What do you do when you're the bestselling music act in the world? If you're Coldplay, you start giving away albums for free. For the band's summer and autumn tour, Chris Martin has resolved to give every Coldplay concert-goer a free live album. "It's a way of saying thank you," he explained to the Sun earlier this week. "It's a tough economy and people are paying a lot of money for tickets."
It was only a year ago that Coldplay made their first foray into the, er, free world. Starting with gratis downloads of Violet Hill, the band went on to hold free gigs in London and New York. Last week, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry announced that Viva La Vida was the top-selling album of 2008, with 6.8m copies sold worldwide.
A free live album is "obviously a bit tricky in terms of record contracts and things but it would be great", Martin said. The band imagine a scenario where 'you hand your ticket in at the door [and] get given the recording ... as a gift'. "It would be such a cool thing to do," he said.
Coldplay were nervous ahead of Wednesday's Brit awards – where they left empty-handed despite being nominated for four awards. "The Brits [are] fun because it's not in our national character to celebrate our own greatness," Martin said. "That's why people get really hammered and why it's always so scandalous. Because, deep down, we don't feel comfortable with the idea of all that self-congratulation."
Though Coldplay didn't get the chance to do any self-congratulating, they don't need an awards ceremony to keep their egos in check. "You could start getting a big head," Martin said, "[but] then you listen to something like [bruce Springsteen's] Born In the USA. Hearing that makes you think, 'OK, we're still shit.'"
More on the possibility of a free live album at the Coldplay forum here [thanks melanieau]