AC/DC were among the last holdouts from digital retail of their music, but they should have perhaps thought about making more fanfare about their entry.
On Nov. 19, the evolving rock act finally unleashed its back catalog on iTunes, as well as two exclusive box sets (let’s just call them bulk sets now, people). According to Billboard, combined, the 25 albums sold 48,000 downloads. The total number of songs sold were 696,000.
The best-selling album was “Back in Black” at 15,000 and “Thunderstruck” was the single best-seller with 85,000. Which surprises me. I would have thought “You Shook Me All Night Long” (64,000) would have been the winner there.
When the Beatles lifted the cold, hard curtain on their catalog to iTunes in 2010, they sold a combined 119,000 albums and 1.42 million songs.
When Led Zeppelin finally bowed, it was 47,000 albums and 300,000 songs. That was 2007.
What changes is the times, and how much promotion and marketing the catalog entities put into it. Unless you saw the timely article on HitFix.com (OK, OK, OK, and some other outlets) and checked out the iTunes shop homepage, you probably weren’t entirely aware that AC/DC was now selling through iTunes. Meanwhile, consumers couldn’t avoid the Beatles’ launch if they tried back in 2010; and in 2007, you were still stealing all your music anyway, and iTunes, Amazon and other retailers weren’t exactly in their selling prime yet.
AC/DC, of course, is still practically omnipresent. “Back and Black” is widely licensed, the band had a best-selling exclusive album through Wal-Mart recently and they still are on that first page of the karaoke catalog. But they were competing for the attentions of shoppers during Black Friday week, and digital tracks aren’t necessarily the first item on everyone’s wish list, as opposed to the physical product.
Do you think the so-so sales could have been better if they joined the bandwagon sooner? Or if consumers were more aware? Or both?