Yup, I can echo this. Here’s another example, the trial version for iZotope Ozone. You can click to Try, and then to Download, but then you have to signup for a free account to get the trial download (not just your email address). This is software used on virtually ever hit pop record of the last decade, but also used by a lot of home hobby users & podcasters.
What I do recommend is that when someone clicks on your “free download” button, you begin the download and then a couple of seconds later, redirect the user to a “Thanks for downloading!” page. On that page, you can have a “Subscribe to our email newsletter” form.
I like this concept. Off to implement. So simple, should have thought of that myself. Thanks