Anybody who has ever been to an AC/DC concert knows that they are pretty much permanently anchored in 1980, the year singer Brian Johnson replaced the late Bon Scott and the band released their iconic Back in Black. And that’s OK, because Back in Black rules and AC/DC rock really hard.
It also might explain why it took so long for the band to show up on iTunes. AC/DC has never made any of its music available for digital purchase—until today. The group’s entire back catalog is now available on the premiere digital music retailer as of this morning, which means that the seven digital music enthusiasts who don’t own Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap can now complete their collections.
The rollout not only includes the entirety of the band’s studio albums, but also their live albums (including Live at River Plate, which just came out today), soundtracks, box sets (including the excellent Bon Scott compendium Bonfire), and a series of official AC/DC ringtones. AC/DC’s catalog has always sold extremely well (Back in Black regularly outsells new albums on the Billboard 200), which is mostly because the band has never released a greatest hits album and at least partially because they’ve never been available digitally.
The gambit has paid off: When the band released their last studio album Black Ice in 2008, it sold 784,000 copies in its opening week, even though it was only available at Wal-Mart and also contained 12 variations on “Hell’s Bells” (which, to be fair, has described every AC/DC album since 1980).
As of this writing, AC/DC had yet to have any real impact on the iTunes charts (Back in Black is number 65 on the albums chart, and there aren’t any singles in the iTunes Top Singles), but it will be interesting to track what sort of impact this move has on one of the most lucrative back catalogs in rock.