radio free fedi blog

archive for reviews and long posts only. please don't boost or follow here, please do follow @radiofreefedi@musician.social your 24/7 fediverse community radio

Happy BandcampFriday FaircampFriday FridayFriday FridayImInLove or just plain Friday ya'll

We, as many others, are suffering from a solid bout of exhaustion having endured ourselves and having attempted to help friends navigate recent substantial rifts in the fedi that can have a brutal effect on the connections and reach independent artists depend on. While the fediverse can be pound for pound a much better environment for organic interaction if you make the effort, it is also overall a vastly smaller overall potential audience base and when it gets even smaller, that can be worrying and threatening to artists. despite the fedi rifts there is love

Then, we were plunged straight into round three of the absolute horror show that is the “fall” of Bandcamp. As of now it is 100% functionally the same with minimal ToS alteration but fair enough has soured many. This had us again scrambling to support artists as they try to understand where they stand, where they might stand, and how they can maintain support and possibly balance some of the ethics they wish to radiate while surviving. first response prior to the dismissal of nearly every collective agreement employee


As independent artist advocates foremost, this often means suppressing personal preferences in order to help and support artists on the platforms or methods they feel are necessary for their work and health or what they indeed can navigate and manage. That is a chief pillar of radio free fedi's existence, to discover using the community supported station as a transparent layer, and then “GO AWAY”. Go away to communicate, interact, collaborate, promote, support materially and in good energies for soul nourishing.

This is our way of not being a walled garden, an algorithm, and extractive siphon, or a hyper curated dead-end of consumption with little meaningful impact for the artists, makers and indeed users at the bottom of the attention economy. The difference so many of you have made to so many others as a non competitive creative community is a testament to there being good people out there, possible good from an alternative social community space, and the power of collective struggle in the shadow of the surveillance capitalist digital behemoths that work so hard to divide us and extract our data, health and wealth.

It is never a bad thing for artist and listener agency to be at the forefront and that certainly got a major boot to the jaw with the writing on the wall for the likely extractive corporate enshitification of our last least worst central platform in Bandcamp given the context of the most recent owners and the horrific vitriol from some of the remaining managers.

As talking heads, casual and power users, artists and supporters attempt to discern what they can tolerate in a music discovery and consumption model, a base truth we must embrace is that there is no panacea. Use caution surveying the many things that will appear or re-appear with wildly varying deep motivations who promise to be good stewards of your work (or openly/historically don't!).

And let us all amplify empathy by not judging what others are using to survive without ample pause and concern for the needs and resources of the artists involved and whether or not they have specifically asked for recommendations which should never include passive aggressive reckons.

Examples include: “why aren't you using platform X? have you heard of Y? I can't believe you are using pay gateway Z? This part of what you are relying on to eat is shit and I won't use it.” and halcyon on and on...

These are not throwaway comments to artists potentially under informed as to any potential untoward behaviour upstream from them, overwhelmed by the thought of having to shift platforms and the often non-trivial and time consuming work involved, low on spoons or time to survey options, or who are just focused on getting some damn groceries this week and were desperately seeking support, not your reckons on how they should or should not be surviving.


There will never be a single monolithic thing that ticks all of your personal boxes. We should be careful not to expect or demand or dream of 1:1 replacements or mimics of unattainable models of scale or resource sink. There is either going to be some high cost of agency and sovereignty on the commercial and corporate side of the spectrum, or inversely community division, decision making powder kegs, burnout, liability overload and implosion on the possibly well intended community end. And everywhere in between could be rife with expectation drift and sideline pundits of all stripe. Don't be that person.

While RFF remains absolutely agnostic on posting the links and support methods artists provide, we are doing our best to walk the talk to not just explore what comes after, or between, but lifting up our comrades on our way to lifting up the community on our way to what things might come next. That means considering not just what is best for ourselves, or what we might be able to tolerate on balance, but also how we can help meet others in the same process toward sustaining support, while not silencing or losing creative voices (art saves lives!), and if possible finding our way to solutions that are not centralised for scale sake, and also not federated for buzz sake.

Federation as in fediverse has not worked and may never work well with regards to discovery, attribution, and artist agency in things to date like Peertube and Funkwhale. There is no need to federate media per say, that's much too clunky. By all means let us explore bolting on messaging and discovery layers ON TOP OF simple community or self-hosted repositories so that creators know at least at their own core and base, nothing dodgy is happening to or with their work. But it is absolutely not an answer to try to bolt on fiscal transactions to existing things that are not fit for purpose as artist media hosting, sharing, attribution respecting, discovery and support seeking tools.

And again, let us not ignore the constant struggles with fedi ephemera, burnout, deprecation, unknown webs of blocks etc that impact and affect the diversity of users with varying underlying platform knowledge levels very differently and heavily.

Shouting just do a federated “the thing” at artists is not constructive. Rest assured there are some concerted efforts underway in this space, but they will need time. Just as artists will need time IF they choose to explore new, different or a blend of platforms, delivery and support mechanisms.

While the scale and metrics of the walled gardens is overall chasing ghosts for many, it can be a necessary evil for purposes many of us do not consider. For instance, it is well and good to think that artists could somehow help earn a living playing shows if they are able, yet the first thing many agents, promoters, venues, etc will ask for is your corporate socials and streaming presence and metrics. Is that good and right? No. Is it a reality artists face? Yes. All food for thought as we consider what the buffet of solutions we should seek, build, consider, attempt to tolerate or support going forward with the health and sustainability of music and art in mind.

second response post union dismissal, owner content intentions and remaining managers poor remarks


We face a number of complex issues at the intersection of ethics, agency, reach, usability, sustainability and paying the grocer.

We have said this on every #bandcampFriday, to know that every day is the best day to as directly as possible support independent artists. Please be understanding of the feed if and while these days still exist. It is hard self promoting as an independent artist, and communal support and promotion conduits such as these days have been incredibly vital for so many artists. Please know that artists asking for support in the best ways they can manage is 100% not condoning the poor form of the owners and managers of a place like Bandcamp that has often been their best rally point for support. artists are probably not horrible or deplorable just by proximity

Artists, please DM @radiofreefedi@musician.social if you need to open an alt channel to talk out anything at all at this time. We can listen, we can find the right advice, we can find help via community.

Many of us are out here absolutely ears pinned trying to survey, organise, test what comes next regardless of where Bandcamp goes. That is because these events have helped many realise that the bad and the least worst options we have been using, just as well meaning coops and the like are always prone to rot or disappearance. What comes next should also not try to be a 1:1 of anything. It will most likely be a buffet of options that will require us to meet each other somewhere in the middle around our media gathering and artist support practices. They should offer us at a minimum better piece of mind over some combination of reach, portability and most importantly agency and determination.

Let us not belittle or bemoan artists who are experimenting with new spaces or tools just as we should not belittle or bemoan those still on Bandcamp or even bigger corporate platforms.

Let's emphasise artist support first. If you truly don't care about the human or the creative energy behind the music then mute some tags and stay out of the way as artists desperately try to gather the resource, spoons or help to sustain their energy to create or indeed their ability to survive.

If you do care, and many of you very much do, we should continue to do our best to support artists on the terms and platforms they can manage with the understanding that this will take time any way you slice it.

So happy Friday to you all. Give as direct of support as you can muster in whatever formats you can be amiable with, that artists can manage to offer. Even if it is BandcampFriday.

And as always drop in when you can and discover some amazing artists that would love to meet you and have your support in any format you have, especially a kind word! listen and discover at RFF

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

#radioFreeFedi

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

originally threaded in short form at @radiofreefedi@musician.social

There is going to be more tension towards artists who for diverse and valid reasons may not fully understand, have the bandwidth to process, the resource or agility to rapidly platform hop, etc around the growing horrors of the #bandcamp fall.

TL:DR please mute bandcamp tags if you insist on equating every artist trying to survive, and their timeline to provide you some unicorn panacea distro/support model as somehow condoning bad things and that they should just shut up and go away.

Because sadly we are here to tell you, they are.


Corporate restructuring amidst a sale as a way to disenfranchise and harm workers is horrible. If there is any racial undertones exacerbating such action, that is deplorable.

An artist that needs groceries this week is most probably neither.

We continue to ask that for some time to come, we should do our best to support artists wherever they can by while we try to help each other out of this infinite mess.

Just as before, being on bandcamp tomorrow didn't mean an artist was pro vertical corporation, or pro paypal, or anti worker, it now also doesn't mean they are racist.

#bandcamp WAS the entrenched last least worst option for a common ground of usability, practicality, visibility and reach, agency, independence and trust.

The community of artists has an immensely diverse range of space, time and resource to know, process, or be infinitely platform agile at a pace we might prefer.


Supporting artists wherever they can be continues to be important if we can be amiable. Talking down at them for surviving is antithetical to fostering better options and helping one another to those options should they exist, be low barrier and sustainable.

Do not twist this, we can all agree anti-worker practices, racism, and loss of agency for artists and users are bad! Many were already in a no win situation to match the ethics we want to radiate while sharing art and seeking support.

What is the point if you snipe artists' means to survive, materially, or literally through their voice?

In a structurally unjust, racist and capitalist dominated digital landscape, do you want them on amazon, spotify, apple? Are they not racist, anti-worker, planet killing?

Armchair soap boxing AT independent, marginalised, overwhelmed and by the by BIPOC artists to “shut up you aren't performative interneting fast enough for ME” is kind of right out of the oligarchs' otherism playbook.


We remain very concerned for the health and well-being of our artist friends of all stripes, on all platforms and do not want to leave any in the lurch at this current crossroads.

Stay vertical out there. Art hard! Use your arms to wrap around each other and lift the fuck up, not to point and diminish and dissuade and further disenfranchise.

#solidarity can be speaking out WITH those wronged by corporate motives AND not diminishing, berating or yelling AT desperate, independent, marginalised et al artists! ❤️

Kia kaha

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

#radioFreeFedi

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

As we've said there are so many options out there and we do not want to endorse any single model as this forced shakeup of the last least worst centralised platform goes to the vultures.

Artists need to do whatever they can manage and navigate this landscape so they can reach who they can, garner the support they need and hopefully also be able to continue creating. Friends, listeners, supporters need to do our best to continue to seek and support as amiably as we can amidst most probably pending fragmentation.

Those that are decoupling or de-focusing from #bandcamp have been considering a wide array of competing or fledgling music sites, ko-fi, itch, funkwhale, self hosting raw files, self hosting Faircamp, self hosted e-commerce shops and many more.

There was already quite a few competing projects in various states out there. Now there is going to unfortunately be a lot more space for more fedi infighting, that seldom artist centric grinding socials armchair punditry, “cooperative” collapse, overblown expectations on integration function, reach, scale, fiscals, et al.

“Just build a Fedi Bandcamp” is a bit of a flawed premise on a few terms mainly for expectations: – pure Fedi music discovery will continue to be a constant struggle for artists just as it is now for their artist identity due to federation anomalies, ephemeral servers, platform variance, and admin wars – Bandcamp had 5 million+ artists from 15+ years of operation which was enough discoverability scale for some, yet still no where near the “discoverability” of platforms where you can rub virtual shoulders with and fund a 2nd yacht for Rihanna's lawyers, because as artists we are often desperate for metrics to try and survive – fiscal splitting, holding, administering is a big ask and liability and consensus on standard methodology will always be a minefield

There have already been buckets of failed cooperative music sites some with pretty strong initial momentum or funding. Once money gets involved in terms of collecting on behalf, distributing, and esp if trying to be global, that is just a tonne of liability and hassle. So there is immediate issues of scale in nearly every commercial proposal.

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.

This does not exist yet, and is also not an endorsement, but given the rather clear indications of what the project is not going to be and the historical context of the instigators @ajroach@retro.social and @djsundog this is a pretty good barometer of how we'd like to see projects sound.

We fully understand if you have not the spoons or time to infinitely survey the landscape or contribute to x number of alt, new, emerging platforms to see what sticks.

If you need some help or want to help with a simpler non storefront based independent stop gap or maybe beyond please read on. While you will need to point to it from other socials/sites/platforms it is doable now and without the pitfalls of massive expectations of large silo integration, or extra or more fiscal cuts. If not, cheers for stopping by and please do you best to discover and support independent artists.


In the interim and after well more than just this past month surveying artist options, for our PERSONAL tolerance and state, faircamp static music catalogue site generator is the best we can fathom on balance as a rapid and ethical not bandcamp option for good file downloading, embed and share, easy to advertise, strong at honesty box or code locked model. It is attractive to a number of us who are less concerned with the very real for some artists, unrealised by others, discovery benefits of proximity to commercial, corporate, tracking, metrics based and popular walled gardens.

AGAIN, artists need to do whatever they need to do for survival! The scenario for some of us around RFF, while we also would like to secure food and shelter, is a less shop and metrics focused, agency and empowered approach.

Our hope is to extend that artist ownership narrative, by potentially removing some tech barriers to effectively do some basic self hosting for their music with just a bit of help on the tech side from RFF.

It's just an option. It may be complimentary to other things you are doing. It may be a lifeline to do something at all if you cannot or will not want to deal with server gymnastics to fully self-host and may want to opt-out from the corporates.

____________________________________________

We have already tested the infrastructure required to do this and the storage and naming models and onboarding scenarios. It's a very modest setup and if each participating artist gave literally a couple bones per month, less than even the cheapest VPS or shared hosting to do it yourself, looks positive for both sustaining and scaling.

If you have a smallish catalogue, we are very happy to setup for free, sliding scale, or whatever you can donate to our human. All you need are basically zips (from Bandcamp even) of your wav or flac and some text and links you want to present around your work and maybe some help uploading your work to a staging location. That's all you need for us to deploy this on your behalf. If you have a massive catalogue there will need to be some considerations for setup and hosting as depending on preferred and amount of file formats, time and storage can balloon.

While there is the option to have one big “instance” kind of like a label model, depending on uptake you'd be buried by release date but could effectively filter or share just you via faircamp.radiofreefedi.net/yourname

More realistically, we will deploy individual Faircamp bundles for each artist to that same kind of url, and this will allow for more custom messaging and info around your work. We could help point another domain or subdomain of yours as well.

__________________________________________

So if there is an RFF Faircamp “as a community service”

What is IS: -Simple and clean repository of your music. Nice to wrap in another of your sites or quite tidy standalone

-Full track preview playing

-share your overall home or inidivual release links

-Non-exclusive for rad independent fedi present artists

-A hopefully appreciated and trusted banner of RFF as a fedi community powered non-commercial service

-Effectively self-hosted, some huge platform itself isn't using your stuff weirdly

-Agency, you own the narrative and the presentation

-Easy downloads in multiple formats that can scale as you like and as infra allows. More adoptors/donors = more options going forward.

-Clean links to advertise and promote, obscured and scramble-able links for download files

Options for offering files: -Free just as it says

-Honesty Box At the front of your faircamp page you might say everything is free grab, or donation requested or ask a specific price. You can choose to link or embed donation and payment widgets or link to any chosen platforms, liberapay, ko-fi, stripe, or anything else as a link. OR You can have a soft pay curtain that offers payment or donation request ahead of each download.

-Preview only and codes for download A place to hold, preview, link your catalogue but it is not immediately downloadable with a a code you provide based on whatever means you wish

What it AINT: -Bandcamp -A shop persay, no merch, no shopping cart, no local one click sales, although widgets to other pay and donation gateways work! -A streaming service or app -Rihanna's Lawyers –“Federated” -Exclusive


What next?

If you want to trail blaze a loosely RFF banner'd Faircamp community as a service type thing, just DM the station @radiofreefedi@musician.social . We only need an handful of artists and minutes of their time to provide the material we can then onbaord to make it worth launching. If that does not happen, we are still happy to help advise or comfort from our own experience to those going it alone if you have access to some hosting and storage.

We are a community. If this happens would you want to help with artist onboard advising, helping gather materials for artists, want to sponsor some slots for artists in tough situations to come onboard? Also DM the station.

We'll see what comes in and follow up post if it's a go or things are just a bit too tepid.

Regardless,

We are here for you if you need to talk out how you are navigating fedi issues and visibility: https://blog.radiofreefedi.net/despite-the-recent-timelines-there-is-fedi-love-and-it-is-you

We are here for you if you are struggling with platform fatigue and need a empathetic yet critical ears to talk out your strategy for digital media: https://blog.radiofreefedi.net/urging-calm-and-support-for-the-artists-we-love-in-the-face-of-the-latest

And to be a broken record:

At this latest concerning nexus it is important to do our very best to support independent artists in the ways they encourage if we can be at all amiable.

Kia kaha

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

#radioFreeFedi

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

** IF YOU ARE FEELING AT ALL OVERWHELMED, NEED HELP NAVIGATING HOW TO FEDI GET THROUGH THIS, OR NEED TO TALK ABOUT HOW YOU MIGHT GO FORWARD WITH SHARING YOUR CREATIVE OUTPUT PLEASE DM @radiofreefedi@musician.social AND WE WILL DO OUR VERY BEST TO HELP, CONNECT TO HELP, ADVISE OR JUST BE A KINDRED SHOULDER TO LEAN ON! **

Last year our human artist in residence urged everyone to hold fire on kneejerk account deletions or boycotting Bandcamp for the sake of the artists. We encouraged all to spare a thought for the extreme scenario independent artists who may have been trying desperately to avoid padding the pockets of google, amazon, apple, spotify etc and provide relatively good transparent and ethical format, licensing and ownership options.

Bandcamp was and has remained the last least worst option for artists to be: 1. less ripped off on percentages 2. relative easy usage for artist and listener 3. pretty darn decent options for file formats, and respecting agency and licensing wishes 4. relatively widely accepted and adopted platform for some level of discovery, reach and trust

Is it a privacy panacea, no, is it better for many than having to run, manage, build or cost your own platform or infinitely seek, test and jump other platforms, yes.

Epic/Tencent as an absentee owner was a weird and scary transaction and should ideally never have happened but aside from workers needing to organise, and the workers absolutely supporting the artists throughout that process, it was happily a rather uneventful 18 months at least in terms of not ruining much for artists.

The new owner is a marketing first entity specialising in licensing deals and rights management. On precautionary principle there is a much higher probability of litigious power imbalances, artist exploitation and abuse from angles that simply have never been existent in Bandcamp to date. Further, they have an AI portfolio. You may be fine with all of that and none of it may be bad. But it hits different to the absentee owner who was at least semi-creative adjacent and did not meddle in a decent artist-centric model at scale. And if you were super interested in commercial licensing deals you would have been on other platforms like it already.

It feels appropriate for users and artists to backup their libraries and be agile for portability which is a good idea even not during a centralised platform buyout.

IF terms, pricing, power imbalance moves one iota under new ownership it will be fair to call that out. It will be fair to stand against it. But all the while please have the health and safety of the artists caught in the crossfire at heart.

It is an exhausting exercise for musicians to have to constantly ponder how they can achieve reach or support, even more so if including any ethical matrix for artist and supporter agency. Reach and material support is so important for many independent artists.

Please also consider that many artists may not or cannot possibly understand all the implications you might see or be able to act/react to every centralised corporate transgression as they try to survive out there.

We should also understand it is fair for end users to be concerned on the possible loss or fragmentation of their collection and discovery, or diminishing of their positive impact on artists and how they might coordinate following, supporting, and listening in varying degrees via new to them methods.

There is no greener pasture. We can appreciate there would be nowhere near an equal amount of support going to 5 million discrete artist shops as there is in one Bandcamp.

Most of the hyper open federated/distributed models are clunky and not ready to provide support, reach, agency, ease of use without a lot of work. Larger coop models have come and gone and those that exist are still poor experiences and/or very niche some even after years of building. The point here is jumping to something else or shouting to build something else can be a trap. This isn't being negative, it is just emphasising to approach these regular hurdles through the lens of not leaving artists in the lurch during platform lag and to consider that the more artists are fretting or hustling to manage platforms is time they are NOT making music.

At this latest concerning nexus it is important to do our very best to support independent artists in the ways they encourage if we can be at all amiable.

This hopefully allows them to focus on primarily creating and secondarily platform negotiations. This might be via corporate platforms, this might continue to be Bandcamp, this might be donation or subscription models via donation or direct payment gateways, it might be on free sources or archives, it might be on an artists' own setup or any combination of these. Please do what “works” for you, please strive for what might work better but hopefully not at the burn out expense of our collective ability to create, listen and support. Yes there are MANY “options” out there but please be mindful not to shout them at artists not asking. Do please help each other out with options and support if engaged.

We will be here trying our best to support fedi artists while continuing to in an agnostic manner list the support link they advise.

** IF YOU ARE FEELING AT ALL OVERWHELMED, NEED HELP NAVIGATING HOW TO FEDI GET THROUGH THIS, OR NEED TO TALK ABOUT HOW YOU MIGHT GO FORWARD WITH SHARING YOUR CREATIVE OUTPUT PLEASE DM @radiofreefedi@musician.social AND WE WILL DO OUR VERY BEST TO HELP, CONNECT TO HELP, ADVISE OR JUST BE A KINDRED SHOULDER TO LEAN ON! **

Take care of each other out there!

Kia kaha!

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

#radioFreeFedi #bandcamp

Our goal at RFF is to help uplift independent artists and the wider listening community.

We are so sorry to hear when any of our independent and marginalised fedi artist friends are demoralised, exhausted, disconnected, or worse cutoff from the engagement and visibility needed for your collaboration, voice or means to eat. We fully understand when a tool that was hopeful as a better means to share our voice and work can derail the very desire or means to create said voice and work.

Please hang in there and reach out privately if you need to vent or help trying to navigate how to stay fedi positive and fedi connected because we are all struggling.

We don't have the answer to fedi peace or how marginalised and independent artists will sustain durable connections or even just some lunch amidst the current amplified fedi tensions.

We do continue to LOVE LOVE LOVE the connections that have been made, the collaborations spawned, the non-competitive comradery, the positive emotional and material support that is moving in all directions! And interestingly, we are swimming in submissions almost in spite of the extra negativity currently out there, so again huge credit to you the community for sharing strength and positive energies for those of us that really need a boost.

We can't promise the future of the fedi but YOU ALL, the community that has rallied to make RFF a thing are without question a shining beacon of what federation can foster. And we will do our best to keep RFF as a positive voice advocating for and amplifying the amazing, creative, diverse, empathetic, collaborative and loving path so many of you are walking.

So we took a few hours at the proverbial drawing board sketching if there is anything we can do towards more durable or alternative connections.

We took the RFF artist public fedi account list, filtered out duplicates, downed or disappeared accounts and those on platforms that do not support the format to arrive at a basic urls (newsboat fam) and opml file. We imported, cached and tested in multiple readers and at point of publication there were no blank entries (always subject to fedi server availabilty and state). We will update this along with the website list and masto follow file at each station adds post time.

If you were not aware, many fedi servers can put out rss of public only posts per user account. See this piece from Fedi.Tips. We don't endorse a specific best of list for rss readers/aggregators, if this is new to you you will have to check your OS/platform options you might be comfy with. They can be browser based, local, desktop, or mobile app (F-droid options exist).

an RFF artist RSS: urls | opml

May be there are multiple use cases:

  • You need to step away from the wider fedi timelines presentation and context for a bit for any valid reason to you.

  • You really love RSS readers and having an RFF contributing artists category would be awesome.

  • You or another friend, collaborator, artist you support have become disconnected due to the nature of federation and it's management.

  • Other?

OK team, stay awesome out there. Keep making tunes. Keep sending in music, Station IDs, and propose any other content you want to share. Keep celebrating each others' existence and amazing work.

Together we have made such meaningful impact so do try to hold that close to heart when the timelines get you down.

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

#radioFreeFedi

( please do not follow this account, this is for long form reading, expanded masto posts, specialty pages/posts and archive reference. Please follow and interact with us at @radiofreefedi@musician.social where we announce and link the material here)

The state of the station is exhausted. Just as we were assembling plans to dig out of our personal gear dilemma, the server our main account resides on was wiped out of existence by a hosting provider. We won't go over that again but if you need a debrief check out a anotomy of a dissapearance. We gained many new friends while you all helped post that we were back online around this incident which is awesome, but sadly with federation it is very hard to know how or why hundreds have not reconnected. #StateOfTheStation

OK onward!

Reminder the new Specialty channel is playing themed blocks with heaps more tracks you won't hear on the other channels expanding depth, length and diversity. Schedule yourself some strategic drop-ins.

RFF Calls to Action

  1. Keep listening, finding new artists to support materially and with kind words and be awesome.

  2. Don't be shy to tag #radioFreeFedi

  3. Many of you have and cheers for that, but could you try to reach out to any friends who might be a fedi musician about submitting material? There are many corners of the verse still to reach.

  4. Musicians have you thought about submitting and never have? how to submit

  5. Writers do you have poems, microfiction, short stories you'd like to read or have read by our announcer team? Fedizens would you like submit a fun station ID in your style/language/fedi persona? DM @radiofreefedi@musician.social

  6. Is there anyone out there that would like to assemble (resize, slideshow, merge, credit) visual material being submitted into backing video for the video/chat simulcast and/or help us collating material for full video programming? DM @radiofreefedi@musician.social

  7. RFF artists we have tools and initiatives for a number of new programming and event options and need to be able to gauge interest and feedback ahead of public posting. Can you please DM your matrix ID so we can invite you? ^1

  8. Do you have any contacts, means, ideas for reviews/interviews/posts from publications, podcasts, accounts, allies, anything that might like to amplify our community message and ethos of celebrating agency and consent and supporting independent fedi artists? Our head is always so far down in the operations of the station and the artist side of community management there is seldom spoons or oxygen for identifying other types of outreach.

  9. Artists, as above regarding head down making the sausage, it is very hard to traverse the verse and see all of your release schedules and plans. We stopped trying to do regular posts highlighting RFF artists releases, singles, albums, collabs, remixes whatever even if you hadn't submitted it for play. If you could please build in to your release plans notifying RFF that'd be wicked. Many of you have been doing advance preview on RFF which is amazing, but even if timed closer to release, please do keep submitting new works. We may have seen it coming but most weeks do not have the capacity to message out requesting.

We were admittedly trying to do a few too many things and many weeks RFF is a full-time job or two. Back to back and adjoining gear and fedi account disasters did not help.

The music will go on but we need to offload or share some tasks to keep improving the reach and impact the community can have for supporting fedi artists.

Keep fedi weird.

Support fedi artists!

Noho ora mai

Notes: ^1 The account loss incident made us think again about the absolute need for side channel for behind the scenes help and discussion on station initiatives, direction, and content planning as well as incidents like server burps, outages, or other useful things like artist mutual aid. This will hopefully to incorporate some new energy, help out the sole volunteer with feedback, and keep this discussion less public since it may involve projects, content, programming that may or may not eventuate based on the response of the contributor community. During onboarding we never asked for or required an email, and RFF was an absolute seat of the pants real-time have a go and see what happens experiment, so now we are faced with 280 artists, announcers, patrons, advisors and masto DMs just ain't the go to quietly reach this group. We tested multiple fedi group tools and they were neither private nor durable. A few weeks back we posted this when we deleted the group we did test rollout to the community, asked for emails as another option and received 2 of 240 artists. We can build in asking for email or matrix ID during onboarding new artists going forward but here we are for now. We have to have something so after much consideration as with everything, on balance we have a matrix room. The use case does not demand hyper privacy or self hosting as we are only talking about syncing promo for releases, new content initiatives, special events planning, and just needs to be outside of public posts. Artists if you can DM a matrix ID if you got one, that'd massive.

a community perspective on losing a federated conduit

( please do not follow this account, this is for long form reading, expanded masto posts, specialty pages/posts and archive reference. Please follow and interact with us at @radiofreefedi@musician.social where we announce and link the material here)

Some time overnight RFF HQ time, whilst we were having a rest, multiple instances including musician.social where the RFF main interactive account lives quite literally disappeared.

The basic synopsis is some very bad update flagging processes on a hosting provider did some wild overwriting completely blanking the instance.

Ok, that's not irreparable. No it shouldn't be but then something else went wrong with supposed tested backups through we think another provider making them apparently borked for some time having falsely reported on manual checks that they were regular and in good health. So yeah, wombo combo, literal wipe with no rollback state. yikes.

Upon being greeted with server downs this morning and then realising the instance was redeployed with the same name but on a new server/host/id and reading that yes all data was gone (didn't exist), the panic set in that the community conduit that has rallied to lift up each other was “razed to the ground” in a few CPU cycles.

Is the fedi account RFF? no. Were any other services that RFF are in control of affected? no. The music kept playing, we just lost the primary means to communicate with each other.

RFF is all of us and let us just say how in this crazy panic time how nice it was to reach out via alternate channels to some amazing and trusted sounding boards to figure out our options, and to see many of the RFF community help to get the word out as to what happened, how it was beyond our control and how so many were ready to help, organise and communicate as needed. Awesome!

So we scrambled to whiteboard:

-If our original instance had come back in a new install/location with the same name, what would be the ramifications getting back on the same name for existing relationship at all, asap, or after time if any relationships degrade based on other's federation rules?

-Where could we go to start fresh with reasonable and safe fediquette server federation that would still maximise our ability to see and support artists as far and wide as possible balanced with also not resource pummeling a small resource or hobby instance.

-How feasible to push for even more community support to standup a single user RFF instance with the irony that we could not reach the community. We were ready to burn some of the community infra fund if needed to act quick on this.

-And who was lined up to help with any of these options.

We are so thankful that we had friends ready to hear this frantic white boarding and help us with any and all of these options to make sure RFF didn't go away and/or came back stronger.

Was this demoralising, heck yes, was it also affirming of the kick ass folk that support this community, ALSO HECK YES. Did your hamster in a wheel need the stress while still working in alternative manners to get station stuff done after our local lappy failure, heck no.

Where we are at: Since the original instance name was brought back on a new host so quickly (credit to the admin), we decided on balance to risk any paradoxes, collisions or federated weirdness of putting our same account name on the new version of the instance and see if any followers restored.

There are still some server settling in, federation, images, etc issues to calm.

All old posts are gone! Whereas you can still see them to some level as posts stored out on federated servers, they are now dead links if you try to browse to original.

We have plenty of our own backups locally and out here on the blog to recreate important pinned posts and things going forward. Just be advised all older posts are effectively gone as federated copies degrade.

We will have lost any music submission DMs from the past 4 or so days that had not been finalised into a station update so please re-send if that was you.

We have lost a few follows from the past week or two. We have used the RFF follow file to get back many but that also may need some time and/or manual sleuthing to get back to where it was.

We sadly also lost any DMs from perspective visual artists from the recent post asking for contributors for backing imagery for the video channel so we will resend that when things settle.

We have been testing and workshopping how to be able to side channel communicate with the RFF contributor community and this incident has galvanised that need, not just for discussing new content and station initiatives but also mobilising for other things like today's event in a less public than fedi posts and more tidy than lost in hundreds of DMs.

A surprising ~80% of station friends have popped up again as followers as federation reconnected with the new server.

However, we are still missing at the time of posting about 600 friends from previous followers. No idea how many are lost in queues, need more time, or may never automatically line back up. Just us posting going forward and you all interacting should help get more of these accounts aligned.

**So we could use your help getting the word out that folk may need to un and/or re follow @radiofreefedi@musician.social **

Sorry for the disappearance especially after we'd recently been struggling to keep up with station initiatives and updates due to personal gear and life troubles.

Let's get back to the music and as always how to listen, contribute, help is at: https://radiofreefedi.net

With your continued support we hope to keep showing how kick ass it is to support fedi artists!

Keep lifting each other up and stay awesome out there friends.

Kia ora rawa atu

Kia kaha

#radioFreeFedi

or I was washing the dog 17 minutes ago and missed an awesome song's information


** Update January 2024 ** We've deployed a new and testing now playing account, @rff@nowplaying.radiofreefedi.net to our own server for a number of reasons. It's in our sphere of influnce, it's not Mastodon Inc TM PP esq, it's discrete single user server so mute/blocks might less overly affect us or others. Most importantly, we can make all posts public meaning if you do follow or List mode the account, hashtags will be searchable unlike our current throttled account on botsin.space. We will leave that one working in parallel until we are confident the new setup is durable.

#RFFplays is tagged on all three channels' output. #RFFmain , #RFFcomfy and #RFFspecialty are tagged only on their corresponding channels' posts.

The probable use case is follow, mute, unmute when you want to hashtag search or temporarily get a chain of awesome artists to check out.

Or just reference the public feed as needed without following.

Or you might pin a “List” with this account to your web interface and “Hide posts from home” timeline option ticked. Hashtags will be searchable in this mode but posts will not blow up your home timeline!

Yes it would be convenient for those doing the follow, temporarily unmute or the List method to have the fedi accounts in a hot @ format. This is an intentional omission to not force muting or annoyance upon the artists, and imporatantly because we also use that field as a valid and helpful link to the artists in muliple places that need a proper url not a fedi @ handle.


Of course there is always recently played artist information and links for each channel on the main website radio free fedi

We show linked now playing on all three channels on our community video channel so it's available no matter what channel is simulcasting or having a chat hangout.

And we keep about 1.5 days worth of tracks as csv txt files, also with artist support and fedi links for each of the three channels. You might find this handy as well for contextual finding something you missed, or just as another tool for discovery. These are also linked on the main site under each channel:

main channel np txt | comfy channel np txt | specialty channel np txt

If you have a need or idea to help the community for ingesting some now playing or recent played data that does not break our ethos or artist and listener consent and agency, we are happy to try and help.

Keep fedi weird.

Lift each other up.

Support fedi artists!

#radioFreeFedi

Noho ora mai

This is the current block times and vibes for the rotating theme specialty channel of #radioFreeFedi

UPDATED 17 JULY 2024. We will keep this updated as things shift or are added.

EXPERIMENTS IN RFF – 0000, 1000, 1700 UTC experimental, avant, counterpoint, drone, noise, sampling, collage, sculpture, avant spoken, power electronics, generally weird, might well contain conflicting sounds or harsh frequencies side

RFF IN THE ATMOSPHERE – 0100, 1100, 1800 UTC ambient, soundscape, atmospheric, epic, orchestral, soundtrack, space, more floating or rhythmic than beat orientated

RFF SINGS – 0200,1200, 1900 UTC not an instrumental in sight, from the diverse voices of RFF with eclectic sonic underpinnings. Pull up a chair it's story time. Vocals, singer songwriter, storytelling, piano, folk, electronica, eclectic whimsy, all voice focused.

RFF CHIPS N DIPS – 0300, 1300 casio jams, chiptunes, 8bit, 16bit, all the bits, bleeps and boops, chirpy synths, gaming sound, anime sound, vocaloid sound

RFF IS GONNA ROCK YOU – 0400, 1400, 2100 UTC yo dawg we heard you guitar the guitars!, all uptempo rock, metal, industrial rock, punk, power pop, a bit heavier fair with a plethora of riffs

RFF SYNTHETIC – 0500, 0800, 2200 UTC synthpop, synthwave, cyberwave, vapourwave, new wave, new new wave, such synth very wave

NHAM MONTHLY MIXTAPE RFF EXCLUSIVE – 0600, 2000 UTC RFF exclusive monthly announced and curated show featuring fedi and independent artists from outside the walled gardens. The NHAM Mixtape series by Sam @ethicalrevolution@climatejustice.social

RFF NEW MUSIC BOAT – 0700, 1600 UTC AHOY! Get onboard for a block highlighting some of the newest releases featured on RFF. Only the newest releaes. Wildly diverse and eclectic, mostly following the vibe of the main channel so as not to completely rip the paint off the wall. Although you will encounter all possible genres in the generally friendly RFF waters of the NEW MUSIC BOAT.

CLUB RFF – 0900, 1600, 2300 UTC BEATS, techno, dnb, EDM, EBM, house, industrial dance, electro, hip-hop

how to listen: https://radiofreefedi.net

see also the Specialty channel lore and origin

a wild new channel appears

( please do not follow this account, this is for long form reading, expanded masto posts, specialty pages/posts and archive reference. Please follow and interact with us at @radiofreefedi@musician.social where we announce and link the material here)

The RFF Specialty channel expands our mission to promote and discover independent artists by offering a slightly more genre or thematic option for “scheduled” listening for the RFF community.

There will be hour long blocks of loosely related “genres”. These themes are rotated throughout the day to give multiple chances to catch something you are keen for and each time a block plays it is 100% randomly populated from affiliated tracks. We envisage more themes could be added such as long form spoken word or readings. For now we have leveraged the best we can, what the community has offered.

These themes are meant to absolutely include overlapping works from the main and Comfy channel, but also showcase MORE works from outside that set, and more diverse and more specific as well as longer formats!

Our hope is that this provides a part-time light version of a more targeted or focused discovery to alternatively drop in and discover but not quite be a set and forget full-time of any genre.

As mentioned in multiple State of the Station reports, RFF will never be 10 specific genre channels as end points for consumption. We will also will never be hyper algorithm'd or on demand playlists. As a volunteer community service we can neither afford that model nor want to pull focus from the discovery emphasis for our community of independent artists. We will always be an absolutely community driven, non-commercial, free form, stream only delivery that celebrates consent and agency of artists and listeners.

The Specialty channel has been a monstrously big undertaking and will be the absolute most curation we can undertake as a volunteer community service.

RFF encourages you to drop in, discover and LEAVE to go interact with artists and support them on their platforms! We want you to step out of your wheelhouse a bit and embrace new to you art. However, we hope having a way to be even more inclusive and promote even more material with this slightly tighter scoped option will be an awesome extension of the RFF community.

The programming block themes rotate at approximately the top of each hour (2-3 min window explained at bottom of this post) and are indicative of what the community of artists has offered to date:

EXPERIMENTS IN RFF – 0000, 1000, 1700 UTC experimental, avant, counterpoint, drone, noise, sampling, collage, sculpture, avant spoken, power electronics, generally weird, might well contain conflicting sounds or harsh frequencies side

RFF IN THE ATMOSPHERE – 0100. 0600, 1100, 1800 UTC ambient, soundscape, atmospheric, epic, soundtrack, space, more floating or rhythmic than ultra beat orientated

RFF SINGS – 0200, 0700 ,1200, 1900 UTC not an instrumental in sight, from the diverse voices of RFF with eclectic sonic underpinnings. Pull up a chair it's story time. vocals, singer songwriter, storytelling, piano, folk, electronica, eclectic whimsy, all vocal focused.

RFF CHIPS N DIPS – 0300, 1300, 2000 casio jams, chip tunes, 8bit, 16bit, all the bits, bleeps and boops, chirpy synths, gaming sounds, anime sound, vocaloid sound

RFF IS GONNA ROCK YOU – 0400, 1400, 2100 UTC yo dawg we heard you guitar the guitars!, all uptempo rock, metal, industrial rock, punk, power pop, chunky riffs and wah wahs

RFF SYNTHETIC – 0500, 0800, 1500, 2200 UTC synthpop, synthwave, cyberwave, vapourwave, new wave, new new wave, such synth very wave

CLUB RFF – 0900, 1600, 2300 UTC BEATS, techno, dnb, EDM, EBM, house, industrial dance, electro, hip-hop

These blocks will give you a rotating scheduled option to tune in for a more specific sound if that is your jam. This gives a bit more leeway to include more tracks from the community of artists on Main/Comfy and since people will tune in knowing what the block's vibe is and have choice, it provides a better venue for wilder sounds and longer run times.

Everything about submissions for the specialty channel is just as the others, we still will try to introduce artists to the station via the Main/Comfy channels if possible, still manually screen and process for relative sound attributes, data accuracy and the trust and ethos RFF hopes to uphold to avoid harm and untoward actors.

The main and comfy channel will always remain the same weird and wonderful drop in and discover community/college radio vibe. The new specialty channel gives us a place for future special programming from the community to be determined that will not break the core function and vibes of the Main and Comfy feeds! This could easily simulcast to our video channel for interactive chat etc. Special fedi artist related programming from the community, release parties, performances, Q+A's, roundtables, tutorials, interviews, long form spoken word, performances...

What do you want to bring to your 24/7 #fedi #community #radio ?

Thank you all for your support and aroha to the station and to each other!

No matter if you are an artist contributing music, a fedizen contributing station reads, a listener supporting artists materially or with a kind word, or any of the amazing multi-directional collaboration, promotion and support we have had the joy to witness between all of the above, radio free fedi is YOUR community station.

If you aren't already listening right now, go and listen and discover!

Keep fedi weird!

Support fedi artists!

https://radiofreefedi.net

RFF Specialty Extended Remix Behind the Sausage errr Music:

Another huge thank you to the community patrons that have made it possible to keep extending RFF's ability to experiment and expand ways to maximise promotion and discovery for the amazing pool of fedi talent sometimes hiding in plain sight. There is no way we could have funded the infrastructure to sustain this project much less expand the service to the community without you.

And to everyone who has had patience with our physical inability to laser focus on every communication or request and to anyone who has offered words of support for our volunteer running in the hamster wheel of this effectively full-time job, THANK YOU.

Some new channel specific thoughts and pardon our dust issues.

We have endeavoured to massage the station management system to as close as possible rotate themes in hourly blocks. We are balancing trying not to have tracks extend too far into the next hour when you are expecting a different theme while also not cutting off tracks just because the top of the hour hits.

Therefore you may find a theme may end/start within 2-3 minutes either side of the top of the hour. We have hacked as hard as we can and this seems the best balance to get this channel launched and not dis an artist by cutting away or harshing a theme too much by hearing a thing you didn't tune in for.

In it's early days we may have gotten a few tracks not quite right for vibe and we will do our best to tidy up as these are heard, bearing in mind we have been working through ~1000 tracks that were baseline in the system for Main and Comfy as well as >2000 submitted to date tracks overall to select more to go into the specialty channel playlists. The difference is not because of omission , but rather because of manually selecting indicative tracks rather than blindly dumping whole album submissions into an autoplay.

The Main and Comfy channels are and will always be the core of the station! There is nothing wrong with them and despite the occasional variably motivated protestor, we respect the overwhelming appreciation of the model. In mapping themes for the specialty channel we hope we have carefully considered what can be helpful as an extension to the service while keeping the importance of Main and Comfy at the fore. That is why the specialty themes are mostly quite pronounced, meaning if it's a bit more jangly rock, light alt rock, trip hop, chill, downtempo, pop tinged, etc it can be primarily showcased on Main and Comfy and/or there is just not the depth of submissions to sustain a theme block yet.

Here are some use cases that we reckon have served the community well to date and will still apply to having a loose run time cap for the Main and Comfy channels:

  • you have limited time to tune in, we want to avoid you only hearing two artists in a half hour session, and maximise discovery for the contributing artists

  • for our many neurodiverse friends we want to avoid overwhelming and make it easier to stick around or know they can drop back in shortly if something is uncomfortable but hopefully not uncomfortably long

  • and for general comfort of ALL who are hopefully more inclined to stick around even if a single track is not their cup of tea, because they can rest assured something different is coming in a few minutes. This not only helps with listener expectations and willingness to discover but helps us present more artists toward our mission of being a fun promotion and discovery layer to generate love and support for independent fedi artists!

We love independent artists AND each other so we work hard to find community supporting balance in every facet of our operating ethos. Huge gratitude to the artists that have not so much come along for the ride but rather gathered in such awesome solidarity showing there is so much support and respect out there and that art isn't a competition.

While we do things a little slower, organically and a little outside the box, it is always with the hope of doing right by the beautiful community that has formed around this project with the core of helping promote independent fedi artists and acting as a transient layer to spark communication and support directly to artists.

Going forward we hope to always maintain the community trust and love we are trying to amplify regardless of external pressures because as a community we owe no one a platform, but we do endeavour to show everyone the most empathy and support we can muster.

Keep lifting each other up and stay awesome out there friend.

Heoi anō tāku mō nāianei Kia ora rawa atu

#radioFreeFedi