Free Brazilian Music: Tecno Brega

This was entirely new to me: In Brazil, there’s a wide scene of artists who release and produce completely without any labels or copyright restrictions. The music is as free as it gets, and still there are yearly revenues of several million US dollars – we’re talking grassroots indie production here!

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.

(Link to the article on

Thanks to Markus who pointed this out from iSummit 06 in Rio.