Odds are, if you're taking the time to read this, you've acquired a few promo discs or records or tapes in your lifetime. Maybe you found them at a used record shop, sitting in the racks in blatant violation of the sticker or stamp that appears on them. You may have been lucky enough to win them in a radio contest. Or perhaps you just bought them online as a "limited edition."
One of the reasons I'd wanted to publish a music 'zine back in the day was that (in theory anyway) I'd be able to receive free music from labels. I was also fed up with how mainstream music magazines were starting to turn into a rock 'n' roll version of People, complete with glossy pics of your favorite pop stars in a "sightings-" style column. Needless to say, my youthful anger couldn't overcome my laziness and cheapness (self-publishing anything on paper is prohibitively expensive) and so this here blog is the closest I've come and the closest I'll ever get to that old dream. At least it's free...
Most of the promo material I've come across had next to nothing in the way of copy protection. The only things keeping me from uploading it are that I like the bands and want others to buy their music, and that I'd usually find these after the official album had already come out. The only exception to this was a promo of Queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf that I found in a (now-defunct) used shop several months before the CD came out.
I got a promo copy of Unsane's Blood Run that had the most clever copy protection I'd ever seen. Each of its 11 songs were split up into 9 gapless tracks each. While this does nothing to impair your listening, you'd have to go into an audio editor to merge the tracks together, then convert to your preferred file format, if you wanted to share these tracks or load them onto your mp3 player!