radio free fedi blog

radiofreefedi

RFF 2024 “Staff” and Focus Fund

UPDATE FEB 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spread the word.

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

Kia kaha

-the hamster

END UPDATE FEB 2024


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

our ko-fi | our liberapay | our open collective

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

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

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

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

Right Now:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of Note

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

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

Why not get a grant?

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

Moving on and work to continue!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrap it up

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

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

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


extended remiX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM THE FEDIVERSE TO THE UNIVERSE, RADIO FREE FEDI


New business:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Matters arising:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

it's Threads+Mastodon

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

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

end of gloom. back to our regular programming

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

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


Let's step through the RFF journey

A bit of origin lore January 2023:

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

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

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

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


RFF Comfy – March

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


??

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


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

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


RFF Specialty – July

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

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

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

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


August – Here be dragons!

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

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


Video Channel – August

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

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


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


RFF Faircamp Hosting – September/October

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

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

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

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


Threads and Mastodon pooping in our picnic basket – December 2023

yeah nuff said.

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


I LOVE A PARADE – 01 January 2024

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

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

Our post NYD24Parade event debrief


Lolz

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

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

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


Continuity

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

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

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


Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What are you actually doing over there:

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

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

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

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


Regerts! we have one:

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

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

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

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

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


How can you help?

  1. LISTEN TO RFF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  13. LISTEN TO RFF

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


are we there yet?

Don't make me turn this car around.

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

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

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

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

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

Kia kaha

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui

-the hamster sprinting in the wheel powering the transmitter

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