The music industry, along with the world of media as a whole, is in a state of transition. What is being sold is not so clear anymore, nor is it obvious what parts of the traditional business will survive. Audiences play a crucial role in these shifts; they’ve become empowered and increased their participation within media industries.
Working towards the premise that audiences can add value to media businesses beyond the act of consumption, this thesis argues that for media industries to benefit from their contributions it is first necessary to locate these audiences as active participants and producers of value.
This thesis studies the dynamics of participatory audiences through the case of Brazil’s Tecnobrega scene (literally ‘cheesy techno’), expanding on a 10‐day ethnographic field trip to the capital of Tecnobrega, Belém. This music industry has circumvented mainstream conventions by forgoing copyright and collaborating with ‘pirates’. Tecnobrega’s audiences not only assist in the circulation of content, but through their socializing and fan production, they create and trade symbolic capital that directly affects the popularity, and consequently the perception of value, of various parts of the industry.
The competencies acquired through these types of participation have the potential to overflow into other domains; they can help shift the conceptualization of the public sphere and can, likewise, become paths for the exploration of cultural citizenship and agency within globalization processes.