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Coldplay to give away freebie CD at gigs

Coldplay will give a live CD away for free to fans at gigs during their coming tour of North America, underlining the dwindling financial importance for successful groups of selling physical records.

The group, who had 2008's biggest-selling pop album with "Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends," kick off their summer tour on May 15th.

The CD, called "LeftRightLeftRightLeft," will also be available as a free download through the band's website www.coldplay.com.

"Playing live is what we love," Coldplay said in a statement. "This album is a thank-you to our fans -- the people who give us a reason to do it and make it happen."

Declining physical CD sales and internet piracy have eaten away at bands' revenues from music sales, prompting acts to focus increasingly on live tours and merchandising.

In 2007, Prince gave away his album "Planet Earth" for free with copies of a weekly British newspaper, angering retailers and the record label which had a deal to distribute it.

But the publicity it generated was one factor behind his successful live run at the O2 Arena in London, where Michael Jackson plans to launch his comeback with 50 concerts starting later this year.