for nothing.

    October 31, 2010 at 9:30 pm

  3. This is a brilliant idea. I have uploaded 2 rain related effects for November. Can you publish an RSS feed of this blog so I can follow it?

    Thanks,

    Mike.

    November 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    • sonicskepsi

      No problem Mike, will do – although all activity will be listed on Twitter which I believe you follow – but yes I’ll put an RSS feed on for the non-Twitterers out there.

      November 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm

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