Tecno Brega

Tecno Brega

A music scene called Tecno Brega making use of an alternative business model has emerged in the city of Belem in Brazil. This parallel music industry has been active for years and has achieved great success. Several hundred new Tecno Brega records are produced and released every year by local artists, with both the production and distribution taking place outside of the mainstream music industry. The tecno brega model is simple: the music lies outside the realm of traditional copyright and is used as a method of marketing events. Every weekend the “sound system” parties attract thousands of people to the outskirts of Belem to listen to the Tecno Brega music. The parties are advertised by the distribution of the music itself. The numbers are incomplete, but the Belem scene alone brings in yearly revenues of several million US dollars.

The Tecno Brega music is “born free” in the sense that copyright protection is not a part of the business model developed by its creators. The CDs sold are utilized as marketing material– advertisements for the highly popular weekly “sound system” parties. The Tecno Brega CDs are sold by local street vendors as per arrangements with the local recording studios. At a mere US$1.50, the CDs are highly affordable by the local population, thus providing greater access to the music at a grassroots level.

The goal is not for artists to make money on conventional CD sales. Instead, the price charged works exclusively as an incentive for the local vendors to sell the CDs and in effect market the tecno brega parties. The artists thus make money through innovative business models related to the sound system parties. One such example consists of artists recording their live concert sets at the parties in real time and then selling the recordings at the conclusion of the event. This enables the audience to go home with a souvenir of the concert they have just attended. Another technique utilized by the artists is to acknowledge the presence of various people and neighborhoods in the course of the live presentations. Hearing such acknowledgment is greatly valuable to the audience– naturally people want to hear a “shout out” to them, their friends, or their neighborhood. As a result, thousands of people buy copies of the live CDs to have a permanent memoir of this form of homage.

7 Responses to “Tecno Brega”

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  1. [...] (Link to the article on openbusiness.cc)Thanks to Markus who pointed this out from iSummit. [...]

  2. [...] iCommons has a great synopsis of the panel “Business and the Commons,” which included speakers from across Europe and Brasil and covered a wide spectrum of existing open business models. Music-based businesses Magnatune, Tecno Brega and Jamendo were discussed, as well as video based models like the much celebrated “Elephant’s Dream” project and the bugeoning Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, more general copyright and digital content models like the Copycan project and RegisteredCommons. [...]

  3. [...] Ronaldo provided several examples. Tecno Brega is a strong musical scene from northern Brasil, with artists releasing hundreds of CDs a year. These get sold through a network of street vendors without returning a single penny to the artists, who make money by playing at concerts and parties. (Here’s an article bout Tecno Brega at the OpenBusiness site). Another example coming from Brasil is Baile Funk music (also known as ‘Favela Funk’ or ‘Funk Carioca’) – Ronaldo pointed out the high symbolic impact of this music, which originates in Rio’s favelas and spreads out around the world as artists copy its infectious rhythms. Tati Quebra Barraco, a popular Funk MC, has not sued M.I.A. for including samples of Tati’s songs in their hit song “Bucky Done Gun” without paying a cent of royalties. Appropriation is natural to Baile Funk artists. In Egypt, singers make their music available for free on the internet for “pirating”, while they make big profits by playing at weddings. [...]

  4. [...] Economy of culture is another important open source arena. According to Ronaldo Lemos, one of the important voices in the Brazilian open source movement and Director of the Center of Technology and Society (of the Fundação Getúlio Vargas) in Rio de Janeiro, recently publicized research findings show how the open business model of the TecnoBrega music scene in Belém — state of Pará, North region of the country — allows musicians to successfully sell content and performance directly to their audiences. The original concept translates into a genuine alternative business model for musicians that embraces openness as a fundamental rule and takes advantage of the digital features that boosts the rapid, cheap and effective distribution of cultural goods. While there are still many ready to label the initiative as undercover piracy, bloggers report and comment on how openness is starting to get a foothold in mainstream thinking. [...]

  5. Techno Brega Music Movement…

    A new documentary “Good Copy Bad Copy” showcases a new business model in Brazil’s local music industry, where copyright protection becomes irrelevant….

  6. [...] Flere historier i Good Copy Bad Copy: Tecno brega Lawrence Lessig Piratebay [...]

  7. [...] Ethan, uno dei co-fondatori di Global Voices, chiede: “Dove posso imparare qualcosa sulla musica Technobrega [...]

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