Coldplay Download Freebie Proves A Hit

Coldplay's free download offering proved to be no shrinking violet when it went live on the band's Web site today (April 29).

Coldplay's free download offering proved to be no shrinking violet when it went live on the band's Web site today (April 29).

The site slowed to a halt soon after new song "Violet Hill" -- which has a harder, more experimental sound than previous Coldplay releases -- was made available just after midday U.K. time.

After several attempts, Billboard managed to obtain a copy of the track, the first from the upcoming album "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends." The Web site asks for the user's email and postcode details, after which an automatically-generated email is sent to the downloader's inbox.

The email contains a link to the free MP3, which pops-up on the desktop within a zip-file. The URL apparently expires in six hours.

EMI could not be immediately reached for comment.

The track will get a conventional paid-for digital release on May 6, ahead of the album's release June 12.

"Violet Hill" was given its world exclusive first airing on Jo Whiley's BBC
Radio 1 show today, with Coldplay's Chris Martin on hand. During his lunchtime conversation with Whiley, Martin revealed that the band would also play a free concert in Barcelona, Spain, but did not disclose the venue or date of the gig.

As previously reported, the band will support the album with free shows at London's Brixton Academy on June 16 and Madison Square Garden in New York on June 23.