Coldplay is jumping onto the free download bandwagon, for a limited time at least, to promote the first track from its upcoming new album.
Starting Tuesday morning, the hit British band's new song, Violet Hill, will be offered as a free digital download from its official website for one week. The song will be released on a conventional, for-pay basis starting May 6.
British fans can also pick up a vinyl copy of the single for free in the May 7 edition of U.K. music weekly NME.
Violet Hill is the first song off of Coldplay's new 10-track album, Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends, which will hit stores June 12. The album is the band's fourth studio effort, a followup to 2005's smash X&Y.
The Grammy Award-winning band also announced on Monday plans for two free shows in June timed for the new album's release: one at the London Brixton Academy (June 16) and a second at New York's Madison Square Garden (June 23).
Details about the upcoming shows will also be revealed on the band's website.
Over the past few years, several major music acts have moved away from the more traditional sales and release model.
Prince caused an uproar in the U.S. several years ago by announcing he would give away a copy of his new album to each person who bought a ticket to one of his concerts — something he has continued to do for several releases now. He also infuriated U.K. music retailers last year when he permitted copies of his newest album, Planet Earth, to be distributed for free in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, before it was officially released in stores.
In October, British rock icon Radiohead shocked the music industry by debuting its newest album, In Rainbows, as a digital download on its website for whatever price fans chose to pay (including for free) before eventually releasing a physical CD.
Though Radiohead was not the first band to offer a new album digitally with optional pricing, the British group is seen as the highest profile recording act to do so. The move is said to have influenced other musicians, from Nine Inch Nails to Madonna, to sign non-traditional music distribution deals.
More recently, R.E.M. offered a free streaming of its new album on a social networking website ahead of its traditional release date.