The most recent artist to venture into the realm of free will be Angels & Airwaves, fronted by Blink-182's Tom DeLonge.
The group's third studio album, "Love," will arrive February 14 as a free digital download. DeLonge and Angels & Airwaves manager Rick DeVoe agree that self-releasing the 10-song set is a financial risk, especially with DeLonge spending up to $500,000 of his own money to fund the process. But the artist hopes to recoup through corporate sponsorships, touring, merchandise sales, premium exclusive tracks and videos on the band's Web site and by selling a deluxe version of "Love" with 30 minutes of exclusive bonus material.(From Billboard.com)
As more artists go this route and are able to make money from the venture, expect to see more free albums.