Coldplay's decision to give away the lead track from its new album has paid off, with huge demand for the free download of "Violet Hill."
According to the band's label EMI, fans downloaded the track more than 600,000 times in the 24 hours after it went live just after midday U.K. time on April 29. By (imperfect) comparison, the first-week sales for "Speed of Sound," the lead track from the band's last album, "X&Y," yielded 44,000 digital units in the United States and 9,000 in the United Kingdom in 2005, according to Nielsen SoundScan and the Official U.K. Charts Co.
The process has had its glitches. Following several attempts, Billboard managed to download a copy, after handing over e-mail and ZIP code particulars. For some users, the site ground to a halt, while others found that the automatically generated e-mail arrived well after the six-hour time limit had expired.
Computer users weren't the only ones to tap into "Violet Hill." The track premiered on U.K. top 40 network BBC Radio 1 then was simultaneously serviced to radio across Europe, earning 300 plays within 24 hours, according to Nielsen Music Control data, for a combined estimated listenership of more than 33 million.
Click here to read more about how many listens "Violent Hill" rang up in the U.S. and on Last.fm, upcoming free Coldplay concerts and more.