Not so very long ago, gifts of music – in the form of CDs – were a common sight under the Christmas tree. Giving music was a Holiday Season tradition and helped “complete” related gifts such as the Walkman and the Discman.
In our digital era, music is now streamed, and the tradition of giving music has fallen by the wayside. In an effort to revive this tradition, record label Poulet Neige has launched its Christmas music list on the web.
How does it work? First, Poulet Neige approaches artists from all musical backgrounds (and all record labels) to persuade them to add their album titles to the list. Then music fans are invited to view the list online and choose the albums they’d like to receive for Christmas. Participants have to provide their e-mail address, and on Christmas day they receive a link to download the music they selected – totally free and totally legal!
After years of preparing their Holiday Season list by hand, Poulet Neige received a grant enabling it to professionalize its operation. The subsidy, however, was not renewed the following year. And that is when Folklore, another record label, decided to put its shoulder to the whee
“The initiative had caught our attention because, at the time, it was innovative,” says David Mongeau, co-founder of Folklore. “Back then there was a lot of discussion about whether music online should be free. I’m not even sure if the band Misteur Valaire [now known as Valaire] had begun to ask for voluntary contributions for its albums.”
Urged by Folklore, the project continued to improve, both the visual appeal of the list and the navigation experience on the site. The team scored some successes, including the donations received from online visitors. “We’d already implemented voluntary payment systems for other clients,” states David Mongeau, “and we knew this approach could work. The response was surprising. Honestly, we’d never seen such a reaction. Some people paid more than they would have if they’d had to purchase the album.” The money has gone to paying the production team and ensuring the project’s sustainability in the years ahead.
The main benefit for participating artists (mainly new and rising names) is the increasing exposure they get from this event. “They all receive e-mails from people who downloaded their music,” says David Mongeau. “We strongly encourage visitors to ‘like’ artists’ page and sign up to their mailing list. From what I’ve heard, this helps the bands kick-start their career. It allows them to create a fan base and attract more people to their shows. It keeps the whole thing going!”