Came across one of The Innocence Mission's tracks on an MP3 blog somewhere, and sampled a few more of their free MP3 tracks off of Amazon. On "Today," Karen Peris' reminded me of Harriet Wheeler from The Sundays; that's a plus in my book. They're a great example of why it's good to release some MP3 tracks of your best songs for free on the web. After hearing a few tracks, I went on Amazon, read a few customer reviews, and snapped up a CD. Had I never heard one of their MP3s, I would never have dropped $10 on one of their CDs sight unseen. A few full-length tracks are much more convincing than just a song sample, as anyone who's been disappointed by a movie after seeing a thrilling and meticulously edited movie trailer knows.
I do think that the economics of the movie business may be different enough that releasing a movie for free on the Internet isn't as economically beneficial to the creators. There are fewer revenue streams to justify loss leaders in the movie business, but it's also the fault of studios who have inflated movie production costs to the point where often it's only the healthy sales of $20 DVDs and syndication fees for pay-per-view and network/cable TV broadcasts that help them turn a profit.