Irish vocal group Anuna and Borders are teaming up once again for an exclusive album, available only at the chain's stores, in a strategy that delivered the group's best-selling U.S. title last time around.

Beginning Oct. 21, Anuna's "Christmas Memories" will be available exclusively at the Borders chain and on its Web site. It will be launched with broadcasted version of a live concert from the group, which was produced by the Elevation Group and Maryland Public Television.

So far, 70% of the 356 stations that comprise PBS have reported that they plan on airing the special, according to Elevation Group president Denny Young. The television special, which names Borders as the place to buy "Christmas Memories, will air from Thanksgiving through Christmas, and will likely be part of PBS' fund-drivers.

Last year, Borders did well with "Anuna's "Celtic Origins" album, which it began carrying exclusively in the United States on July 26, 2007. Since then, the album, which also had the benefit of a PBS special, has scanned nearly 50,000 units, nearly double the 27,000 that the band's self-titled -- and second best selling U.S. -- album has scanned since its release in 1995, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"We did really well with the last album and I thought the nature of the group -- that a cappella, choral feel -- would be great for a Christmas music album," says Patti Russo, head of music and video purchasing at 521-unit Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Borders.

While other genres of music have declined at Borders and other U.S. accounts as well, the one category that has held steady for the chain is Christmas music, which is why Russo feels the album will be a big seller for the chain.

Also, Borders does very well with Celtic flavored music, as can be witnessed by how "Celtic Origins" album fared at the chain. It was the top-seller in each of its first three weeks of availability and a total of eight weeks.

In addition to the television show, Borders expects to bring its own marketing cache to push album sales. It will have prime in-store real estate, but it will also be touted in Borders Short-list e-mail blast, which reaches 24 million of the chain's "Reward" customers."

"As my boss' boss likes to say, 'The day that our shortlist comes out, more people open it than read USA today,'" Russo reports.

Furthermore, Anuna will do a 21-store tour with performances and CD signings. Also, XM has signed on and will run multiple broadcasts of the album, according to Elevation's Young.

The week after the album comes out, a DVD version of the show will be released exclusively at Borders. Also, three songs from the album will be available for downloads at iTunes and a few other online stores.

While Borders remains the exclusive brick-and-mortar store carrying "Celtic Origins," five months after the album was release to that chain, it was also offered to download stores like iTunes and Amazon.com, which had it since Dec. 28, 2007.

The Christmas album will only be released this year in the United States, but will probably be readied for international markets for next year's holiday. Young says he has produced an evergreen Christmas show that has a "forever lifespan."

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