How it works

How it works

The Mission

This project’s mission is to establish a platform for the creation and distribution of crowdsourced sound effects libraries. In the past there have been a few successful crowdsourced libraries, but this project will attempt to take a much more prolific approach to the genre. Once a library is completed and released to participating members, the libraries will be made available for sale to non-participating members, and net profits from these sales will be redistributed to participating members.

What is a crowdsourced SFX library?

A crowdsourced sound effects library is a collection of sounds that is entirely made from sounds that people contribute. The rules are simple: you give, you get. By contributing at least one sound you gain access to the entire library.

What’s the benefit of crowdsourced libraries?

Crowdsourced libraries offer a way to magically convert one of your sounds into an entire collection. By contributing to multiple crowdsourced libraries you can quickly build or improve your personal sound library, for FREE!

Who can contribute?

Anyone! While our target audience is primarily independent sound recordists, anyone with basic recording gear can take a recording and contribute it to a library. Each library has different standards for minimum requirements listed in the library’s description, so as long as your sounds meet those requirements you can contribute. I will be going through the sounds to ensure that they are all of sufficient quality, and I will contact you if your sound is not up to snuff.

How do you contribute?

Navigate to either the home or libraries page and click on any of the open libraries. Once you’re in the library-specific page, scroll down to find the “Submit your sounds here” section. Input your email, select your sounds, and hit upload. That’s it! Once the library is finalized I will send download links out to the email addresses on file. The minimum contribution to participate in a library is one sound, but there is no upper limit! You are both welcome and encouraged to submit as many sounds as you deem appropriate.

Who am I?

I’m Paul, a freelance sound editor/recordist from Montreal who builds websites in my free time. Having worked on a bunch of commercially available sound effects libraries from both a metadata and editing perspective, I will ensure that the collections will be up to industry standards and have top notch metadata.

What’s my contribution?

As a sort of ‘referee’ of this project I will manage the intake & approval of sounds, quality assurance, metadata processing & normalizing, packaging & distribution, and any related upfront hosting costs involved with the project. I will also be seeding the collections with many of my own recordings.

Is this sustainable?

This website is an experiment. The goal is not to create 1 or 2 or 3 crowdsourced libraries, but to create a sustainable infrastructure that will allow for dozens of libraries to come to life, and in order to achieve that it has to cover some costs. To do so, after a crowdsourced library has been released to all of the contributors, the library will eventually be made available for purchase to non-contributors. Net profits from the sale of a specific library will be redistributed to its contributing members as royalties, based on the Terms of Use.

Who owns the rights to your sounds?

You do! You do not forfeit the copyright of a sound by contributing it to a library. The thing to pay attention to is that by contributing a sound to a library you grant CrowdsourceSFX a license to distribute and sell your contributed sounds as a part of a collection on and, subject to the same royalty agreement. So you maintain copyright ownership of your sounds (and can still sell them elsewhere), but grant CrowdsourceSFX a license to commercially and non-commercially distribute them. To learn more about this, head over to our Terms of Use for a complete run down, or you can send any questions to

Do you get royalties from the sounds you contribute?

Yes you do! After contributing a sound to a collection, please add your PayPal email and billing info to your account page. This information will never be used outside the context of royalty payments or made public in any way.

A full break down of the royalty structure is listed on our Terms of Use page, but essentially for every sound of yours that gets sold, you get 80% of the profit on that sale as a royalty, and CrowdsourceSFX keeps 20% as a commission. For a brief example of how it works out: If you were to contribute 1 sound to a library, and that worked out to 1% of the library (see the section below for more details on percentage calculations), and the library made $1000 in gross sales by the end of the year, the royalty formula would work out as follows:

Library specific, individual contributor’s, year-end royalties = (Library net profits)*0.01*0.8

So if the operating costs were $250 for this library (hosting, bandwidth costs, etc), your year-end royalties would be ($1000 – $250)*0.01*0.8 = $6.

Royalty payments are made via Paypal, so to be eligible you must have a PayPal account and add this information to your account by December 31st.

How do I calculate what percentage of a library a sound is worth?

The percentage of a library that a sound is worth is determined by the quality and variety and duration of the sound. Depending on these 3 characteristics a sound will be awarded a number of points. When all sounds have been submitted, the cumulative points of a sound will be a percentage of the total overall points for a library.

Quality will be rated either 1 or 2 (acceptable / excellent), variety will be assigned a rating between 0 and 1 (1 for original sounds, 0.5 for the first alternate take, 0 for additional takes) and duration will be assigned a rating of 1 or 1.5, where a duration value of 1 is awarded to all sounds that meet the minimum submission requirements of the library, and sounds that exceed the duration requirements by 2x or more will be awarded a value of 1.5. (Note: the term duration does not imply simply file length, but instead file contents, so a door sound with 10 openings and closings would be considered to have 10x the duration of a single door opening and closing, but would be awarded the same duration rating as a sound with 2x door openings and closings because both doubled the minimum requirements)

Each sound will have a final rating which can be calculated by:

Rating = quality*variety*duration

So for example, if contributer A submits a high quality 4 minute forest ambience from Germany, it will be considered equal value to a 4 minute ambience that contributer B submits of similar quality but was recorded in Mexico (2*1*1 = 2 points). However, if a contributor A simply takes an 8 minute recording and chops it into two, 4-minute files (2*1*1 + 2*.5*1 = 3 points) they would receive the exact same points as if they had simply submitted the original 8 minute recording (2*1*1.5 = 3 points).

For another example, if contributor A submits a single, high quality door creak, he or she will be awarded 2*1*1 = 2 points, and contributor B submits a sound with multiple takes of opening and closing the same door, his or her points will be calculated by 2*1*1.5 = 3 points. If contributor B decides to try to isolate each door creak in order to have more contributions, his or her points would be calculated by (2*1*1 + 2*0.5*1 + 2*0*1 + … = 3 points).


I probably forgot to mention something, or maybe even neglected to think of something entirely, so if you have a question / concern / general feedback, please feel free to contact me directly at