With AC/DC’s Black Ice locking in the second highest sales debut of the year, there’s no doubt the shift toward exclusive deals with a single major retailer is paying off for a beleagured music business. The Eagles scored platinum-plus success with their latest album, Long Road Out of Eden, through a partnership with Wal-Mart, and now the Aussie rockers are poised to do the same.
But one rock veteran isn’t mourning the way things used to be. “At the end of the day, it’s about marketing,” Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan told EW.com at the launch party for Guitar Hero: World Tour, which, appropriately enough, kicked off at a Hollywood Best Buy. “I’ve heard literally 25 to 30 commercials for AC/DC; that’s the most amount of energy I’ve heard about an AC/DC record in 20 years! Because the labels weren’t gonna do that. They treat a band like AC/DC with a sort of reverant distance. Throw it out there and if it clicks, great. If not, they’d bury it. So great for AC/DC and great for Wal-Mart.”
As for his own band, who kick off their 20th anniversary tour on Halloween, they remain free agents after deals with Virgin and Warner Bros. expired. But Corgan says they’re starting to write a new record. “And just trying to figure out how to live in this new world.”