radio free fedi blog


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

(This blog is federated but NOT interactive. Kindly please follow 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


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 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

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.

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


“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


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)


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.

How can you help?


  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 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.


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

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 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