In an effort to boost excitement for Record Store Day (April 18), Wilco is making its new Nonesuch concert DVD, "Ashes of American Flags," available early, and exclusively, to indie retail for the occasion, Billboard has learned.
The film -- recorded in Tulsa, Okla.; New Orleans; Mobile, Ala.; Nashville; and Washington, D.C., during the band's 2008 tour -- will go on sale to all retailers two weeks later. It will serve as a teaser for Wilco's next studio album, expected this summer.
"My introduction to a lot of great music and to the 'music business' came from hanging around and eventually working at independent record stores in Belleville, Ill., and St. Louis many years back," Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy tells Billboard.com. "It's the life I know. Nothing beats browsing in your favorite store, listening to music, finding something new or old that you've been searching for, being ignored by the store clerks, all that. And without these stores, there's just no way Wilco would still be around. They've been with us from the very beginning, through thick and thin. Even if I wasn't in a band, I'd still support Record Store Day. It's a great thing and I'm glad we could do something special with them for our DVD."
"When we learned that Record Store Day was confirmed and would even merit an industry-wide Saturday release date, it seemed like a perfect matchup," says Nonesuch senior VP of marketing Peter Clancy. "This idea was enthusiastically received by the band and their management, who have always been supportive of the indie community -- as the indies have been of Wilco for over a decade."
Clancy adds that traditional retail remains important to Nonesuch, as about 80% of its sales are still physical.
Other labels are getting into the act with exclusives of their own. Matador is releasing a 7-inch with Sonic Youth covering Beck's "Pay No Mind" on the A-side and Beck doing Sonic Youth's "Green Light" on the B-side; a previously unreleased LP of a 1997 Pavement gig from Cologne, Germany; and another 7-inch with Jay Reatard's "Hang Them All" on one side and Sonic Youth's "No Garage" on the other. Two thousand five hundred copies of each record will be available at participating Record Store Day outlets.
Music Monitor Network president Michael Kurtz says Record Store Day exclusives include a double 10-inch pressing of My Morning Jacket's "Evil Urges," a series of Radiohead EPs on vinyl and reusable Record Store Day shopping bags produced by WEA.