Look Mom, No Algorithm!

(A guest post this week from Paul Hendriks of Moonshine Brigade. If you’d like to submit a story of your own for consideration, just reply to this email. Mary x)

With our upcoming debut, I wanted to give our website a makeover in the style of the album’s artwork. As I was contemplating on where to put the icons to our social media, I thought about an old web comic by the Oatmeal, which is as true today as it was in 2017.

Why should I link (promote) any platform run by Meta, if it will effectively mean that I’ll have to pay to reach that same visitor in the future? In fact, why steer a visitor away from my website, if all the content I’d like to show is right there?

This train of thought let me to the open-source platform: Mastodon. Think of it as a Twitter alternative that’s not run by a space traveling car salesmen. It uses the open-source protocol ActivityPub. This protocol allows other apps to interact with each other. Think of it, as if your YouTube post would automatically appear on Facebook and vice versa. These apps (servers) combined form a network called the Fediverse.

The biggest difference: no algorithm.

That’s right, you don’t have to pay for advertisement to make your content known among your audience. With #hashtags your posts will be shown to people who aren’t following you (yet), giving it quite a reach.

On March 1st it was #bandcampfriday. Our account was two weeks fresh and had seventeen followers when I wrote the post with our Bandcamp link. And what do you know… we made two sales, earning six bucks! That may not be a lot of money, but I really appreciate it and it confirms that for our band this is the way to go. In marketing terms, this is a very high conversion rate and unthinkable on any Meta-owned platform. Of course it isn’t linear, I don’t expect to earn twelve bucks next month when we have thirty-four followers. In fact, I don’t expect to earn anything at all, because I intend to share the link of another band that we like, keeping it social.

There’s an open-source alternative to each closed platform: Mastodon for Twitter, PeerTube for YouTube, PixelFed for Instagram, Lemmy for Reddit, and the list goes on.

Meta’s Threads will also be connected in the near future. It’s quite possible that their users will also see the content that’s being shared on Mastodon. However, that’s up to Meta, they make the rules on their server.

With Songtradr buying Bandcamp and laying off 49% of its staff, that’s not a very trustworthy platform to sell your music and merch on anymore. Mirlo might become a nice alternative for that. It’s still in progress and showing potential. They will integrate the ActivityPub protocol, connecting music to the ever growing Fediverse.

Want to read more about the Fediverse? If you have any questions, I’m more then happy answer them. Let’s connect, the Fediverse can use some more music!

Paul Hendriks

(Independent Artist of the Week: Moonshine Brigade’s track, Voodoo Lady. Thanks to Paul for writing this guest post. The band’s debut album will be released in June.)

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