Beatles Boost Music Game Sales To New High
The Beatles

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen are among the high profile names leading the line for the U.K. leg of tomorrow's (April 17) Record Store Day - an event that organizers are confidently predicting will be Britain's biggest ever.

Over 150 U.K. stores are participating in the one-day initiative, which will be held in conjunction with other international Record Store Day (RSD) events staged around the world. Last year the total number of U.K. stores taking part in the promotion - designed to get consumers back into traditional music outlets - stood at 78.

The number of retail exclusives on sale in the U.K. has also drastically grown, rising from 31 in 2009 to over 110 this year. Significantly, the 2010 U.K. edition of RSD marks the first time that all four majors have participated in the event. In 2009 Warner Music was the sole major to contribute product in the U.K., providing 13 retail exclusives in total.

Standout product for this year's edition includes a limited edition two-track release from the Beatles ("Paperback Writer"/"Rain"), a live recording from Bruce Springsteen ("Wrecking Ball") and the seven-inch vinyl release of the Rolling Stones' "Plundered My Soul." The previously unreleased track from the "Exile on Main Street" sessions is limited to 1,000 copies, although the track will also be available on iTunes from today (April 16).

U.K. rock band Blur, who is signed to Parlophone/EMI, will also release its first new studio recording in over seven years - a limited edition vinyl-only single entitled "Fool's Day" (Billboard.biz, Apr. 9).

"We wanted to help make RSD 2010 the biggest and best event so far," Derek Allen, EMI Music VP sales U.K., tells Billboard.biz. "The indies have always been at the vanguard of breaking new acts and RSD enables EMI to give something back while at the same continuing to expose great new talent via performances, exclusives and new artist samplers."

Other retail exclusives set to be on sale at participating U.K. stores include releases from LCD Soundsystem, Lily Allen and Gorillaz (EMI), Teenagers in Tokyo, (Universal), MGMT, Editors and Them Crooked Vultures (Sony Music), Muse and Flaming Lips (Warner Music), while exclusive indie repertoire will also be made available from Bright Eyes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Wichita), The Fall, Pavement (Domino) and Midlake (Bella Union), among many others.

U.K. instore performances set to take place on the day include the Automatic (Cardiff), The Paddingtons (Leeds) and Laurie Anderson, Magic Numbers, Ash and 2009 Mercury Prize nominees Sweet Billy Pilgrim (all London).

"Everybody this year has been super supportive and they've all gone out of their way to give us really good product to put on the shelves," Spencer Hickman, manager of London independent record store Rough Trade East and co-organizer of the U.K. event, tells Billboard.biz.

"Indie stores have traditionally been very insular and don't talk to each other, but I think we've got to that point where you can no longer have that attitude. We're all in it for the same thing," he goes on to say, adding that record stores "can be the heart of their local music scene if they want to be and once kids see that and once they're part of it, they're hooked."

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