An article in the New Yorker suggests that, by giving away CDs or downloads, the recording is less important than the live performance. You can read the article here.
Certainly this is a change for the pop world over the last decade, when, in the old world, the recording was the way of earning money and the labels would give money to support the tour to act as publicity for selling the CD.
In reality, BOTH are important, as, in my view, is also the music itself. However little may be earned in the near term from a recording it is also important for documenting and putting a certain alternative way of hearing the music.
What the pop world has moved to is only where jazz has been, and is, for many years. That's why, so often, musicians have been heard by more people live than by their recordings. For too long, in the pop world, they forgot what the live performance could give to an audience.