Poulet Neige Christmas List: Music for nothing (chicken for free?)

Music for nothing (chicken for free?)

Pierre-Alexandre Poirier Guay: "I'm sure someone will steal our idea soon enough!"
Photo: Sophie Samson

The Poulet Neige Christmas List is your chance to get 140-plus albums for free

How would you like to find your inbox filled with great music on Christmas day? We’re talking albums from artists like Efrim Manuel Menuck, Bloodshot Bill, Jesuslesfilles, Alice and the Intellects, Born Gold, Canailles, Prince Rama, Kathryn Calder, Antoine Corriveau, Émilie Proulx, Organ Mood, Esmerine, L’Indice, Les Patates Impossibles, Man an Ocean, Ariel, Harvee, Sandro Perri, VioleTT Pi, Alaclair Ensemble, The Balconies, Will Driving West, Young Galaxy, The World Provider and many others who you may or may not know, but who are certainly worth giving a listen to – especially in a free and legal manner!

For that, you have to thank Poulet Neige, the Montreal label whose mascot adorns the cover of Hour Community this week. The brainchild of Pierre-Alexandre "PA" Poirier Guay, Poulet Neige was initially home only to his band Lac Estion – currently the best franco indie-rock group in Quebec, in my opinion. Since 2010, the label has also released records by Ralf Wiggum, Erewhon and Lac Estion singer Simon Kingsbury.

"At first, Poulet Neige was just me," says PA. "Then I started collaborating with other people. For a year or so, we’ve been four to work on the label, with a few more helping out sometimes."

Last year’s inaugural Poulet Neige Christmas List offered only 10 albums, mainly from the label’s own acts, but this year, PA decided to ask more artists to join in. Many more! "At first, our objective was to offer 30 albums this year. But when I begin a project, I never go at it half-assed, so I went all out. I figured we’d contact as many people as we could. To find active bands, we looked at all those who’d been featured in Bang Bang or Bande à Part during the past year, and we also got in touch with a large percentage of the bands that played at Pop Montreal."

"Overall, we contacted some 500 bands, and about 140 accepted," PA goes on. "We started with bands close to us, then we moved on to bands we didn’t know at all… One of our criteria was ‘likes’ on Facebook; when we found a band with more than 6,000 likes on Facebook, we figured it was a good catch!"

A bit of money plus hundreds of hours of (unpaid) work went into contacting bands, gathering digital copies of the albums volunteered, setting up a website and promoting the whole shebang. Consequently, PA would like to find a sponsor for next year (his dream choice: "Pabst Blue Ribbon!"). Until then, he’s still happy to witness the fast-growing success of the Poulet Neige Christmas List, the 2011 edition having already logged in nearly 10 times as many orders as last year’s.

"It’s nothing revolutionary; tons of bands give away their music these days… But with the concept of the Christmas List, it attracts more attention," notes PA. "I’m sure someone will steal our idea soon enough!"

Poulet Neige Christmas List
To December 25

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