radio free fedi blog

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Let's do a thing! The “mid-year” Fediwave Live Artist Streaming Series.

What's this?

This is a call for participants.

A number of fedi community artists, collectives and venue hosts nudged via RFF are hoping to catalyse a fun, informative series of live artist streaming events over the month of August.

Unlike the new years marathon stream parade, this will a distributed series that will run throughout August so it will be super easy to pick your own day/time to suit.

We are focusing on live presentations, perfomance, discussion and promoting independent artists this time around so no movie watch alongs, commercial dj sets and the like. We hope to roll the festival atmosphere from event to event even though it's not in a linear festival format smashed into a day or two.

Very much like the new years stream parade, it will be a celebration of independent creatives, friendly hang outs and joining in nyd24 stream parade debrief report. Let's continue exploring how we can organise, promote and discover rad indie art and events that can be inclusive to everyone far and wide and especially those of us who cannot afford to attend live events or travel due to health, cost or concern for others.

This is also a chance to celebrate and promote platforms and venues that are outside the walled gardens of corporate surveillance and artist abuse. Again we will be using the fedi friendly platforms such as #owncast and #peertube.

So far we have music performance, album walk throughs, Q+A/AMA lined up and this is our public call for more particpants to ride the fediwave.

We're using RFF and friends as a catalyst to push the discovery and recognition of artists and things like streaming hangouts on less walled garden and non commercial fedi adjacent platforms. If as a community we can point to a schedule and each other, hopefully we can help reach new corners of the verse and beyond.

Get onboard

So if you are keen to:

  • perform original music
  • talk about something like an album behind the music or production methods etc
  • live visual art creation
  • circus arts
  • discussion panel
  • radio drama, live theatre, improv
  • keen to interview artist(s) or keen to be interviewed as a creative, etc
  • other ideas or need to gauge if there are others to help make it happen? hit us up

Bring your own #owncast or #peertube or we have turnkey audio and video streaming live venues for those that might already stream elsewhere. We have friends available to help best we can for folks newer to streaming.

Please DM @radiofreefedi@musician.social or pop into the RFF Matrix public chat #radioFreeFedi:matrix.org


Participants

Here is the list of artists/events participating with exact dates, times and venue links TBA. We will update this list and point you all to a calendar format site as more participants come onboard

Meljoann @meljoann@topspicey https://www.meljoann.com/

Meljoann is a hyperjack music producer & video artist in Brighton via Dublin. Over-enthusiastic, friendly nerd.

RFF voice here to say that Meljoann is a brilliant mix of suprememly well crafted hyperpop mixes and vocals that standalone as awesome but the brilliantly delivered social commentary from the presentation and video art is an absolute added bonus. Get amongst it!

She will be peforming a live set of improvised hyperjack R&B beats, synths & chats

Shannon Curtis @shannoncurtis@mastodon.social and Jamie Hill @hilljam@mastodon.social https://shannoncurtis.net/ | https://deptofenergymgmt.com/work

Shannon and Jamie are a working recording artist and production couple making, performing and helping other produce amazing music. They have recently been exploring and delivering a theatre experience shows.

Shannon and Jamie will be presenting a behind the music walkthrough of their album Good To Me and opening up chat for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) so do some homework friends!

Laslojott @laslojott@mstdn.social https://www.laslojott.com/

Simon Janssen / Laslo Jott is a musician and composer

They will be performing punk and prog rock live on guitar and vocals.

Doctor Deathray @DoctorDeathray@retro.social https://doctordeathray.com/

Doctor Deathray is a musician, audio engineer, and general odd person.

She will be performing “music from the void! Solo, looping, and strange noises galore! Hear the word, see the sound, taste the music with Doctor Deathray”

Kristoffer Lislegaard @lislegaard@sonomu.club https://kristofferlislegaard.com/

Kristoffer is a Norwegian listener, lover and maker of electronic music who believes in #BeYourOwnPlattform.

He will be presenting a live audiovisual experimental ambient concert.

control.org/C2 @controlfreak@mas.to https://music.control.org

a broken shortwave radio and ½ a roll of electrical tape

dark disko, ebm, power noise, synth, powernoise, synthpop, tech, house, noisescapes, dystopia, horror

controlfreak will present a live set spanning 30 years of industrial and dark electronic underground probably accenting a few releases celebrating anniversaries and some recent fedi collabs. Lace up your stomping boots.


This list will grow as more of you amazing creatives out there in the verse put a hand up. Again, Please DM @radiofreefedi@musician.social or pop into the RFF Matrix public chat #radioFreeFedi:matrix.org to

State of the Station May 2024

Overview

The state of the station is 12 aardvarks trying to salsa dance inspired synchronised swim but mostly treading water yet still pulling off a silver medal performance and intensifying!

It's been a minute since a “proper” #StateOfTheStation report but rest assured that the hamster and friends remain at a robust jog if not full sprint when not collapsed in exhaustion.

If you are keeping score at home there are 360 contributing music artists in the stream and including writers, announcers, readers, patrons, advisors we are now closer to 500! There are currently over 4600 friends keeping an eye on the main account. Like we always say, the way more important number is 1. It might be the one nice thing someone hears all day and it was because you took one moment to drop one kind word to an artist, or buy or donate to their work, or as an artist thank someone for taking that minute. That is powerful and it is a massive bouy for all of us as RFF, as artists and as community!

What's news?

Coming this month, RFF will be popping up a channel dedicated to showcasing the Fediverse's own FediVision 2024 Song Contest entries in a real-time stream format. Song entries will open on 5th may and closing on the 12th. Get amongst it to compete or listen, vote and have some light hearted fun. See @announce@fedi.vision and the FediVision site for all the info.

Listenership has been outstanding. This has posed a good problem to have for when we need to do general infrastructure care and feeding or adjustments as we grow. You all LOVE you some comfy channel and it is a minor existential crisis when we have to ponder a reset or brief outage not wanting to break anyones vibe.

Coming into the meat of the year and artists releases are flowing! The great work you are all doing supporting each other, tagging artists and RFF, spreading kind words has continued to not just be rocket fuel for our creative cousins but helps to generate goodwill out in the feeds for more artists and friends to join in on the vibe. These things vary as is the nature of the interwebs and federation but we continue to reach new corners of the verse and welcome new friends. Keep up the good work spreading the vibe of supporting independent artists!

We had heard how so many of you are often or always on small format screens. We know the RFF main website was intentionally brutalist and could understand some constructive issues with it. This is very different to “this site is ugly you suck at commercial radio”, or “lemme redo your shit site for 'my portfolio'”. Rule #1 of RFF, RFF is NOT the thing. You discovering and supporting independent artists out there in the fedi and the world is the thing. This was often thought about but seldom spoons to balance softening the site's edges whilst never wanting to distract from the artists or to bloat or surveil your world. We hope the update compliments our ethos of artist and listener agency and empowerment, accessibility, and is mobile friendly. We think this has been tactfully addressed with the new public site.

In March we had a catasrophic database failure which effectively meant every single track ever loaded into our system for any channel or specialty programme was fair game for the Main channel to play! We hustled to recover from this over a period of two days without really taking any of the channels down. We apologised if you got some blast beat metal or harsh noise collage on the Main channel during this event. Hope it didn't scare your neighbours' cats too much. The best solution was manually addressing each of the thousands of tracks. Despite that time sink, rather happy with some changes to playlists, process and backups this issue forced, so silver lining or something.

We have a small and growing team of friendly fellow artists who might be able to help with some light advising or support for artist issues generally around getting your work setup for submissions to RFF. If you are having trouble beyond our various submission FAQs | or long form submission FAQs, DM the station we can reach out to a group of friendly peers to see if anyone is available to assist. We'd like to investigate ways to more formalise this type or help and also services going forward.

Many thanks to everyone that leant a shoulder while I worked through the very hard options that included shutting down the project around the new year. Cheers to the mischievious artists who pulled me into accepting some personal mutual aid.

The help, reflection and refocus has allowed me to make sure RFF will go on. We have an updated site, growing community and library, progress towards making contributing small amounts of time easier for the community to help out, mini calls to action planned and a good matrix of projects to tackle if and when resource permits rather than operating on pure burnout. While there is so much more RFF can, could, should do, it must be resourced to be sustainable from a human and health perspective.

Thanks to the advising artists for helping me in improving not just our services but also much behind the scenes process and communications toward making RFF as a community service more durable.

How can you help?

First and foremost as always, drop in and listen! Discover new artists, new to you songs, and then go follow, drop a kind word to, collaborate with, and materially support if you have the means the amazing artists you have discovered.

Invite friends to tune in and the discover the community. Invite artist friends to join the party and contribute music, sound, voice, writing and more.

We will be launching new and regular weekly, fortnightly, monthly mini calls to action. These might be as simple as emphatically encouraging you to make a post or a message out there to engage and welcome more artists, or listeners, or writers, or highlight a specific vibe or bit of prgramming to the fedi and beyond. Small things that collectively and organised will ripple big and since RFF can't be everywhere all at once, will help grow the community which benefits us all as artists AND listeners.

There will also be invites for more specific help such as various data collection or artist liaison tasks. And example upcoming is our effort to make the directory of artists much more informative and interactive.

And of course the reality of the pretzel monies...

2024 RFF Infrastructure Fund

We are currently infra funded through May so are targeting June-June so we don't have to talk about it again and focus on continuing to build amazing community.

Here is the specific campaign blog post.

Or hit the various donation links direct. Ko-fi | Open Collective

Thank you for powering the broadcast and supporting independent artists.

Disclosure

Current Infrastructure Costs per month ~45 EU as at April 2024

VPS' ~ 28 storage and backups ~ 10 IPs – 4 other hosting, domains, misc – 3

With this we operate a public facing site, this here self blog, our own federated instance for the unthrottled public now playing fedi bot, a private drop instance, station management server, public audio relay servers, a Faircamp hosting service, various backstage web services/tools for interop, automation and storage and more. Our Owncast RFF video and chat channel server is supplied by @owncast@fosstodon.org which you should check out because it's rad.

Wrap it up G

There has been heaps done, heaps being done and heaps to do!

We hope you will continue to submit amazing, weird, wild and wonderful music, sounds, voices and writings. We hope you will encourage others to create, share and maybe even join the RFF community.

We hope you will continue to drop in, discover amazing independent artists, and keep getting out there in the feeds and the interwebs sharing your experience, seeking collaboration and support, materially supporting artists if you have the means, and dropping artists kind words!

Listen, submit, contribute: https://radiofreefedi.net

Kia kaha

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

the hamster sprinting in the wheel under the RFF tower

#radioFreeFedi #StateOfTheStation

2024 RFF Infrastructure Fund

Let's keep the signal transmitting and knock this out quickly. Infra is covered through May, so let's set a target of June to June. Our anticipated and slightly fluctuating infrastructure costs based on our current services assuming no obscene spikes from providers is ~48 Euro per month. We have a few previously allocated long term donations we will assume to continue, and we have added a small padding for expected increases. We'd also like to make a humble donation as RFF to our public fedi account server admin and to our station management software. Our target for the year is 676 EU or ~1222 NZD converted at time of post.

https://ko-fi.com/ctrlfrk

https://opencollective.com/radiofreefedi

We'll keep the target updated on the ko-fi page by manually add in anything you earmark for infra from the other platforms as they come in.

We've added Paypal to the ko-fi if that helps. Please note RFF INFRA on your donation.

If you prefer Liberapay, please send us a DM if you are specifically donating to the RFF INFRA fund.

And we have separate human and infra donations that can be both one off or recurring on the Open Collective page.

Thank you so much for your time, your love, your support and the overwhelming positive energies you all put into not just the feeds but into the world. By discovering, interacting, collaborating, supporting and generally uplifting each other as fedizens, as independent artists and as kick ass community members let's keep doing our best to empower each other to put more creative works and support into the universe.


Want to help even more or specifically targeted?

Are you laden with coin or a deep yearning to offer more help for specific projects and initiatives? We'd love to hear! Some other ways you might be able to help financially:

Would you like to help subsidise specific projects, testing and experiments for community organising and building and artist empowerment? An example is we had a kind community donation specifically for helping us startup our Faircamp hosting and help onboard artists who may not have the means. This is a great way to help RFF (also artists) help artists in exploring agency and traversing the mine field of the walled garden and surveillance web.

Would you like to help subsidise original programming on RFF? We have a few projects outlined and ready to start but cannot quite commit to the production time without some help. Our first example is a monthly RFF new music showcase programme that will be premiered live and offered on replay on the channels.

We want to offer more support for RFF to host more events, shows, premieres, hangouts, listening parties etc. We want to be a safe and fun resource. RFF as a commons, venue, conduit for supporting independent art outside of silos and walled gardens as much as possible without everyone needing to reinvent the wheel or undertake infinite inidividual infrastructure tasks.

So please reach out if you want to help us make more community happen!

@radiofreefedi@musician.social | rff.synthetic076 at passmail dot net


Extended Remix

Last year (2023) and the first half of this year, on a mostly organic and unadvertised rolling basis, the wider community simply stepped right up and made sure the human volunteer, aka the hamster sprinting in the wheel powering the transmitter, bore no financial costs for the keeping the lights on portion of RFF. We simply extended the covered to date happily as help came in. Thank you. You all made it possible to grow the experiment into, into a project, into a vibe, into a community! It is impossible to quantify the goodwill, material support, comradery and friendship you helped to foment, fuel, multiply, other than to say it was and is an AWESOME amount!

Unfortunately I had to focus on the durability of the human time commitment and costs as maintainer around the new year period given my personal situation. This included the painful consideration to fold up the project as I overextended volunteerism and health. But the project resonance was just too great and the community momentum too vital to pull the plug.

Substantial reluctance on my part not withstanding, with enthusiastic instigation from lovely artists and friends of the station, we pivoted briefly to a specifically mutual aid support drive for the human to help me plan how to get through the year and not have to drop RFF fully. Thanks to the buffer for some IRL costs from that support and the continued advising of a group of amazing artist colleagues I committed to attacking the problem of how to make space, to then make space, to do what I can to keep RFF going and growing.

I accepted that to carry on, I nor RFF as an entity can not do ALL the things ALL the time and I've made some great progress on boundaries, streamlining some processes, compartmentalising communication and tasks so that it will be easier to invite others to help in small digestable chunks. This is in the hope that the community may continue growing. I hope to not have to be exposed like that again in my capacity as RFF maintainer but thank you greatly for the love and support.

I anticipate the community will smash this fast and we can not have to mention it for another year. Apologies it is not too far after the hamster mutual aid effort but this is how it happened. Going forward we'll always continue to extend the funded to date for infrastructure on teh website. I will also very graciously receive any recurring donations for the human outside of this focused pledge time.

Thank you for being here and for loving the idea of unapologetically artist driven community. Keep lifting each other up out there.

ngā mihi DJ Hamster G

let's triple down on durable community, comradery and support, and also a new website appears...

Welcome friends new and old! The RFF community continues to grow. We are continually excited, surprised, and honoured to play any part we can in fomenting intentional acts of collaboration, solidarity, support and kindness around an ever expanding cast of players and artistic formats.

So many of you have “just gotten it” over the past ~15 months in what we are trying to convey and do on the proverbial smell of an oily rag, amongst a smaller but organic and dynamic corner of the internet, and against the massive and pummelling pressures of the big internet, for the love of our artist siblings.

That isn't to say it's been a barrel of sunshine and kittens. If you have ever read the deep dive state of the station reports you'll have had some serious how the sausage is made behind the music kind of candor. We've been berated, minimalised, attacked, harassed and treated as if we are some resource laden massive operation that can cater to every demand. These are usually from folk who have not or refuse to experience what the community that has rallied around RFF can be, can offer, and can do. Sure anyone can rip a bunch of music, slap up a randomised stream and say RADIO, but thank you to the amazing listeners, advisors, community and artists who realised early and often that we deserve better, and that while it's hard it is also worth trying to do things a bit different.

Please know that the positive words and experience YOU have shared with RFF directly, or out in the feeds, and especially toward other amazing artists and listeners is the absolute predominent vibe, and that so very rocks! -RFF

EVERYONE can help!

There is so much more we can, could, should do to help support and promote independent art and to advocate for durable organic community building. We have even more projects in the pipeline but will need your help to realise them. If you have any capacity for hearing about where we might need some help of all kinds including very non technical tasks or just want some occasional calm and friendly exposure to some of the amazing artists contributors and listeners of RFF, we have some Matrix rooms as a stop gap and off the feed means of organising.

Fear not if you haven't the spoons or time to put a hand up for community working bee projects. You are having an immense impact every time you drop in to the streams, discover a new to you artist or track, drop the artist a follow, check out their support links, or even more awesome, drop them a kind word that you appreciate or love their work. Rocket fuel!

a new website appears

So here is an indicative incremental type project realised. You may already have noticed, we've updated the public website. We have gathered that a HUGE number of you use the website as your primary playing method which is great as it is the very best place to get ALL the point of difference information on tracks and artists we love to pass along with every song or piece. We also learnt that many of you at many times are on smaller format screens.

Many thanks go out to @oleksiy@sonomu.club for contributing new responsive layout and web player to the RFF community. As a volunteer community building experiment around agency, consent and how to rally support for and between our creative cousins, the main website was always brutalist simple. This was equal parts not wanting to bloat and track your world as so much of the web has become and not wanting to distract from the core mission of discovering artists and community. Having some help and inspiration to move forward and respect that vibe was awesome.

We hope we can continue to be a rally point or a conduit for such ethos as well as the unapologetic advocacy for the wellbing and continued ability to create and share for the bards, the writers, the creators and the open and loving art supporters of the world.

While the fediverse has been a means for the microblogging and tagging portion of what we do, the signal is to the universe. What the organic fedi had afforded us was a means to prove a concept. And you all proved that there IS desire for community, comradery, agency, consent, lovingly linear programming outside of walled gardens and coporate silos, and so much comfy, ya'll love you some Comfy channel!

We are so thankful to have found and continue to find so many of you eager and keen to seek support for your amazing work, seek amazing work to support, and find organic community in different “social” spaces.

So the main website...

What's new:

  • responsive layout that should be much more usable in the single column small screen world

  • most platforms should show your preference for light or dark mode

  • new web audio playing method that allows easier channel hopping and rejoining

What's the same:

  • there is no less information presented per track

  • the desire to be a transparent and transient layer of discovery as an informative jump off point to traverse the wider fedi and web in support of amazing artists and creatives

  • our eclectic programming that may slightly challenge but also will never try to be a hyper focused end point of consumption at the expense of diversity, unexpected joys and interactive community

What's next:

  • we are laying the foundations for a more interactive artist directory

We've done our best to test in many environments. The experience should be improved for our appararent and many! small screen format friends.

We've also tried to keep core information layout and functionality usuable for our many visually impaired and unsighted friends.

On balance this is as “pretty” as we care to get as to not be a distraction from what really matters which is indie artists, discovering and going elsewhere to directly communicate and support these awesome creatives.

We made a trade on a bit of visual intuitiveness for the web audio playing buttons as opposed to a browser default audio players. You should now get live feed straight away on restarting a stream or switching channels rather than the browser pausing or caching. This is a small bit of javascript but we still rely on zero cross domain rubbish.

wrap it up captain

So overall we've softened some edges, accomodated small screen a lot better, hopefully improved the web player experience for many and stayed within the brief to never be the “end point of consumption” persay by neither distracting, bloating, nor trying to position RFF as anything other than a transparent discovery layer on your way to supporting awesome artists.

We hope you will continue to submit amazing, weird, wild and wonderful music, sounds, voices and writings. We hope you will encourage others to create, share and maybe even join the RFF community.

We hope you will continue to drop in, discover amazing independent artists, and keep getting out there in the feeds and the interwebs sharing your experience, seeking collaboration and support, materially support artists if you have the means, and dropping artists kind words!

Listen, submit, contribute: https://radiofreefedi.net

In solidarity, the hamster sprinting in the wheel under the RFF tower

#radioFreeFedi #StateOfTheStation

Debrief: The New Years Day 24 Stream Parade

radio free fedi (RFF) works to foster and amplify:

  • community building
  • artist advocacy
  • consent and agency
  • transparent discovery
  • promotion and seeking of direct support for independent artists present on the fediverse
  • comradery

To extend some of that community building and comradery in the form of a mega marathon streaming party event, we knew we were up against a few challenges based on our learnings from experiences to date.

It was the “holidays” period. It was kind of an extension of a weekend. Due to rhythms of the internet, these can both be detrimental to forming a fedi crowd. However, given those very limiters it seemed a perfect time to offer the wider community a chance to see some of the amazing makers, doers, enthusiastic community folk, teachers, performers and more in the alternative and open streaming space.

Why not also do so in an organic, safe, comfy, fun and remote togetherness community way in the spirit of #joinIn?

What was it?

What a ride! The #NYD24Parade was a coordinated community distributed stream marathon that clocked in at 26 hours. It was our take using nicer terminology on a stream raid –> par-raid –> parade, but with organic methods due to the open and mixed nature of the platforms invoved, Owncast and Peertube. Rather than just randomly saying “I'm ending my stream” and dumping viewers to another, this was much more intentional and organic. As such it felt much like a parade with something of a route and traffic control and more of a festive event vibe. And it felt welcoming.

That's an important point, the vibe. Nothing about the day was metrics driven, there were no intrusive corporate ad breaks, no performative pressures to be anything other than exactly what you wanted to share or explore. Just organic community discovering and celebrating each other!

“I can't remember the last time a year started off in such a wholesome way. I don't need fireworks, overpriced beer or crammed city squares. Just radio Free Fedi.” -Adam

Literally every single streamer was happy to both welcome new friends AND graciously send them off to the next streamer. With a bit of upfront screening, tone check and some clear expectations for the event to be celebratory, inclusive, discovery friendly and welcoming, holy heck did that materialise by the bucket load. How we discover and know more about who else is out there broadcasting is a challenge we'll re-ask in the conclusion as ongoing work to do.

“The lounge chat elves helped usher us between streams and we ended up thundering into them like a loose herd of Internet rhinoceros, driven by some unknowable instinct to stampede every hour. We were showered with a varied selection of material including a B-Movie watch-along, a blind gaming stream and a some fascinating generative music, alongside live DJ sets and more personal, traditional tunes. Since the artists are on the Fedi I can follow them all from one place, even though they're on other servers or even different types of services! I've since caught a few streams going live through a notification right in my Mastodon app.” -Adam

While the posted schedule made it easy for folks to specifically drop into the parade for things they knew they might like or were keen to try out, many participants and viewers were actually amped and excited to hang out with each other at the next parade stop NO MATTER WHAT IT WAS. That is awesome with probably a few things to futher unpack and explore. Whether due to strong comradery, variety or general trust in the community offerings all those are great as far as we can see.

“The diversity of the streams were fireEmoji. It wasn't strictly music, strictly one genre, strictly one anything, and it was , heh, often 'weird' as in 'keep fedi weird'.” -Jessica

Many friends came into streams and chats throughout the day, some caught some sleep and came right back. It was truly a rolling party of nice people checking out cool things and just having a blast.

Findings

As with most things classic/natural/organic fedi, and certainly with everything we've experienced via the RFF project and community, small can be BIG. Quality over quantity has found so many ways to percolate for RFF as a project and for so many contributing artists and community members out there over the past year. Our collective power and strength may be feel individually small. The collective power and energies from many small offerings become BIG when they include love, respect, a kind word, material support, and especially in the case of the parade, togetherness. When we realise we are not alone in so many of our struggles and hopefully celebrations as well, community manifests and rallies.

From RFF's perspective the #NYD24Parade was a bit hard to do in a way we felt was safe and correct and as good precedence. We are happy to report, aside from some of those self-imposed parameters, we consider the event to have been a resounding success.

The Great:

  • Every single weird, wild, wonderful, informative, enthusiastic, entertaining streamer and broadcaster participant
  • Every single friend that showed up to celebrate the streamers, a friendly fun time, and each other
  • Having a central schedule and lobby. While most everything about what we did was decentralised content, having a clear parade route, a lobby, stream preview embeds based on schedule as a launch/rally/fallback point proved handy.
  • The joy and lift for streamers to just have a friendly and fun crew just pop up “en masse” straight away

As a non-streaming punter I loved everything about it. The lobby worked great, was full of friendly folk and it was always clear where to go next. The parade had some excellent content – if I was forced to pick a favourite I would be unable to choose between Meljoann's live set and RadarBox, but there was so many more great streams! The banter in the rooms was what really made it as well! -AxWax

The Less Great:

  • The scale was a bit much for a single organiser to coordinate, produce/moderate. Again much of that was self imposed due to having so much event support services and fallbacks and things like that. Some of these things are absolutely and technically optional, but at risk and peril of the vibe and success for all the participants. Running RFFs video channel as a chat lobby the entire time to be info kiosk, comfy alternative if the current stream was not to taste proved useful. Having a strong community vibe and each others' back, safe places to rally, from our perspective leads to infintely better experiences for all involved. For now quality over quantity, but with the model in place to grow in awesome and safe ways.

  • The length insofar as a nap for the coordinator. Thanks to some RFF contributors for being lovely parade amabassadors to this end. If there is a next time, it looks like since many have seen what this kind of thing can or might be, we anticipate more hands up for help.

  • Absolute minimal tech glitches anywhere and for the few that crept in, the parade community was helpful, understanding and quick to amplify considerate info to braodcasters, to the RFF lobby and each other to help keep the parade rolling and the amazing vibe undeterred.

The Bad:

  • Nothing, literally nothing, no kidding.

my feedback on the party is that it was great, had lots of fun. A lot of different stuff so there was something for everyone. I only worried a) about missing out on some stuff becasue i had to sleep b) about ctrls amount of rest and sleep. Next time a big event like this happens i think i will volunteer to keep an eye on the chat, time zone permitting of course. -xunxym

Was it a bit of a task to undertake? Yes.

Can we do it again so large on our “own”. Not really.

Did it set some precedent for what a considered, open yet organised, safe, rolling, engaged, comfy, and fun fedi version of a stream “raid” can be? Hope so.

Has it opened up discourse on how to roll the vibe on. SUCH YES!

It is also worth noting from our view of the feeds, there have been a non negligable number of fedizens that have since the event aligned with a broadcaster, rekindled or freshly stood up their own open streaming server quoting the experience of the event as insipiration. That is testimony to the friendly, welcoming, organic and awesome community vibe you all brought.

The biggest single challenge to good organic community building and organising things like this on the internet are often not the raw technical tools. We can mostly help each other with that. RFF as well as other collectives and broadcasters are most happy for good fedizens to utilise our audio and video platforms for any type of original programming or live events inline with our ethos.

The challenge as is often the case is communication and discovery. Specifically, knowing who else is out there and collaborative organising.

From this parade experience we are confident the potential exists to collectively foster and rally more and wider interest. Interest in more friends taking to the streams to share, attending events, helping to bridge technical and communication hurdles, and putting hands up to generally help make more communities, events, and things organically vibe and be awesome.

Just back of the envelope maths here but if we were to scope an RFF's Heirarchy of Needs for community and independent art and media it might shake down something like this:

  1. Vibe
  2. Organic Community
  3. Content
  4. Technology
  5. Metrics

That's probably a direct inversion for the divisive, silo'd, rifting, tracking world of the attention economy thieves. And good!

Having a blast. So many memes and genres were born

The vibe over the entire duration of the event was so friendly, celebratory, inclusive, helpful, and often hilarious. There were memes formed, many new genres pitched, the utterly infamous radar box and more creative callbacks throughout the day than you can shake a stick at. Most of the quotes we've assembled for this debrief report and so many more comments out on the feeds specifically highlight the absolute fun and friendly chat and general comradery. Awesome!

“This song is inspired by the events of the Radio Free Fedi New year parade and all the cool and wonderful people in the chat. Samples are taken from the movie we watched on New Ellijay TV – 'Santa Claus Conquers The Martians'. This is most likely not bonkwave, as it is post-ironic lo-fi radarbonk. lol” – Fish

Wrap it up captain and work to do

Did we expose new things to each other? Did we follow and bookmark new and interesting streams? Did we make new friends amongst broadcasters? Did we make new friends in chats? All yes!

How we continue to find, link up and think about who else is out there in ther alternative and open broadcasting spaces is going to require some trial and error. Whether parades, mini parades, gliding or surfing a #fediWave of streams, there are so many ways to feel less alone out there in the bitstream.

We absolutely do not believe it will be any kind of automated or unscreened directory, signups, or middle layers acting as auto teleporter. That is just way too rife for being not a good vibe and crashed by bad actors. Our friends are worth a level of care that will ensure not just safety and inclusivity but a quality over quantity that can disprove many notions of scale at all cost while actively achieving community and support, which by way of an engaged and friendly population can very well include the material variety. RFF have bore witness to this positive methodology in the growth of our community.

Let's think about smaller blocks of regular programming that we might as streamers wiggle our schedules ever so slightly to create some contiguous distributed blocks of programming between us. Turns out an organic handover is actually really cool!

Let's do more impromptu or scheduled hangouts in the #joinIn spirit.

Let's remember there are some awesome 24/7 alternative broadcasters out there such as parade participants New Ellijay TV, Retrostrange TV and of course RFF that make it quite easy to assemble for a watch party and only needs someone to ingnite the spark and hopefully mod some chat.

If you want to get involved in broadcasting, streaming, supporting the community in any way at all for 2024 please reach out. Technical, non technical, street team, moderating, there are many ways to participate other than just on-air facing. @radiofreefedi@musician.social | https://radiofreefedi.net

RFF are very happy to provide platforms for all manner of original broadcast programming or live streaming or help find a suitable partner. If you are already streaming and would like to get more involved and linked up with other streamers and broadcasters on the open source and fedi side of things, also reach out and we'll do our best to align you with some kindreds.

Join us every day at radio free fedi for discovering awesome independent fedi artists. If you are able to support our community services to sustain and grow in 2024 you can help with various tasks or donations to sustain the organic human power if you are able and willing.

Keep exploring, sharing, promoting, supporting!

We've kept the basic schedule from the event up in the hopes anyone still running across it, or maybe could not join on the day, might discover and checkout the streamers that took part.

Thank you to every broadcaster that enthusiastically heeded our call to join the parade and share.

Thank you to every single listener and viewer that dropped in for some or heaps of the event.

Thank you to everyone that resonated with the vibe and is hoping, discussing and scheming how to roll it into more processes, events, platforms, all the things.

Thank you to Owncast and Peertube for the platforms that give RFF and others the platform to help give even more a platform to share, learn, entertain, enjoy and damn it have some fun too! We deserve it.

Stay awesome out there. Lift each other up. Punch upward. Keep fedi weird. Let's do more community, more comradery, more fun.

-the hamster sprinting in the wheel powering the transmitter

“Radio Free Fedi's New Year's Day parade was an enthusiastic revelry of sonic delight which left me impatient for 2025. The lean towards the Fediverse meant the streams were devoid of adverts or snooping trackers, just music and sound with welcoming, fun people in the chat rooms.” -Adam

RFF 2024 “Staff” and Focus Fund

UPDATE FEB 2024

I'd like to thank every single one of you that advocated on my behalf, advised, amplified signal, donated to the human, and shared what the project has meant to you.

The RFF community is overwhelmingly welcoming, uncompetitive, empathetic, and so down for a kind word.

The station infra remains funded through March. Thanks to everyone who embraced the pivot to the human, with less worry on a few basic needs, I'm hoping for the space to better define RFF processes, devolve tasks, contribute to better community organising tools and still grow community. I will at least have internet and one of my meds and a bit of fallback cushion for food to help be in the space to find ways to continue RFF.

I went too hard, not wanting to lose any project momentum and compiling of community energy.

I ask for your understanding as we work through better boundaries.

This may mean less availability and new initiatives, or having to push back or better clarify some of the many small things per artist or task that accumulate into big time as we've scaled.

Not overall less commitment, but smarter scope. Other than the single RFF account post last month, I will go back to not overtly asking for donations to the human. If you come across someone with the love or the means, continued time or material support offers will be very well received throughout the year.

The foundation is set, the ethos is strong, the community is growing. Let's get the balance better to sustain.


It was under incredible duress, with great consternation and only with the urging and support of wonderful RFF contributing artists that I eventually did pivot to a specific human donation ask. As in the original blog post I tried to make clear that the experiement went a bit too well making the project simply not viable as a “hobby”. There is so much more to do and it is already possible to be well over full-time volunteerism at present.

The options were: – shutdown immediately – let it degrade toward some other shutdown date – dump to some person(s) who had not really presented and expect them to continue full-time plus volunteerism. – drastically cut services, comms and response time across the board – pivot for some help to the human reluctantly materially and optimisitically also with time to attempt to make some space and community effort to sustain the community service

And the chicken and egg of no spoons or time to map out exact tasks to share, to not necessarily present or durable others, and be a full-time coordinator, have to pickup anything dropped and then do all the things as well was too daunting. Carrying on without serious reigning in on the amount of overall time and busy work shouldered to maintain current service levels was no longer and option.

Please do pop round the Matrix chat if you have any turn key original programming ideas, wish to leverage our audio or video platforms, want to contriute some time collating information like release dates, help with artist onbaoarding and data maintainence follow up for future intiatives, mod some events' chat and more as we work towards some better containerisation of possible tasks to suppor the day to day care and feeding of the station and the continued building of multi directional community support.

The great thing about the project resonating and being a bit of a victim of its own success is YOU ARE ALL NOW HERE and the ripples we are all making out there continue to multiply!

It is amazing and an honour to have had any small part in being a conduit or rally point for any fraction of the comradery, collaboration and support flying in all directions out there around particularly art but also life in general.

Keep fueling creation and the joy in sharing and listening together.

Too many friends to tag but thank you for the insistence that this thing is worth doing and the human power is worth keeping from sinking.

The transmitter remains on as a beacon. For everyone that has felt community, felt heard, felt less alone or felt at home with RFF, thank you for sharing, thank you for being here.

Spread the word.

Stay awesome out there. Keep fedi weird. Keep uplifting each other. Support fedi artists. Art hard!

Kia kaha

-the hamster

END UPDATE FEB 2024


OK let's clear the decks. Apologies we didn't just do this in the first place. It's fitting that the project out there trying to normalise promotion, a fair shake and seeking support for us as independent and/or marginalised artists is brutally awkward and unwilling to trouble others for basic needs. TLDR: Please help if you can. RFF may need to regretfully scale back services, responses and community intitiatives..

our ko-fi | our liberapay | our open collective

We are indeed at a crossroads needing to decide if RFF will scale back offerings or if we can go hard into year two of our existence without such the hit to the health and well-being of the maintainer given IRL constraints and the need for sourcing time outside of RFF to hunt for safe waged gigs.

Will you join us in 2024 to make RFF more sustainable and resilient as a community service so we can continue to celebrate and amplify independent music and sound?

RFF uses a classic alternative and community radio broadcast station format on the surface, but it is not a radio station. It is a community. A community that amazingly have rallied around music and art with such comradery, so little ego competitive nature or attitude, and with so much solidarity and heart we were frankly a little confused and a lot impressed with what the heck was happening.

We hope the vibe and timbre of the RFF project is something we can continue to emit, expect and demand more from our interweb experience no matter what happens.

Right Now:

To that end we're having a good ole telethon minus the tele. Our ability to cover all the things hasn't been sustainable since well pretty much the whole time. The State of the Station July shows when we were tracking hours and how we gave up because depending on projects at hand plus regular operations it's almost always more than full time. We need two things to happen to go strong into year two.

1. A viable minimal survival donation offset for the maintainer to keep things mostly ticking, coordinate forthcoming assistance and partnerships, alleviate some IRL hustle and to hopefully make space for more community, more new things, more impact. We aren't after a fair wage or validation of work, not even close (our $6500nzd target if extrapolated in a work or wage parlance would be ~$3nzd/hr, that's like one quid and 40p for our non-antipodean cousins and we've projected out all existing monthlies across platforms even though they may not endure, and added them to the one goal meter). For 2023 the sole human over volunteered but the mission felt resonant and imporatant. RFF didn't actively push donation support for the human power other than a mischievious friend of the station unilaterally doing so here and there. If there isn't a slightly more viable path to continue our efforts on RFF we personally have to draw some lines and spend more time desperately fighting for remote waged gigs.

We know the timeline is harsh. We know our corner of the internet isn't huge. We only need enough breathing space to make dedicating so much to the community a bit less stressful in real life. Not guilt, not anger, not complaining, just being open about how things have gotten unsustainable and putting it out there to defuse anyone that might misconstrue the love or the intent of the project. We appreciate those telling us we are worth more and the project is worth so much and we agree. If we can't hit a minimum target for project focus we are coming to terms with what that might mean and the need to prioritise our health but we'll try to avoid RFF powering down the transmitter completely. The basic maths are (6500NZD minimum minus ~1500 already committed in recent one-offs and existing monthlies should they continue into the new year, so our minimum target is 5000NZD more for the year). Added bonus, our currency is on the weaker side of some of you so you are able to be a force multiplier supporting RFF to be a force multiplier support independent artists! heck yeah. We'd love dependable monthly donations and we'll project them as a year on our ko-fi goal, and add in the same projections from our liberapay and our open collective and keep the goal on the ko-fi page updated. But we aren't turning down one-offs for this goal.

And we are not against it blowing past the goal. If an angel appears and goes hard and gets us any bit closer to minimum wage then look out internet cause RFF will be glowing like a freakin boss and pewing rainbow lasers cutting an even bigger path through the interwebs for all our friends to shine!

2. More responsive and available lines of communication to RFF artists for planning and gauging interest on station initiatives, programming and events they may like to particpate. More and better coordination and devolution of tasks among the wider contributing community. There are many ways to contribute to the sustaining of the RFF vibe that are not directly fiscal. You can help with special and live events with technical crossover productions, creative design and vision, audio editing, various writing tasks to help our message and help promote artists, or just being a friendly street team ambassador and moderator.

Please understand due to the growth of the project and the sole volunteer nature it has been, there is the absolute paradox of we cannot afford to map or know exactly how to list exact micro tasks you might be able to commit to without having some idea of general genres of help folk might be able to supply. Of course any offers for durable core station upkeep type tasks in the old radio parlance are very happy to be heard.

Please don't be shy to put a hand up. We need more hands on deck. You can DM but even better for participation, if you might join our Matrix chat as a stop gap for planning, discussion, comradery and sometimes more visible interactions than the fedi feeds.

Matrix accounts are similar to a fedi account in which you setup on a host server, but can generally join rooms and chat to friends across many servers. A guide Matrix by Element, there are other public server options and clients/apps.

We have established some partnerships that will hopefully lead to new and better group and organising tools for the community.

Of Note

This campaign is very seperate to our infrastructure operating costs which have been very kindly donated by many of you over this year so that we could attempt this experiment and in fact grow this project and community without there being that specific strain or a loss the mainterner could neither afford nor endure. We always treated this with reverance, appreciation and have done our best to be good stewards and spread it as far as possible for the benefit of the entire RFF family. At current time and scale we do everything we do on about 42euro per month. We remain fully lights on from a raw infra perspective through March.

To those that have made a specific donation recently or setup a monthly koha for the maintainer. Thank You! We have included that in our calculations for this human help goal and absolutely do not want you to re-up or feel a smidge of pressure. You are already a legend!

Why not get a grant?

Love to. Unfortunately in our locale, we have scoured and applied for community and arts grants but are up against the global nature of our project being passed on or not eligable. We've found many internet grants, especially fedi friendly are very much about building what some might argue, less than durable tech stacks, rather than durable community. Happy for any help if you can conjure some knowledge in this arena. So we have had a solid go before we've reached this point.

Moving on and work to continue!

We really want to be able to continue and expand things like:

  • Providing safe, fun and supportive live and event platforms and venues with built in community and moderators and vibes.

  • Help more with initiatives for artist portable and agency strengthing hosting and sharing of our music.

  • Extending our presences with different types of accounts for more artist promotion, support and aid amplifying.

  • Advocate for our community and continue to give strength and solidarity to artists, listeners and friends wherever we can even.

  • Deliver more custom programming. We have a number of programmes mapped or already written.

  • Continue to be as available as possible to welcome new friends and invite more to the party.

  • Co-develop safer, stronger, better means for federated and federated adjacent discourse, community organising, event planning and delievry and more.

All have happened, are happening or are in progress. With a bit more community impetus, contribution and direction we can punch upward, harder, together and do a bit less juggling amongst an avalanche.

Wrap it up

We do all of this from an absolutely unapologetically pro artist and no harm stance in the first instance.

We need more community organising, more seeking, assembling, building and delivering custom programming. More events. More Comradery. More fun. It's not that we went too hard in year one, which yeah OK we did, it's just that there is so much resonance and need and hope and power out there that only needs a wee wrangling, jolt, first connection, or mirror to see and know how powerful we are together. We don't have to fight for our artistic voice, loving community, well-being or survival alone.

Kia kaha. and radar box 4eva -the RFF hamster


extended remiX

We hope we have done a respectable job normalising promotion of and amplifying and lifting the voices of independent and marginalised artists. This came from the honset place of we are one too and damn it we could use some together power against the contant forces exploiting, exhausting and silencing us.

We don't think a lighter, lazier or watered down RFF is worth doing. There is plenty out there that skirts some pretty dodgy lines of promotion vs exploitation and has zero community building intention.

Perhaps that will be our demise. This was never intended to be a gig. And it may be in too small a space, no matter how affluent some corners of the feeds may seem, to subsist offset for any people power.

Thus we are asking for, understandibly globally speaking a lot, but from where many of us sit, an embarassingly low amount of human sustaining donations and/or time to go all in for the new year and not let the foundation of vibes and goodwill we've built together crumble.

Our white board is so full of work, initiatives and partnerships that can continue to impact our creative community. We need just a bit of certainty to be in a place to commit another year of effectively full-time effort coordinating, distributing and unloading tasks where applicable, and finding more ways to ignite promotion, comradery, collaboration and direct support for independent artists.

If you are a friend of the station and would like to chat with other cool supporters, be in the loop for announcements, community outreach and street team, and other opportunities you can help with to build the community, please check out our Public channel on Matrix. If you are an artist and would like to help with framing and testing discussions of things we can't go public with as they may never eventuate, please hit us up on Matrix. radioFreeFedi:matrix.org https://matrix.to/#/#radioFreeFedi:matrix.org

If you want specific examples of projects done or projects pending or behind the scenes works and advocacy that we allude to please contact in private and we'll do our best to convince you this community and vibe are impactful and worthy of commitment if you ain't know, know you know kinda thing.

We are not a technical writer and things have been way too verbose lately. Apologies again. Stay vertical out there.

it's Threads+Mastodon

End of year review and State of the Station Addendum to: threads and what is the fedi anyway?

Might we personally, or some of us individually be OK-ish if we can muster the spoons to infinitely play platform and social media musical chairs in the cowardly new world artist threatening monoliths like Mastodon are pummeling us all into by both openly and in the shadows deploying scale weaponisation and commercial co-option. That's not as polemic a statement as some will dismiss when you consider the lack of consideration to proper structure and tools for mitigating network effect damage, thinly veiled centralisation, and a technically woeful platform acting as a flagship to hijack public narrative.

The costs are community, humanity, agency and that is exhausting. It enrages us the collateral community damage that is and will increasingly be done in the name of vapid commercialism FOR OTHERS, which ironically and maybe intentionally puts many of us who need some material support from art via “social” environments at an actual disadvantage or unsafe situations to cut through the noise to be seen or heard and to find and foster interactive human community!

This all stinks powerfully for those that are happier and healthier to be any shred more comfortable and among kindreds than having to be popular performative in a sea of vapid numbers.

This is also scary for those of us that value community where you feel like you can ask for support rather than being demolished by the mechanisms and gauntlets of the power imbalanced and corporate thieving attention economy where you are shamed to even try to plead to the void.

Problems of power imbalance and infinite scale worship, poor decisions and narrative hogging by Mastodon were real long before any closed deals with the Zuck to further sow dissent, chase off, or out resource small and marginal players.

Concern and justified rage about all of this is not anti-scale or Luddite. Again, poor but most populated (via questionable methods) technical stack in the AP federation for many reasons pushing for effectively centralisation has been the problem and we are staring down the barrel of that becoming orders of magnitude worse.

We received deflection about secretive meetings for unilaterally offering the user base of large instances full of users possibly one click duped and funneled into being on something they perhaps did not understand nor care about its placement within a larger sphere.

Instead of that kind of classic scale to sell embracing, what if there had been concerted efforts to actually embrace community and safety by way of developing tiers and network topography that could better offer allowlist/greylist rings of trust, or some shield or mechanism to not price out small players from even tying to participate in a growing federation?

That'd been a whole different kettle of fish compared to exposing concerned communities, advocates, volunteers, artists etc to barrages of “shut up scale at all cost”. When some actors worship numbers it often equates to more subsidising, work and hassle for us plebs. Show us any examples of how crushing indie and marginalised artists is good for indie and marginalised artists and we'll eat our hat and signup for Threads)

Absolute pure minimalism reduction here, remind us who centralisation, co-option or false scale benefits? As an artist on the fedi, if and only if Threads does begin somewhat two-way federation, and if and only if some number of Threads users opt-in to potentially interact with us and if and only if Threads allows your content through for whomever may have opted in to try that, they have already tipped it will be hit by their algorithms and never show up sequentially if at all for Threads mutuals. So you are saying we can go back to participating in overt corporate data and content theft adjacent to all of Facebook's transgressions, possibly never actually reach some unknown segment of Threads users with our work, be shamed for our calls for support AND once again be pummeled by a constant fire hose of brand and “influencer” tat? Thanks Mastodon! Yeah sure it is starting as opt-in for Threads users but where is the organic fedi's opt-in for shielding network effects. Maybe we can have one tiny shred of optimism someone will have the spoons to coordinate that.

December – a 'nicer' RFF pro artist stance that held us up from reviewing the year because of the absolute noise in the feed and concern in the inbox. threads and what is the fedi anyway?

This is all way worse than just “Threads can read your posts anyway if they want to”. You can pick any number of reasons, privacy, human rights violations, propogation of war and ethnic cleansing, cambridge analytics... ... ... Any of which are a deplorable track record as someone you should not even adjacently entrust your art, identity, connections or community to.

But at the absolute core, more than any of the very valid historical transgressions, Mastodon Inc and Threads are really about breaking up, erasing or at least shouting over marginalised, creative and small organic communities by homogenising and normalising: vapid aspirations of clout culture, operating and celebrating content siphoning, harassment and otherism. Whether this happens through arrogance and privilege, a lack of empathy, nescience or willful ignorance, if there is a single spoon in the silver drawer, we resist.

There are so few paths to success for indie and marginalised artists in hyper commercial and surveillance capitalist spaces it is in fact not at all counterintuitive to anyone but corporate apologists to advocate for the betterment of organic networks that HAVE delivered community and support for artists, rather than false economies of scale that make us dance for more hate than crumbs.

There is a limit to how agnostic we can be about platforms and tools for the benefit of artist promotion and survival when history and real-time actions by players embracing power imbalance tip any benefit so heftily toward destruction, theft and erasure. We want more support for artists but vapid numbers and more stresses on us is for the overwhelming majority of independent artists, marginalised artists, volunteer creative communities et al, not actually net helpful. We absolutely can based on precedence judge corporate and commercial players and the proven methodologies smaller players enact to try and bed down with them. Yet all the same, just as we link to wherever artists request support, we absolutely do not judge any artist trying to use any tool they feel is bringing them some value. Our concern is to speak against the potential costs and risks to the bard class as a whole if they have no choice based on the power imbalances at play.


**RFF is not the thing. Yeah it is a thing, but it is also not THE thing. The thing is discovery, community, and artist celebration and the invitation to communicate and support. We have carefully crafted the ethos and process of the project to throw down a gauntlet of how things could be more artist and community driven and focused. That vibe is utterly incompatible with influencer culture and our artist friends potentially gain very little while standing to lose heaps from sloppy co-option.

We all face continued loss, stress and separation through not just platform choices and centralisation but from the interpersonal rifts among those at the top of the bottom of the power scales in the federated ecosystem. Loss of agency, loss of voice, loss of energy and/or time to create, loss of community connections. We care about that!

Our strength is each other. Our power is embracing and lifting up each other. If you are vehemently opposed to those who would minimise or take try that community power away, you are not alone no matter what the shills and talking heads say or do to diminish you as a “noisy minority”. We know how tired we are all but if you keep creating and connecting and being an empathetic and supportive human, then the RFF transmitter will be here boosting that energy. Anyone who wants to crush that kind of community potential for the false dichotomy and baubles of “numbers” may in the nicest possible terms we can muster, do fuck off and we're gonna be noisy about it.

radio free fedi state of the station and end of year report December 2023

(This blog is federated but NOT interactive. Kindly please follow @radiofreefedi@musician.social instead.)

At the end of January 2024, radio free fedi will celebrate one year of broadcasting.

“This is small web, consent driven, artist populated, non-commercial mechanism, attribution promoting, community radio from the fediverse.” -RFF from day zero

As we come to the end of the calendar year let's firm and frankly reflect on a super positive year for how artists and supporters joined together, and the simultaneously super stressful year for factors constantly trying to exhaust us from connecting, sharing our work, asking for help or even creating in the first place. #StateOfTheStation


The state of the station is 14/17 pineapples and intensifying. The hamster sprinting in the wheel remains on a permanent upward line graph of exhausted as are many of you friends out there. However, as usual we're buoyed enough to not sink by the love and support flowing amongst the creative fedi and RFF community and hope you might be as well.

We anticipate increasingly difficulties for our artist friends and indeed RFF to stay connected as the costs, stresses and threats on small players in the fedi are exacerbated. We are not optimists, but in the face of the latest rifts that will continue to affect our collective ability to be connected, RFF are vowing to do our best to remain a proper weird signal in whatever corner of a federated network we can remain for the absolute purpose of lifting each other up by celebrating consent, agency, artists and community.

If you TL:DR and only go this far, know this:

THANK YOU so very much to every single artist that has contributed.

THANK YOU to every voice reader and writer that have contributed to the vibe of the station.

THANK YOU to every single financial contributor that has made sure RFF exists and is no fiscal strain or anxiety on the hamster.

THANK YOU to every single absolute legend that has tuned in, discovered artists, tagged a kind word to an artist, made great lists of artists to support, helped promote artists and RFF, contacted artists for amiable terms to use their work or collaborate on new works, and made the effort to materially support artists as direct as possibly and by whatever means artists can navigate.

“It’s a way to find amazing underground music, that you won’t find on other platforms cause it’s buried by the algorithm. Ahem. Points at self. But also, that’s genuinely been my experience of it it, on Fedi and listening to RFF” @Meljoann

“PSA for #fediverse #music #RadioFreeFedi is great for discovery. I've gotten in the habit of launching it as soon as I hit that moment of 'it's too quiet but I don't want to think about what to listen to'. Love it.” @Raineer

If the existing or pending fedi rifts and splits make it harder on all of us as artists, and certainly harder for a project like RFF to navigate, we will need your help in how we organise and stay connected.

The transmitter remains on at full power beaming our collective message of transparent discovery, consent, attribution, celebration, cooperation, strength in community, normalising and easing promotion of indie and marginalised artists, and organic interaction in at least a potentially somewhat safer alternative web space for supporting and uplifting one another.

“Instead of a #FollowFriday I wanted to just say how much I've literally had more happiness in my life after properly getting into @radiofreefedi this week and discovering and enjoying so many amazing artists, so shout out to...” @MediaActivist

The community has proven keen to have a rallying and discovery tool such as RFF, that we are collectively willing to throw down for and give support to each other, and to be a non-competitive and downright lovely beacon for creativity and comradery to the fediverse and beyond.

There is potential for so much more inclusion, promotion, sharing and supporting of our creative siblings and each other as community we hope you will continue to play whatever part you can in the new year or if you are just finding out about us, join in the party!

“Fellow #Musicians #Composers & #SongWriters , if you haven't heard of @radiofreefedi yet, have a little read & a browse, submit your #music, & start listening! The more creators that submit, the more varied the experience becomes for all. Such an interesting & organic way to find new music & make connections. It's also a real thrill when you are making coffee at 8am on Saturday morning in little old #Ireland & one of your own songs comes on!” @SharonMurphyMusic

FROM THE FEDIVERSE TO THE UNIVERSE, RADIO FREE FEDI


New business:

RFF has organised what we are calling a stream parade for New Years Day 2024. It's like a stream “raid” except it's organic, it's a bunch of rad independent creative fedizens and communities using open and federated tools and with none of the corporate ads or harassment. NEAT! We are very close to having a url for the event but in the interim you can check out the “tentative” schedule of superb participants.

update The stream parade was by many accounts a raging success of community vibes and comradery. We've left the schedule up so you can continue discovering and supporting the participating broadcasters and streamers https://radiofreefedi.net/nyd24 and our post event debrief

Since the last state of the station (August), RFF and community have increased the artist count in the station by 17%! Keep helping us reach new corners of the fediverse, boost, tag #radioFreeFedi and mention artists when you have a moment to drop a kind word or a mini review. Keep submitting music, writings and voice reads, and recommend your friends and favourite artists might also like to join the community!

“The feed is consistently high quality and always a little surprising. Keeps me on my toes as a listener.” @jannem

“Getting into #RadioFreeFedi got me super motivated to get into podcasting!! Thanks!!” @StrepsipZerg

In a niche corner of what was mostly a niche federation doing something sadly considered weird by corporate talking heads, we reckon it is well worth celebrating that there are now over 400 direct contributors of music, voice, advising and funding to RFF! There are thousands in the extended network who have kept an eye on what we are doing. There have been hundreds of thousands of listening sessions. We can't count or see them all, but we reckon the most important number out there is the MANY connections, kind words, collabs and as direct as possible donations subscriptions and sales for artists that you all have realised!

“Wonderful to find more music people here and thrilled at how many folks have found the new EP through @radiofreefedi.” @RobertaFidora

If you had any small part in this, please know that every small bit is MASSIVE to the artists and the cumulative energies and community effect is downright AWESOME.

“RFF makes me feel like I am participating in music, not just being a passive listener. I can send my contribution if i want to, listen to what others sent in... I could send compliments to the musicians by simply tagging them...It means being part of something bigger, being less alone. That is not something a youtube or spotify playlist or a regular commercial radio could give to me.” -Fish @rybson


Matters arising:

OK let's get the year in review gloom out the way. Apologies, please scroll a lot if you are tired of reading about being collateral damage in the centralisation of power dynamics, clout for sport, co-option, in the ActivityPub federation and beyond

CW: We're angry, we're tired, we hate seeing our creative cousins bullied, erased, stressed, and made to shoulder unnecessary and inequitable workload to simply exist, find community or eat some lunch. As such, ahead are some links that may have terse yet informed opinions by way of our community vantage point. Our primary weapon for defending against the battles foisted upon our communities is usually tripling down on what is positive and highlighting when our wider community is getting things so right and so beautiful, but this year truly challenged that approach so please forgive some year in review tone variance.

We've dealt with some incredibly artist unfriendly issues this year.

The second fall of Bandcamp exposed new risks for artist agency and exploitation as a new gold rush formed to fill any space left by an exodus. In seeking options for where and how to safely or beneficially host and share our music there are stresses in balancing ethics, reach, survival AND unfortunately the often selfish and narrow demands of the wider commentating public and fedi armchair pundits for artists and builders to jump at their command. We took some time to hit back at that and encourage a bit of not just walk a mile in the artists' shoes but that we might not all have the proverbial correct footwear for the weather.

September Urging calm and support for the artists we love in the face of the latest changes at Bandcamp

October bandcamp and where to for artist agency, listener choice, general agency and ownership

November on bandcamp vs no bandcamp vs some bandcamp?, vitriol, armchair punditry, projection and respecting the diversity of our realities on the ground as indy artists in a digital landscape of immense power imbalance


There have been some incredible admin wars in the fedi that can have quite a lopsided impact on us as artists who may have been lucky enough to find a community and possibly lose unknown chunks of it on a whim or vindictive burst. As we approach the end of the calendar year we've said most of what we've needed to say partially as a relief valve for stress and tension but mostly in the hopes to show solidarity.

Sadly we are not the most eloquent of writers but the motivation is to document valid community issues, emphasise human and artist centred empathy and consideration toward such issues and maybe offer a bit of a sign to tap and holy shit has it been a year of tapping the damn sign. We have tried to be critically positive and offer as many ways we can think of to help the fedi, the web, and the world see how systems and actions impact us as independent and/or marginalised creatives, and how we might approach moving forward together or if needed, to kindly consider getting out of our way so that we can stand and survive.

September Despite the recent timelines there is fedi LOVE and it is YOU!

We hope the voice we have chosen addressing these issues has provided if not direct help and knowledge, and if not solutions, and if not a sign we can collectively tap on to the world, then hopefully at least some comfort that we are not alone in all the challenges. If the community wants RFF to just shut up and sing, we will. But the community has been the inspiration for us to even try and be a conduit for concern and rage. We'd rather be drumming, but it would have felt lazy and antithetical to our mission to not try.

We are adamant about advocating for the voice of the independent and marginalised artist in an internet landscape that has seldom valued and certainly not often celebrated our work, existence or survival. It is worth fighting for our voice and ability to achieve some level of agency for controlling and sharing our work on fairer and safer terms for all, so that we might continue to create, at a minimum.

it's Threads+Mastodon

December – a 'nicer' RFF pro artist stance that held us up from reviewing the year because of the absolute noise in the feed and concern in the inbox. threads and what is the fedi anyway?

If you want some more of the decompression from our vantage point we've added an extra addendum on the topic at: it's Threads+Mastodon

end of gloom. back to our regular programming

Our primary emphasis in entering any discourse out there is the safety of our creative friends and the durability of organic reach and organic community that has shown so much promise. It is a crime against art and creativity that for many reasons of direct attack or proximity exhaustion to these difficulties, challenges and dramas that any of us should lose contact or motivation. If you are out there creating, trying to do no harm, and punching UPWARDS, RFF stands with artists of all stripes, doing what they need to do to create, share, seek support, and survive.

“My music is played regularly on #RadioFreeFedi and I've had such support on #BandcampFriday through boosts, comments and sales. I feel part of a #CreativeCommunity here. In all my years on Twitter, that never happened!” @SharonMurphyMusic


Let's step through the RFF journey

A bit of origin lore January 2023:

We've touched on the origin story in other blogs and out on the main site. It is very true it was kind of a challenge in a bit of a throwaway post from our friend Gabe at @owncast. We had both tried over a couple years to get some engagement from fedi artists for both a music audio and interview podcast and a 24/7 music video channel where we both wanted to really highlight attribution and connections. Neither materialised due to content availability and difficulty hunting and maintaining.

Due to health issues there are often days that need to be pretty low activity we like to call “recovery days” ya know like a high performance athlete. So on a recovery day, this showed up in our feed:

“Project idea: One time @jnktn_tv had a show full of music by people on the Fediverse. It could be cool to have a 24/7 stream of Fedizen's music. When it plays a song it gives links to the person's account and more info about them and stuff. I'm mostly just hoping I can wish this into existence and @controlfreak will take it from here.” – @gabek 23 Jan 2023

Challenge accepted!?! Armed with a voucher for a free domain and some borrowed time on a VPS in about a week we soft launched RFF with a small proof of concept wire frame catalogue based on our previous research and pilot episodes of a fedi music podcast and what some would consider a weird mission. It has been heartening to look back in review at some of the early messaging and how consistent it has held and resonated. Cheers for coming along on the journey.


RFF Comfy – March

Very soon after launch there was immediate demand to just do all the things, have all the channels, allow 15 minute opus', play music types no one was submitting, be Spotify etc. We decided to go even more inclusive for our friends who may be a bit ND or any friends at all who just needed something a bit more chill in the life. Enter RFF Comfy. Plenty eclectic and fun to explore but without the sharp edges. There is absolutely a loyal comfy crew out there and we hope to really grow the channel in the new year for you. Comfy origin story


??

Somewhere in this area we added theTraffic at the bottom of the hour on the Main channel. As most of you will be aware, theNews and theTraffic are actually neither of those things. We very much enjoy finding new and interesting ways for them to not be. Don't make us add theWeather...


June – In June we broke the 200 contributors to the station mark. We focused on reworking and offering better and more robust now playing and recently played options. There is a paradox that while our now playing bot was expanded to all the channels and we included channel specific hashtags, the botsinspace server throttles public posts to 6 hours and everything else is sent out as “unlisted” and thus not searchable. Fair enough. It is on our white board to move the bot or host the bot in a way that you will be able to search. This may require a specific champion host or patron to help.

Here are all the ways you can see, check, scroll back, or research recently played on all the channels https://blog.radiofreefedi.net/rff-recently-played-history-how-to-and-stuff


RFF Specialty – July

As the next phase of station growth we decided a good way to increase the amount of tracks we could showcase while being able to go weirder, wilder, longer, and to provide some focused themed/genre experience still drop-in and discover friendly, and to make sure the listener has the choice in the matter for all that, we launched the Specialty channel. This project involved over a few weeks going back through every single submission to date and reviewing every track and assigning, tagging and loading everything to any appropriate themed blocks including reviewing all tracks not previously used on the main channel for inclusion. tee D us.

Here is the Specialty channel lore. And here are the themed blocks.

You should make a date to enjoy a themed block and get to experience tracks you won't hear on Main and Comfy.

“Nice! @radiofreefedi has programming blocks now. This now gives you 3 channels to choose from. Currently playing some nice atmospheric #music. #radiofreefedi is a great way to discover new music and directly support the artists. #til” @robbielink


August – Here be dragons!

The server where our masto account resides got wiped including backups by their hosting provider. That was a hoot. Here is the anatomy of a disappearance.

Without old messages available, luckily we had a load of text files and this here blog to be able to reflect on the year and build this year in review state of the station. We've heard that some of you appreciate lore and the occasional update that doesn't have to be in the dreaded 1/427 format on limited post servers. We've been happy to have it as a reference.


Video Channel – August

While we've had a number of test chat hangouts and a few live mix style Specialty block shows, we've also hosted our first RFF artist live performances and hangout on the #owncast powered RFF video channel.

The community is very welcome to use this space for all manner of creative and fun uses. Album listening or release parties, live performances, Q&A or AMA, panel discussions and interviews, or just chat host a Specialty channel themed block simulcast hangout. Anything original, consented and inline with the station and community ethos is encouraged.


Somewhere in here we migrated the public facing streams to our own self-hosted relays which helped us gain a bit more integration and control over our ecosystem and reduced some costs allowing us to spread the infrastructure fund even further into the future.


RFF Faircamp Hosting – September/October

Given all the turmoil around Bandcamp transgressions as referenced in the three blogs linked in the gloom section we decided something we could do to show an exploratory option for artist agency and portability was to stand up an RFF faircamp directory and hosting offer. The idea was to help RFF artists who haven't the spoons or may not have the funds to explore self-hosting options for sharing their music as an exploratory option for agency and portability in a probable post Bandcamp landscape.

“All my gratitude to the wonderful @radiofreefedi for helping me to make my music available on the RFF community faircamp.” @socool

It's not a platform endorsement as it is not a platform. Rather just a decent method for assembling a tidy self-contained site bundle with music for preview and/or download suitable for portable hosting most anywhere. As we keep an eye on the horizon for what may come next here was our rationale and call to keep on supporting artists at the time.

We are also very concerned with the space, stress and oxygen created by the latest Bandcamp shitsplosion as rocket fuel for a huge influx of widely varying motivations to quickly enter the space and fill the gap and etc etc jargon. So whatever you are considering doing out there, please be vigilant of where you are putting your work, with whom and how clear or unclear they are about what they are doing with it.


Threads and Mastodon pooping in our picnic basket – December 2023

yeah nuff said.

On a great #unwrapped note, we blew past 320 music contributors and overall including writers, announcers and readers, patrons, advisors, there are now over 400 contributors beaming in the RFF signal!


I LOVE A PARADE – 01 January 2024

As mentioned in the new business section, in the hopes to celebrate and showcase some of the alternative and self-hosted streaming and broadcasting community we decided to organise a friendly global stream parade for New Years Day. It's not a centrally hosted and produced event, nor is it an automatically crossed over “raid” like on the nasty platform, rather it is a super cool assemblage of artists, communities, labels, collectives and broadcasters. https://blog.radiofreefedi.net/new-years-day-2024-global-24-hour-stream-party

update again, it was a success. Reach out if you are keen to get more involved with coordinating mini distributed stream parades, offer your work or stream, or leverage our or other community group platforms for boradcasting and streaming.

Our post NYD24Parade event debrief


Lolz

“I did (really) have to upgrade the data deal for my phone after #radiofreefedi reeled me in! 😁👍 But absolutely worth that extra £1 per month” @nigelharpur

“I have seriously got to stop listening to #RadioFreeFedi and browsing my timeline during the workday because the amazing #music that you people are putting out is KILLING my discretionary funding (play money) account” @Venya

“I've been listening to #RadioFreeFedi all day during #OliveHarvest, but couldn't use my phone's touchscreen while wearing gloves, so I thought it'd be a great day for field testing my #RFF display prototype, using a #Pimoroni Pico Inky Pack E-paper display for the #RaspberryPiPico.” @AxWax


Continuity

The station infrastructure is funded through March 24. We want to thank each and every friend who donated to the fund this year, especially in the early days for literally keeping the transmitter beaming. The human, often referred to as the hamster in the wheel sprinting to power the tower, has not been in a place to shoulder any costs personally, so it has been amazing to be able to not just create, not just continue, but to grow the station's offering and have zero (extra) existential dread at least about station server bills at the end of the month.

“at times like this, I'm just so proud being a #RadioFreeFedi supporter.” @Yuvalne

We'll call out for a telethon if we get close to blackout. We've jokingly asked RFF artists to “staff the phones” for a streamed event and you know you'd love an RFF tote bag for your support and contribution. (shush, global printing and shipping is a costly nightmare)


Staff

At some point it was kind of out of the bag that there is no RFF team. We alluded at times our solo nature and to bear with us when things were especially busy, or when our health was too much to work through, and when we were all in damage control for various fedi and internet debacles and dramas. It's not that we haven't asked. It would be lovely to offload some regular tasks. We appreciate that many are time poor or also exhausted.

“I think today it's you who needs to hear that we all like what you are doing, that it is amazing and we're all a little bit overwhelmed with just how much!” @kel

RFF was a more than full-time volunteer gig for many months to start. We were able to be a bit more part-time for a bit, but trying to push more station initiatives to support artists and trying to survey, map and navigate the tools, dramas affecting artists of which we are as well is a lot of work on top of running a station, platforms for artists to share and participate, and being as positive as possible in not a part-time gig.

We did our best this year to offer as constant and as available as possible support for just about any fedi, internet, platform, mutualaid and music queries. Amongst some of the challenges we definitely took some hits personally and probably burnt a bit too hard from both ends of the wick. Is that sustainable? Certainly not and we particularly wish the techbros would give us a damned holiday from drama so we can just share amazing art and build more capacity to help promote rad artists for an undisturbed minute. Even though there is so much more we could do, and most intitiatives and project we undertake have been very well received, almost too well received, we are far past the point of being sustainably able to manage and sustain all the things for this community service.

It's not at all what we want to do, had any intent to do, or even like, but we recognise the ripples of goodwill, belonging, community and support that are out there rallying around the artists and RFF and there may be a time to ask the community how we sustain the human power to sustain or grow those ripples. Help in the form of time still requires handover or oversight, but even that has not arisen or been forthcoming. We have absolutely no doubt the infrastructure will be funded any time we ask, but this thing has gotten a bit bigger than just that.

** update. with much personal consideration and with the loving feedback of members of the RFF community we went ahead and pivoted to asking the community if they would support the human at a minmum level to continue RFF as close to existing levels of activity.

We'd like to shout out the beautifully mischievous instigator @hilljam for unilaterally putting out a call for mutual aid for the hamster/human who faced some sizeable loss this year and if we're being honest with you, came very close a couple times to unplugging the transmitter. As a volunteer community service apparently we needed to be better at accepting help ourselves if the community wants to help not just the service but also the human power behind it. Your response was incredibly humbling and while we can't burn as hard for another year, we hope we can find some balance to continue.

Forest and trees and all that. When you keep staring down rapid fire dramas, setbacks, disasters, traumas, losses that feel amplified by the feed, especially from a community project's perspective, it's hard to not be overrun by all the things. And it can be hard to step back and see certain things as they are.

Thank you to the kind souls out there that helped us with a good cool down talk, stitch n bitch, or tone checks on our rough as guts writings when the hamster was steaming. Thank you to the shoulders we leaned on throughout this first year that helped use realise that as things are, RFF as a community and as a thing is practically unassailable positive. That rocks and let us be a bit more comfortable taking the odd moment to be appreciatively proud to be a part of it.


What are you actually doing over there:

It was apparently no small task to spin up and ramp up a completely consented and fedi based catalog where there is absolutely zero blind download dump and randomise or anything like that. Rather we do curate and do our very best to present something from every submission in the best place or places we can across our three channels with the best and cleanest data we can for the benefit of the artists and hopefully the enjoyment, enrichment and discovery of the listeners. At a minimum there is a weekly station music and playlist update which we post about and welcome the artists. Depending on how many new artists have been reached or suddenly motivated, or how busy our existing artist friends have been, some weeks there are 2 and even 3 music update!

There is also a lot of cumulative little works in cleaning voice submissions, editing and merging news, IDs, sweeps, drops, helping with audio on music submissions if and where we can.

And all the communications. And the main fedi account where when we aren't side quest doing our best to represent the bard class or tap the sign, we are doing our best to keep some positivity flowing to your feed. And all the various directory, public masto follow list, and playlist format data sets that are checked and updated at every station music update.

And managing all the self-hosted and nerd stuff we use for station management, audio streaming, video streaming, web and blog stuff.


Regerts! we have one:

A side effect of RFF wanting to foster good communication, collaboration, celebration of agency and consent et al is that when server wars, attrition, exhaustion, and class warfare by big players force artists to always be on the move, the station has to do our best to keep up with server changes in our directory, for each track in the station catalogue and any tagged promo etc. That's been amplifying lately for reasons in the gloom section of this update.

Something we got so wrong, and it was too late to do anything about as we grew so fast was to not insist on an e-mail or some alternative means to communicate with contributing artists as part of the submission and onboarding process.

There are quite a few initiatives and projects and potential things in the pipe, ongoing and projected that we simply cannot tactfully discuss, poll prospective participants based on the limitation of fedi microblogs and their being too public, having no viable group tools (we tried 3), and our community being too large to negotiate anything via private mentions. Twice we put out the call for e-mail and matrix IDs from RFF contributing artists and got single digit returns. We know everybody is busy and all, but we really do have some amazing opportunities that would need better input and consent to tackle and test.

It's not viable to post public, have artists not see it, have the public get amped for it, then it not actually happen. So it's not about being secret squirrel, it's more about feeling out IF things are possible or if we have the backing of the content providers.

Hit us on matrix if you have the means. #radioFreeFedi:matrix.org


How can you help?

  1. LISTEN TO RFF

  2. Tell a friend to drop-in and listen and discover amazing independent fedi artists! Helping RFF reach new listeners is in turn helping our entire artist community. Massive impact from some simple sharing.

  3. Submit your original music! Or, tell an artist friend to get in on the party and submit music. In most cases it's as easy as a single DM.

  4. Follow links affiliated with the tracks we play via now playing, the playlist bot, the playlist csv text files or the artist directory to: -Drop a kind word to an artist who's work you've enjoyed -Tag us too, or #radioFreeFedi, it's hugely rewarding to see amazing and kind interactions -Be an impromptu street team for an artist you've enjoyed hearing to help them reach new corners of the fedi -Consider the best ways you might amiable to for materially supporting artists if you have the means

  5. Check out the schedule and setup a date with a specialty block of themed tunes to discover even more tunes and artists. Since know what you are signing up for, Specialty block selections can go a bit longer and wilder and feature tracks you will not hear on the Main and Comfy channels.

  6. Want to perform live, busk, have a panel interview or discussion, host a listening party or album launch on our Specialty channel and/or video streaming channel? Can you offer some time to moderate chat in the video channel for a hangout? OR, does anyone out there want to record artist interviews? We could happily help recommend some willing and friendly artists. Or would you like to provide production help with any such events? There is space for just about anyone willing to be an active contributor.

  7. Can you help to collate and assemble lists of things such as upcoming release dates from fedi artists? Write some friendly mini reviews of RFF artists we can post as RFF?

  8. Can you provide about 5 minutes of voice read per month for a regular show that RFF will write edit and produce? We just need a regular presenter willing to record the intros and bridges. From a script verbatim if that helps.

  9. Have some original longer form spoken word or other programming you can consent or is fully consented for us to broadcast on the Specialty channel?

  10. You don't have to be a musician to contribute material. Send in some things for theNews or theTraffic. Send in some fun station IDs. If you'd like to do a read, we have scripts and guidelines available if that helps. All good fedizens are welcome to join the party. DM @radiofreefedi@musician.social for more info.

  11. Other duties as required. If you have some regular time to offer, we can probably line you up with a helpful task! Or if you have an idea for any original or consented programming you might like to make for RFF please do pitch it. If you can help with how we might be more sustainable as a community service without burning out a volunteer, we are all ears. Local grants are tough because of our global reach and scope. Prominent global grants lean real heavy to dev of tech that will get thrown away in 12-18 months and less for community building. Corporate money is a non starter. Pledge driving to staff the place feels weird personally as it was never the intention of the experiment, but here we are, it's not really an experiment anymore, and as a means to help and promote more indie artists it may be OK to the community? Any help here would be amazing.

  12. Join us on a public RFF chat for general comradery off the mciroblog format, offers of time or help, feedback. Artists please ask for an invite to our artist and contributor group so that we can discuss station initiatives and how we might further help promote each other. #radioFreeFedi:matrix.org

  13. LISTEN TO RFF

It's a bit chicken and egg to spend time to map out tasks or jobs others might be able to help with that may never get answered or aling with initiatives that may not be realised without knowing who is actually interested in getting involved and what they might be able or willing to bring to the community.


are we there yet?

Don't make me turn this car around.

Whatever happens with the fedi as it was, is or might become, together we've made an impact. Maybe not much of a dent in systemic imbalances, but we've damn sure thrown down a gauntlet of how big small can be!

For every one of us as artists that have been touched by the uplifting energy of the community that has rallied, and for everyone in the wider community that has contributed in any way to that uplifting, and to all of us that have gleaned some discovery and joy from listening and sharing, this experiment that happens to be social web adjacent has been so much more than selfish social signaling and performative posturing. Quite the amazing contrary. We have seen absolutely gorgeous non-competitive and selfless giving of honesty, emotion, time, coin, knowledge and all manner of help amongst you all.

Are we fucking exhausted? Yes. Are the techbros constantly trying to crap in our cornflakes? Yes. Are comms always easy or durable in clunky federated microblogs? No. Are trolls? YES. Despite all of that, thanks to all who have worn it and even managed to beat it back a bit with a stick to make space for the absolute fucking AWESOME that has become the RFF community.

We hope you might get a wee break or a chance to reflect or a little power up at this time of year so that you can join us as we do our best to roll on in 2024. If so we're here to give you an awesome soundtrack. If not, we're here to provide and awesome soundtrack.

Whatever your endeavours may be and wherever your travels may take you, as always, we're here for you to drop-in, discover and hopefully inspire you to keep creating and to keep getting out there a supporting amazing independent artists.

Kia kaha

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

-the hamster sprinting in the wheel powering the transmitter

threads and what is the fedi anyway?

Apologies for the break in tone.

radio free fedi's mission is quite simple: we want to have fun with our friends, build community, and do our best to help promote, celebrate and link up collaboration and support for indie artists.

We have tried our best to weather the strife, disagreements, fediverse and platform dramas of this year as a positive voice of advocacy for artists. Our approach has consistently been using that positivity and community strength to cut through the issues with support for the well-being of artists, and our goal to help share their work out into the world.

We've been drafting an end of year State of the Station report to highlight what an amazing year it's been for artists in our community. So many people in the space, musicians and supporters alike, have poured so much positivity into the creative space here in the fediverse. The support has been nothing short of incredible, and we're so honoured to have played a part in it.

This joy gets soured when focusing on the latest drama and negative developments in the space. There are big changes happening in the fediverse, and there are big disagreements over what it actually means. Some people promise that it will all be puppies and sunshine, but many feel a looming discomfort over the Threads featuring Mastodon collab.

Let's take a moment to reflect on recent history. If we think about the last few cycles of growth and migration in the fediverse, the network is getting bigger, moving faster, with a higher amount of bigger players getting involved. Rifts form, silos grow, and a fair amount of people will quickly look for the exits as we continue to ignore fundamental unresolved problems. This time, though, there is a bigger multiplier than ever before. It could end up being so big that it splits the network into smaller fragments, again.

The fragmentation across the network could continue to wreak havoc and uncertainty for those artists in our community who try to strike that hard balance between unshakable ethics and being able to support themselves via reach across the network. With the amount of confusion, vitriol, and downright fear that has struck us all, RFF have paused three station projects that may never see the light of day. We simply do not have the spoons to handle this latest drama – it literally makes our job harder, and hurts small, independent artists in the process.

The transmitter remains on as a beacon of what is good about “small” organic artist centric human driven community.


It doesn't matter if you think Threads is going to do something benevolent and safe for the first time this time or that it will be amazing for “reach”. And it doesn't matter if you feel avoiding at all costs for safety is the best thing for your well-being. The political rift alone will hit every last one of us on the non-corporate fedi by way of a fresh flaring of server admin wars that will once again harm artists who may wake up on any given day disconnected from meaningful and needed contacts and support.

Things like this get well in the way of our mission statement to infuse positivity into the network, in the hope of creating any small ripples of joy, love, discovery and support that might make it a better place.


Real talk: Facebook has never NOT been a bastion of harm in its decisions and practice. There are many posts, sites and links and receipts, but you likely can already name a few off the top of your head, without even searching.

Threads continues to platform violent and horrible actors and often turns a blind eye towards hate speech, propaganda, and disinformation campaigns. There should be an overwhelming consensus that blocking their server would be an understood course of action under any rather universal lack of moderation rule on hate and or misinformation.

But blocking threads at the user or even server level may not be enough to minimise damage to the diversity and fabric of the fediverse.

As companies with millions of users move into the space, the network will be larger and ever more transient, and it's more than likely that the data, storage, and bandwidth requirements for operators could climb significantly. A network with, not just millions, but hundreds of millions of users, could end up making entry into hosting part of the network inaccessible to anyone that can't afford to run operations in the face of such growth.

Even if your small server is not following influencers and brands on Threads because of blocking, you might still be connected to a large enough space that has every incentive to federate with them. Maybe it makes sense to connect to mastodon dot social, for example, so you still have the reach you might need for creative projects or for mutual aid initiatives. That's all well and good, until your small community server has to shoulder the strain every time Mastodon.Social hiccups, burps, spams, massive onboards, glitches and creates massive spikes. Smaller players end up having to scale up operations if they hope to remain connected. Multiply this by 10,0000 with the introduction of a player who can afford to out-resource the rest of the network by billions of dollars...

Even if you block Threads, the transient effects of unmitigated network effects will have a negative impact on small players that's currently difficult to comprehend. In the face of rifts over what should be done about the situation, it will turn out that the tsunami will hit you, regardless of whether you block Threads or not.


We don't quite know where is safe, where there will be balance, how transient effects on performance and cost won't price out small actors.

Maintaining low resource nodes will require your server surviving the network strain and the knock-on from the strain of other servers that may be hustling to keep up with threads to still deliver you a filtered experience. This is true even in the case where every ping and packet from Threads.net is filtered out. Of course, there are a few parties who absolutely do not have to worry about that power imbalance.


The number of amazing hard working fediverse creatives and supporters who are again scrambling for new new alternatives and how we might help each other through is upsetting and beyond exhausting. We get it.

For indie artists and many others who were quite happy in a place “mostly” devoid of one-way clout cannons, where organic interaction was truly possible, it will be troubling to think about losing that vibe or having to up stakes and shift again.

Again, whether you block Threads or not, and whether you chose to be on the fedi for a different experience, the tsunami will hit you in some way. It may be loss of contact with swaths of friends or supporters in a server block. It may be that your server can't keep up with the transient loads when Threads gets more integrated to the network. It may be that this combination of stresses on volunteer efforts and small communities will be brutal, and that they simply cannot carry on enduring. Fair enough.


Staring down this precipice, it is difficult to envisage keeping connectivity to a wide and diverse range of communities, servers and ethea, when that diversity and network is getting pummeled. The rift is growing over what choice to make – subsidise the large corporate players with your participation, hosting, moderation, etc as a best-case scenario, or feel consumed over the network being wholly repurposed for whatever the Facebooks and Amazons and Googles of the world want it to be, removing the rest of us in the process.

We have no idea if, when and how messages FROM the organic network that's been growing here all this time will be presented or hidden out there on the ThreadNet. Nor will we ever know what is being done with the farmed public data: we may be rolling out the red carpet to Zuck. Also, any ideas on what Threads will do with Peertube, or writeas or Owncast? As artists we care about trying to grow these things for artist agency but what will this behemoth do with all that?

You could say Mastodon right now is pretty awful at privacy and stack quality and that is fair, but pound for pound for what it is, despite mission creep and narrative hogging, anything current fedi is leaps and bounds better for data sovereignty and agency than Threads direct use or transient adjacency will ever be.


Saying “but it's public data anyway” is also not the point. You don't get to be a closed source node in an open federation while through sheer scale and unknown effect, potentially muscle the open and transparent small players off the network.

If you want a giant corporate network, then you have plenty of those options. What really is to gain for indie artists by injecting a corporate platform, one resembling places many of us left, into the non-corporate space that we ran to?

What's the best case scenario for a scale apologist living on a non-corporate server, but still wanting all the imaginary clout crumbs from corporate daddy overlord land? trying to siphon some of the natural fedi engagement while getting to follow a bunch of brands and politicians? Weak. What's the best case for the corporate player? Walmart effect and running everyone else out of the network? Shit. What's the best outcome all the plebs on the network we built together? Surviving? Fuck.

Fedi was weird. None of this is keeping Fedi weird. None of this scale is for the benefit of open two-way and organic interaction. How many examples have you heard featuring empty numbers and zero “engagement” from corporate platforms? None of this feels like an invitation to build something beautiful together. Whatever this is, it's not the Open Web.

Wanting scale at any cost casts a shadow on the big players involved of maybe having little interest in an open and organic web that is actually inclusive. If not, then something of substance from them other than a few buzz words about being “great” and “open” would be welcome. It might be prudent to think they are happy leave communities and small actors who can't afford to subsidise their scale in the digital dust.


With all this we can't in good faith, at this time, include Threads federation as a tool we agnostically look to. A platform like this does little to help existing Fedi artists feel community nor achieve reach. While full federation from Threads does not yet exist, there is no good communication on how or if Threads will put non corporate Fedi users on a level or safe playing field: historically, you have absolutely zero reason to trust Meta nor to extend them any benefit of any doubt so hope with extreme caution.

Pragmatically, all we can see coming is increasingly more challenging tasks for artists to navigate around such a presence, or sit in some vague “allowlist ring of trust” maintained by the organic and human part of Fedi, or be absorbed by the corpo brand fedi 3.0, or try to straddle them without losing our spoons more, again affecting our ability to create much less thrive.


We love that you are here with us, we love that you love being here with each other.

We are sorry we cannot see a positive framing that is honest and realistic for this latest rift.

As always our allegiance is 100% in defense of our small, indie, and marginalised artist cousins being safe, well, empowered with some agency, and hopefully getting the support to create, emotionally and materially so we have some damned lunch without a Zuck or minion threatening to swipe it away every other minute.

Many of us have endured quite a bit of ephemera, frustration and loss navigating the fediverse as it has been, yet when we manage to work through, it has at times been rewarded with an experience that is unrivaled by any corporate platform. Again, no matter what you think of Threads or it's incursion into the verse, we will continue to face amplified challenges of scale, safety, privacy, and indeed non-Threads server to server reach due to ethical, political and personal rifts.

That is scary and infuriating given the opportunity for many of us to have experienced in the fedi of some level of being able to operate as artists with way less social signaling, popular performative stress, or even just a fear of fucking existing.

Given the current topography of the fediverse, and the real lack of ability to effectively operate in a choice of modes such as ring of trust allowlist, greylist, or yolo corporate hellhole without that affecting the other modes, there is so much work to do and so few spoons. Unfortunately the bros with all the coin and the numbers have been working hard on full steam ahead for follower numbers at all costs and quite frankly, if the bros at Masto Inc don't believe they'll incur any costs from dancing with the devil, that's folly on their part, but shamefully, it will be taking so many others with them.


So, here we go again. Does being on Radio Free Fedi mean we support genocide in Myanmar or Ethiopia? Because Meta sure did. No. Does being on Radio Free Fedi mean we tolerate Moms for Liberty or LibsofTikTok cause Threads sure does? No.

In principle we can't really include an artist that is solely on Threads since it is not possible to communicate and collaborate with those users at this time. We would also not omit an artist who is on both parts of the network, if they feel they are getting some benefit and support from that. To be fair, the feedback we hear on this leads us to firmly hope some group comes up with a good way for the non-corporate fediverse to continue existing, with as much reach as possible while shielded from the resource and network threats of vast corporate instances. We love artists and want like hell for them to get some damned lunch, but as always while minimising the damage to their well-being and agency.

This all hits waaay different than our regular calls to please do your best to support artists on the platforms and methods they can navigate. In this case the entire network our organic community space thrives in involuntarily merging with a corporate actor of questionable motivation. Even if the Fedi we know isn't merging with Threads directly, we still have to face the potential network load, along with other damages from a corporate actor who bears a long rap sheet of letting human rights and humanitarian crimes slide.

Safety, privacy and quality of content aside, that is a literal heavy load to bear while we also continue navigating fedi admin wars as well as the volatile nature of who can even afford to host nodes where a very poorly built and scalable tech stack in Mastodon with a history of already causing serious network and resource pains downstream from having massive “flagship” instance now leading the charge for an exponential incursion of noise and load.

RFF would not like to give a single iota of community trust to Meta or anyone who values content-siphoning cult of personality they embody. What we are interested in is a network that values human empathy.

We have witnessed that organic human interaction for artists has the ability to organise, motivate, and transform. How do we not lose that? How do we all stay energised to keep reconnecting through all these power imbalances, dramas, and platform fatigue battles?

Does radio free fedi need to exist? Is the name going to be embarrassing going forward as corporations and sponsored shills for an unknown amount of time tolerate our existence adjacent to them?

Look this is not “old man yells at cloud”. Rather, this is a serious reflection on how our points of difference that rallied us so beautifully have been eroded over time, from various directions, and are now queued up for a speed run demolition.

We so want to carry on promoting, celebrating and fostering the discovery and support of amazing, talented, weird and wonderful indie artists, but we need to remain connected to do that, and we truly fear the safety, durability and resilience of our current model for artists and listeners.

The transmitter is on. Our signal remains on full power set to love and comradery. If our existence and your awesome indie community vibes become even weirder in this cowardly new world being thrust upon us, then join us as we raise two fingers to those that were so happy to crap in our collective cornflakes and try to co-opt or muscle us out of our weird, interactive and supportive spaces.

let's punch upward by lifting each other up out there. Support independent artists!

Broadcasters, performers, friends!

Are you on the fediverse? Do you use Owncast or Peertube? Would you like to have a stream on new years day and be part of a fun 24 hour global marathon, train, parade, “raid”? Let us know if you want to do a special 1 or 2 hour stream of whatever it is you generally do. Are you already doing a bigger event and would be happy to acknowledge or accept having a specific time slot for the marathon pointing to you? All good let's do it.

Here is the parade route ie. schedule


Rules?

Are you a decent fedizen, does your content cause no harm, is your content original open or fully consented, will chat be available and moderated, that's pretty much it, hop aboard. As a distributed event RFF nor any other participants can guarantee all the content but as a community we'll do our best and look out for each other.

The idea is multi focused. We want to: – celebrate and introduce the community of streamers using “alternative” and self powered platforms – facilitate a bunch of hangouts on a day that may already be a party, and may just be another day to get through for others so let's assemble! – inspire more folks to have a go at self powered and community broadcasting


If you are a fedi/owncast/peertube broadcaster or streamer and want to join the parade please message @radiofreefedi@musician.social or join matrix room NYD24StreamParty:matrix.org.

We'll do our best to coordinate a contiguous parade. RFF will act as a lobby and information desk for the day and between ourselves and a few other broadcasters we will try to fill any gaps. Inversely, the more the merrier and if things get really active there may be some overlap, so at that point it's a festival not a party!

We can also simulcast any original and/or fully consented content to the radio free fedi Specialty audio channel on the day if you are able to send us a signal we'd be happy to receive as much as possible. If you are an audio only streamer or podcaster, we could live host you on radio free fedi which we can relay to our owncast video channel et voila!

If you broadcast elsewhere and haven't dipped a toe into the calm waters of non corporate streaming, we may be able to align you with a host broadcaster for the day, however this availability may vary if you are non cleared and consented, commercial material.


Participating and tentative schedule for the parade starting 0100 UTC New Years Day: time conversions

Blind Games Presents https://owncast.tffppodcast.com 0100-0300 UTC – blind games presents and flying blind broadcast mainstream gaming from a blind accessibility perspective.

radio free fedi https://party.radiofreefedi.net [audio](https://radiofreefedi.net] RFF will be the lobby, host, support conduit, and one of the impromptu content as needed providers throughout the parade. We will also be presenting: 0300-0500 UTC – Roos vs Kiwis, a special hosted simulcast on the Specialty Channel and the Video chat to kick things off musically from your antipodean cousins.

DJ Earth Walker https://stream.yurupath.net 0500-0600 UTC – live dj set of electron dance music, UK garage, drum and bass, and dubstep

w0rmh0le http://live.w0rmh0le.net/ 0600-0700 UTC – Camp Scouts Podcast is sharing a medley of new music recommendations from across the fediverse

jnktv.tv https://jnktn.tv/ 0700-0800 UTC – 404 Not Found with ENOENT: Bass, breaks, wubs and dubs ***.

OPEN 0800-1100 UTC – OPEN – message the station with your idea!

jnktv.tv https://jnktn.tv/ 1100-1200 UTC – grueproof from the JNKTN.TV crew presents Neon City showcasing the best of retro and synth wave, techno/industrial, classic from the past, and modern sounds.

love a brother radio https://stream.labr.online 1200-1300 UTC The global house music streaming crew LABR are going all day with a special year in review marathon. We'll focus in from 1200-1300 UTC as they kick off their event.

Kamizdat label & Luka Prinčič https://live.pretok.tv 1300-1500 UTC – Performance and label showcase by electronic music and arts friends from Slovenia.

Didier's Live Channel https://live.malenfant.net 1500-1600 UTC – “Introduction to #AnaloguePocket development”. Come learn about #FPGA and #Verilog development

gravitons collective https://stream.gravitons.org 1600-1700 UTC – Meljoann will bring you “Improvised R&B noise & a few stylish songs”

New Ellijay TV https://newellijay.tv 1700-1900 UTC – A watch party with the world premiere of the special hosted movie, Dark Mistresses' Holiday Movie Presents Santa Conquers the Martians

DJ MXKS https://owncast.mxks.dj 1900-2000 UTC – fun beats and foxy times live dj set.

gravitons collective https://stream.gravitons.org 2000-2100 UTC – Rashamon performing “synth noise pop: a mix of new beats and tracks”.

radio free fedi https://party.radiofreefedi.net 2100-2200 UTC – RFF are simulcasting on our chat, Creative Commons Jazz from Hairy Larry and anonradio.

RetroStrange TV https://live.retrostrange.com 2200-0000 UTC – watch party and programming TBA

gravitons collective https://stream.gravitons.org 0000-0100 Thur 2nd Dec UTC – Remember Glaciers live performance. “We may be the last generations to remember glaciers. Glacially slow ambient soundscapes.”

Doctor Deathray [https://communitymedia.video/}(https://communitymedia.video/) 0100-0200 UTC – Live Performance. “Playing, looping, making all sorts of noises, it’s Doctor Deathray ready to annihilate your ears!”

radio free fedi https://party.radiofreefedi.net 0200-0300 UTC – Live acoustic performance from SabiLewSounds

Our Friends at Owncast https://directory.owncast.online Are helping with connecting broadcasters, hosts, their directory and have made a darn good platform empowering many of us.


As we get more broadcasters, performers, and friends onboard for the event we'll update the schedule, links and planned programming from everyone here, probably a dedicated RFF url and hopefully a few affiliates will help amplify as well!

Let's find more friends and hangout and discover and celebrate each other on a predefined Monday :)


More ways you can help or contribute: – volunteer for a some time to moderate and hangout in the fedi chat on the RFF video channel acting as a lobby, info desk and traffic management for the duration of the parade. – can you help with amplifying, boosting, or other creative means to excite the community? – have some technical resource or chops to help provide some infra or mentorship? – can you help do fedi announcements at crossover times during the event or help with some ways to automate some affiliated promotion? – want to make some fun graphics or art for RFF to use on our video channel acting as the lobby and info desk on the day?

Please reach out to @radiofreefedi@musician.social or join #NYD24StreamParty:matrix.org