Columbia Label Group in the U.K. is hoping to facilitate more breakthrough artist successes through a new initiative which identifies the music firm's key independent retail partners.

The Sony BMG Entertainment division's "Columbia Connected" network has pinpointed 50-plus retailer accounts, who will receive focused support on a range of Columbia-signed artists.

Starting from today, the retailers will receive quarterly new music CDs samplers, upfront promos, dedicated point of sale, press ads, instore appearances and performances, signed merchandise and online ad tagging.

"It's a reflection of how important we feel the indies are and the part they have to play in our future," comments Columbia Label Group managing director Mike Smith in a statement.

"This is our way of highlighting the key stores who help us break acts and upping the stakes a little in terms of the commitment we're showing them," Smith adds. "At a time of great pressure on the industry it's right we should be re-asserting our support to stores who play a massive role in helping break new acts."

Among the first acts which will benefit from the new set-up are Coheed & Cambria, the Dykeenies and the Editors.