radio free fedi blog


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

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


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 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

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 . 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.


We are here for you if you need to talk out how you are navigating fedi issues and visibility:

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:

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


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


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.


Take care of each other out there!

Kia kaha!

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

#radioFreeFedi #bandcamp