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    Free Download Paid Off For Coldplay - And Here's The Reasons Why

    violethillcover1.jpgForget “pay what you want.” The new model for the music industry may be “pay it forward.”


    Coldplay has become the latest band to discover that giving away your music - even a little bit for a little time - may, in the long run, end up being worth more than the conventional model of only selling it.


    To drum up publicity for its new single, “Violet Hill,” which was released last week, the band decided to give it away for a week on its Web site as a free download. On the first day it was available, the song was downloaded more than 600,000 times, according to Billboard magazine. In 2005, “Speed of Sound,” the lead single from Coldplay’s previous album, “X&Y,” sold about 53,000 copies digitally in the United States and the United Kingdom in its first week of release and that was with a marketing campaign and far more anticipation following the breakthrough of their Grammy-winning smash album, “A Rush of Blood to the Head.”

    Hitwise, the Internet traffic-measuring company, said traffic to the Coldplay Web site jumped 1,800 percent the day of the release over its traffic two days earlier. It moved from No. 305 to No. 1 on the company’s chart of musician Web sites, with more than 2.5 percent of all the U.S. traffic to the sites they monitor. And people didn’t just download “Violet Hill.” They played it. A lot.


    According to the music social network last.fm, “Violet Hill” set a record among its 15 million members, who played the track about 33,000 times the first day, or once every two seconds.


    So let’s recap. Spending a fraction of what it normally would to market a new single from a new album, Coldplay landed tons of positive media attention, let people know they have a new single and a new album - “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends” - coming, got people to listen to the new single and generated lots of goodwill among its fans, while possibly minting new ones.


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