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Author strategies: a comparative study on independent music trends in São Paulo and London

Grant number: 13/14047-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): October 16, 2013
Effective date (End): February 15, 2014
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Communications
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Vicente
Grantee:Eduardo Vicente
Host Investigator: Andrew Dubber
Host Institution: Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Birmingham City University, England  


The present proposal is set to identify acting strategies employed by music artists and independent record companies present in London (England). We intend to expand our knowledge on the London independent music scene as to be able to perform a further comparison with the one found in São Paulo (Brazil). Our main goal is then to establish what are the converging and diverging spots regarding the strategies of artists working in London and in São Paulo. We will also look at how such strategies may inform us on the ways the independent music market is shaped on both cities. The present work focuses on the four most relevant trends in the independent music scene in the city of São Paulo - alternative rock, MPB (Brazilian Popular Music), instrumental music and black music (especially "samba rock", reggae and hip hop) - and its British correlates considered to be, in principle, rock, folk, jazz and British black music. The research on São Paulo independent scene has been object of some of our most recent studies, included in the bibliography of the present project and shall be seen in depth in future works, especially considering the project that will gather researchers from the School of Communication and Arts of the University of São Paulo (ECA/USP) and from Birmingham City University (BCU) which is currently being organized by us along with professor Andrew Dubber. The referred research proposal will be presented to Fapesp (São Paulo Research Foundation) based on its Memorandum of Understanding with British Research Councils (RCUK). Professor Dubber will also be responsible for the supervision of my postdoctoral research activities at BCU. Apart from the objective stated above, we understand that the present postdoctoral proposal will also enable a broader relationship with BCU researchers, one of the worldwide most important centers of reference for the study of the music industry. It is also intended to allow a personal update regarding the bibliography produced in the United Kingdom on the subject. Our original hypothesis is that there is in the independent music market in London still a dynamic between big recording companies and independent producers through which new artists debut their work over the internet and then are possibly hired by small recording companies or, in some cases, can even get the largest companies in the field, thus reaching the musical mainstream, having their work spread globally. Such market dynamics follows an "open system" model which is very close to the one we have described on our doctoral thesis in reference to the Brazilian market from the 90's (Vicente, 2002). It represented a better fit in relation to worldwide trends in the music field. In Brazil, on the contrary, my understanding is that (direct or indirect) public financing may struck as the only possibility for many artists in the mentioned musical segments, since Brazilian music market is very restricted to a few massive segments - especially, when considering São Paulo, sertanejo, pagode and funk - leaving little room for the access of such artists to a broader market. In that sense and based on previously developed researches, we understand that independent music in São Paulo owes more to the performance of individual artists and artists collectives than properly to independent recording companies. The circuit of exhibition includes mainly cultural centers, libraries and cultural venues kept by private cultural organizations. The financing for CD recording and show production comes mainly from government notices and by public companies or culture promotion organizations. Thus it is possible that the Brazilian musical market today is farther from the prevailing strategies used in the international musical scenario, withdrawing from a globalization process that, as we have tried to demonstrate in our doctoral thesis, has taken place throughout the entire 90's. (AU)

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