To most people the idea of releasing free to use music may sound unprofitable and wasteful, but when looking at the big picture it turns out to be a very smart move. There is no other way to spread your music tracks than to release it for free. In most cases you would not be making much from selling it anyway. Just like business, you must need to have a customer base before you can make any profit.
Assuming you are a musician who can perform live as well as produce music studio recordings, the ways to make more money in the modern music environment will not be from music album sales. The album as a concept is slowly but surely disappearing, as music is no longer released on disks and more emphasis is being places on singles. These are too harder to sell for considerable profits, and by offering them only for payment, you limit how many people will obtain them.
Instead of trying to go against the unstoppable juggernaut of illegal music downloading, go with it. Give your music away and watch it spread as far as it can. Keeping in mind that you could only make so much off it anyway, in the beginning at least, the positives outweigh the negative.
In return for passing out your music free, you obtain promotion your music and reputation in return. In other words, you get more fans. Fans are what lead to profits down the line if you are a musical act, and they are important thing when it comes to the business side of the equation. So the move is to get your music out there in any way that you can if you think it will lead to promotion.
New fans can lead to increased music albums sales, concert ticket sales, and music placement in commercials or films, and that is when the money will be coming in. But if you started off selling a few albums for $10 a piece, you would be sitting around with $100 and five fans. That $100 is nothing compared to the long term income obtainable from establishing yourself as a popular musical act.