Assuming you're not banned from Live, it has great services for free members.
Whether you pay for Live or not, you can still get, for free: game demos, game updates, XBLA demos, game trailers, game content, etc.
Whether you pay for Live or not, you still have to pay for: XBLA titles, content packs (like map packs), themes or gamer pics, etc
As far as I know, the ONLY benefits to gold Live account, is playing online, which is hosted by the players themselves. And possibly temporary exclusive demos or videos.
Using something like Leaf or Kai, assuming it's not buggy or limited (ping restrictions?), is 90% of what a gold Live account is.
This post has been edited by warlordship: Oct 12 2007, 06:27 PM