I always think it's a cryin' shame when a great band can't make a living. In my opinion, Free were a great band.
I'd throw in that today it might even be worse. At least Free worked at a time when a major label band got some support and record sales brought in a bit of revenue. Those days are gone.
Bad Company were a good band, too. The members of Bad Company came together after the decision by Free and Mott the Hoople to give it up and try something newer and more commercial. The decision to go commercial isn't a bad one, I suppose. Maybe it depends on what you do with it.
The Beatles did it, and became, in my opinion, a Brill Building "moon, spoon, June" act. The Rolling Stones did it, and I think that they held to some of their original values much more closely. Pink Floyd . . . the list goes on, the list of bands that made the decision and changed their sound without breaking up to do it.
Other bands had to break up. Free, the Small Faces, Mott the Hoople, just to name a few.
Man, anybody in the music business, I wish them luck. It's tough.