The album will be released on 12 June
Coldplay are to give away a free download of Violet Hill, the first single from their new album, for one week via their website.
The song will be available on Tuesday, with a normal digital release scheduled for 6 May.
The release of the album Viva La Vida or Death and all his Friends has been moved forward to 12 June in the UK.
The band have also announced plans to give away tickets to two free concerts in June, in New York and London.
The gigs will take place at London's Brixton Academy on 16 June and at New York's Madison Gardens on 23 June. Details of how to win tickets will be posted on the Coldplay website.
The download move follows a shift away from traditional sales by various acts last year.
Last June, Prince gave away copies of his album Planet Earth with the Mail on Sunday newspaper, and indie band The Charlatans gave away a free download of their new album on radio station XFM's website.
In October, Radiohead let fans decide how much they wanted to pay to download their seventh studio album, In Rainbows, from their official website.
A free 7-inch vinyl single of Coldplay's Violet Hill will also be given away on the cover of music weekly NME on 7 May.
The vinyl version will also include the track A Spell A Rebel Yell, which will not be available anywhere else.
Coldplay's fourth studio album, the follow-up to 2005's X&Y, is reported to have a Hispanic influence, following recording sessions in Spain and a tour of Latin America.