Once the Beatles signed up, Australian hard rockers AC/DC were the biggest major act holding out from selling their music on iTunes (or in any other digital music store). That changed today, with AC/DC finally realising that if rock and roll ain’t noise pollution, you might as well make money while the download sun shines.
As well as making all its older albums (“remastered for iTunes”) available at $16.99 (with individual tracks at $2.19 each), AC/DC is selling two digital collections: all its studio albums for $149.99, or a complete box set with additional rarities and live albums for $229.99. That compilation also includes a new digital-only live album, Live At River Plate, previously only available on DVD.
Going digital seems an obvious move, although it’s arguably almost too late. With subscription music services now seen as a major area of growth, it’s not clear how long AC/DC will be able to reap digital dividends. (There’s no sign of its tracks on those streaming services as I write this.)
Back in 2011, Lifehacker rounded up which of Australia’s biggest-selling albums and singles had yet to appear on iTunes, and found a quite large number of gaps, AC/DC included. Since then, many of the major local holdouts, including INXS, Cold Chisel and Icehouse, have appeared on the digital music store.
With AC/DC signed up, arguably the biggest global holdout from iTunes is Garth Brooks, which is (from an Australian perspective) not such a big loss. There are still gaps for many artists (where is Cosmic Thing by the B-52’s?), especially in the independent scene and from older Australian acts. It won’t ever be perfect. But for most casual music buyers, it will be more than enough.
AC/DC [iTunes Music Store]