Brazilian Technobrega Musicians Embracing Free Distribution Even More

from the good-to-see dept

Three years ago, we wrote about the phenomenon in Brazil of "technobrega" music, and how the musicians involved had embraced piracy to help spread their music, and then capitalize on other business models, including free. Since then, I had been wondering if more established "industry" types would move in and try to lock down the music. Thankfully, reader tuna sends over a more recent article about technobrega, and it appears that technbrega artists are embracing free to an even greater extent than before. Last time we wrote about it, the technobrega artists would rush copies of their (hastily burned) CDs down to street vendors, who would burn and sell copies of it (with none of the money going to the artist -- but they didn't care, because they wanted more people to hear). Now, they're even skipping that middleman and focusing on getting the music online quickly and spread as widely as possible. As Jose Roberto, who runs a technobrega website notes:
"If you don't have an official CD, then what is piracy?"
So why are the artists so eager to give away their content for free? Because the bigger your reputation, and the more people know who you are and like your songs, the more money you can make with live shows. Quite similar to the history of Jamaican music in the 1950s and 60s, the technobrega musicians and DJs have built up traveling soundsystems. Another way to make money is in dance classes. Apparently, learning the complicated dance steps is a big business. A researcher, Ronaldo Lemos, who has studied the technobrega business, notes that it's doing amazingly well by embracing technology and embracing file sharing:
"The crisis in the music industry is widely talked about... Tecno-brega is an industry that makes millions, but it is a completely different model of business. It doesn't see technology as an enemy but as an opportunity."
And yet, I'm sure, we'll soon hear from folks trying to explain why this could never work anywhere else.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Mike is right...

    I have a six foot patch out near my entrance drive (behind the three big ferns) where I -know- this can NEVER WORK.

    But that's probably due to very RIAA-ish* garden gnome loitering there.

    *(You would think that finding a garden gnome posed with a fist full of cash and his boot on the neck of an artist would be hard to find, but no, not at all.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Mike is right...

    I demand pictures!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Mike is right...

    I found the artist, the RIAA gnome seems to have stepped away for a moment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Mike is right...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    Aside from the big artists like Banda AR15 and Gabi Amarantos, there are sound systems β€” groups of DJs β€” with names like Superpop and Mega Principe (Mega Prince) who play to crowds of thousands. They travel in convoys of trucks with their own speaker stacks and laser light shows. β€œIn the sound systems, you see a lot of technology,” said Roberto.

    Now how the eff those people make that kind of money with that dreadful sound they call music? and more important why the eff are capable of making money in a third world country and people can't make it on rich countries? Are Brazilians artists smarter than Americans?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Thomas (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 5:54pm


    "Are Brazilians artists smarter than Americans?"

    Possibly, but what they aren't is lazy. They know making a living making music means making music. They don't just sit around hoping to get rich from a big recording contract.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 8:33pm


    Jonathan Coulton says no. I say nay as well. Or rather, I say Brazilian musicians are neither smarter nor stupider than American ones.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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