Dirty Pretty Things is the latest rock band to climb aboard the free download bandwagon.

The alternative British rock group, fronted by Libertines co-founder Carl Barat, has posted a new song "Hippy Son" as a free MP3 file via its Web site.

The free download is increasingly being used to gain exposure, and seemingly as a genuine means to mine personal data on the band's fans.

Any user wishing to download "Hippy Son," could do so only after signing up for the band's mailing list, which requires inputting personal information in no less than 10 mandatory sections.

When Billboard tried downloading the track, the service timed out. The MP3 was delivered on a second attempt.

The track is lifted from upcoming album release, "Romance At Short Notice," produced and recorded by Nik Leman and due for release in the U.K. on June 30 through Vertigo Records. A single, "Tired Of England" will land June 23.

The new album follows debut "Waterloo To Anywhere," which entered and peaked at No. 3 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart, and at No. 200 on the Billboard 200.

The band will kick off a 12-date tour of the U.K., beginning May 14 at the Glasgow ABC.

With their free download experiment, Dirty Pretty Things are joining an expanding niche community of artists -- including Radiohead, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Charlatans and the Crimea -- who have either given away downloads, or attached a virtual "honesty box" to their digital music.

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