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Readers: If free MP3s are good, we’ll buy the CD

In a move reminiscent of Radiohead on Sunday, Nine Inch Nails offered nine of the 36 new songs from its upcoming album, “Ghosts I-IV,” for free download or $5 for all the tunes via its Web site. The offer was so popular it brought the site to a halt. This seemingly popular change in music distribution prompts the question: If bands offer some of their new songs for free via Web downloads, woul
/ Source: msnbc.com

In a move reminiscent of Radiohead on Sunday, Nine Inch Nails offered nine of the 36 new songs from its upcoming album, “Ghosts I-IV,” for free download or $5 for all the tunes via its Web site. The offer was so popular it brought the site to a halt.

This seemingly popular change in music distribution prompts the question: If bands offer some of their new songs for free via Web downloads, would fans still buy the full-length CD later?

“If I like it, I’ll buy it. (It’s) that simple,” said one reader, whose opinion reflected that of many who wrote in.

Read on for what msnbc.com readers had to say on this subject.

I would definitely buy the full length album. Musicians, especially of the caliber of Trent Reznor and NIN, put their whole energy and soul into the work they do. I don't understand the sad people who would rather steal than pay 5 bucks for music from bands they love. — Rhonda, Portage, Mich.

I'd listen to the freebies and decided if I wanted to buy the rest. Hopefully they wouldn't just put the good stuff in the first couple of tracks and save the mediocre songs for the last half. — Trini, Greensboro, N.C.

If my favorite band offered freebies, I would definitely take it! Then I would buy the album because if the downloads are good, then the album is bound to be good! Plus why break tradition and skip an album? — Tiffany, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

I think allowing us to preview an album is a great way to market your music. Many times you know there is a song or two that you would like, but are unsure if the others are worth listening to. If you get a free sample of what else the artist has to offer, you can gain more interest and motivation to actually go out and pay money for the music. — Trish, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Nine Inch Nails is my favorite band and has been since I was in the sixth grade, I think it is awesome about the new album and how it is being released. I would definitely buy the album and for me it shows they are music driven not money driven. — Stephanie, Dallas

This entirely depends on the free music. I am all for DRM free music to be purchased at a reduced price. — Justin

If I liked the free downloads then yes, I would buy the full-length CD later. But maybe if I really loved all the free downloads there would be no need to buy the full length. Not that I want anyone to do this suggestion, but why not give a sweet taste for free that makes us want more? — Welsh, Iceland

It would depend on the artist and album. For most artists their albums only have a handful of songs that are even worth listening to; other artists really only offer 1 or maybe 2 songs that I'm even interested in. Most of the time I would prefer to just get the singles for the songs I like (either through a freebie download or a $1 purchase from iTunes or the like). — Mike, Sacramento, Calif.

If I were able to sample a portion of a music CD, and liked what I heard, I would buy the full length CD. I kind of use my Napster account that way. I sample different songs off a CD, and if I like enough of them, I buy the CD. I would want to buy the full length CD in order to have the additional songs that were not available on the sample version. — Lisa, Seattle

I would definitely buy the rest if I liked the songs. I mean, the thing about online downloading is that you can't really sample something. Sure, you can hear a 30 second clip, but you can't really feel it. So I think this is a great idea. I know that some people will use the system, but I think that the amount of good rep that the bands get for doing this would far outweigh any damage. — Sam, Palm Springs, Calif.

Skip the purchase and stick with the freebies. I keep all of my music on my computer and have done it that way for the past 5 years or so. Owning the CD is not important to me, they just take up space. I move frequently and the boxes of CDs we own have become a burden. The portability of digital content has become a real advantage to owning all those jewel cases and liner notes I'll never read anyway. — Israel, Seattle

Getting a chance to preview my favorite band’s albums online would most likely encourage me to buy the new CD. Unless the new songs were horrible, most fans would be excited for the new material to come out. Artists that have released tracks on MySpace have used the free promotion to drive tours and hype up the fans. — Allen, Buffalo, N.Y.

I would download the freebies and no, I would not purchase because everyone loves something free. — Jennifer

I would download it and maybe buy the rest later. If I love a CD enough then I will want more of it! It's pretty 50/50 but of course I would take some free tunes. I understand that artists deserve to be paid for their talent and I am happy to pay! — Teresa, Phoenix, Ariz.

I would still buy the CD because the quality is better and you get the lyrics/artwork. — Rob, York, Neb.

If I like the band I will pay for the music. I paid $20 for the Radiohead album download because I like Radiohead and I liked this way of releasing music. Furthermore, I wanted to show my appreciation for the option to download it for free. There are too many crap bands out there. This takes the money out of the hands of music execs and gives it to the people who deserve it in the first place, the musicians. — Scott, N.C.