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Join the Club!

November 2, 2010

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 on the club homepage.  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.  The creator of the track that gets the most downloads (or decided by the number of ‘favourites’ that a recording gets if several tracks’ 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 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 (including the appearance of the club homepage which still needs some work).  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 the club homepage or through the club’s Twitter feed.  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 –


Michael Maroussas

  1. Thanks for blogging about this. Have joined up and posted two rain related sound effects for November.


  2. sonicskepsi permalink

    Great, thanks Mike – welcome on board!

  3. Enos Desjardins permalink

    Nice stuff Michael! A friend of mine mentioned something today about this new blog whee people submit recordings etc… so after searching for a bit and finally finding it through Tim’s twitter feed I was delighted with the idea. Even more delighted when I noticed it was your venture. Brilliant idea and will get my mics out and record some of the plentiful Manchester rain for this months collection!

    • sonicskepsi permalink

      Thanks Enos, that’d be great – after 2 weeks of grey and rain, London has conveniently gone into sunny mode since I announced this month’s theme!

  4. Enos Desjardins permalink

    Haha…thats how it always seems to work….unfortunately that law of Murphy doesn’t really work here in Manchester and it just keeps raining no matter what!

    Happily The Sound Collector’s Club can maybe turn that into a positive thing…at least for a few days or until the end of the month :p

  5. sonicskepsi permalink

    Lived in Manchester for a few years in my twenties so know what you mean Enos – you’re spoilt for choice up there aren’t you?! Hmm, what to record? Drizzle, spitting or just plain old Pennine-style p*@%ing it down!

  6. Enos Desjardins permalink

    I don’t know if I’d call that spoilt exactly but yeah….in a funnily appropriate way I probably am! I will get the recorder and mics out this week and upload something!

  7. Great, Michael! I remember you mulling over this idea and am glad you’ve made it happen 🙂

    • sonicskepsi permalink

      Quite funny – the other idea I remember mentioning to you back then (only partly jokingly) was a scotch egg shop. Guess what was billed as most fashionable food of the moment last weekend in the Times?!….. 😀

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