U.K. retailers jump the gun on Metallica sales

Vertigo allows early sales because album leaked online

LONDON -- Retailers in the U.K. have been selling Metallica's highly anticipated new album, "Death Magnetic" (Vertigo), ahead of its official release Friday.

The label made the decision to allow early physical sales after new material leaked online days before it was due to hit shelves.

"We were advised that, because the album had become so heavily leaked online, we should go ahead and sell the album a day earlier than planned," a spokesperson for market-leading retailer HMV said.

However, despite its earlier-than-planned release, HMV predicts "Death Magnetic" will be beaten to the No. 1 spot by U.K. alternative rockers Glasvegas' eponymous debut, released Tuesday on Columbia/Sony BMG.

"Glasvegas are selling really well and are currently our No. 1," the spokesman said. "It's going to be really close between them and Metallica."