AC/DC Finally Comes to iTunes, Posts Big Sales in First Week

AC/DC Finally Comes to iTunes, Posts Big Sales in First Week

I remember that with the rock band I played with in high school, one of the first songs we learned was the (new at the time) Highway to Hell by AC/DC. The following year AC/DC really exploded with their greatest album – Back In Black, with a load of classic rock songs that most people would recognize. It was a solid record with little ‘filler’, but AC/DC was really a singles rock band in an ‘AOR’ (album oriented rock) time.

Why do I mention this?

Because AC/DC has been a hold out in terms of getting their stuff digitally on iTunes … until last week. The big reason they cited was similar to Pink Floyd – the integrity of the album format and (of course) piracy. Well, it turns out that they were both right and wrong. Let’s look at the numbers first.

According to Billboard:

One of the longest hold-outs from iTunes, AC/DC, finally reached the digital retailer last week.

The iconic rock band’s entire catalog, along with two iTunes-exclusive box sets, became available on Monday, Nov. 19. In the week ending Nov. 25, the band’s 25 albums moved 48,000 downloads while its songs shifted 696,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Its biggest selling album, digitally speaking, was the band’s classic “Back in Black,” with 15,000 — more than 10,000 ahead of its second-biggest title, “Highway to Hell” (a little under 5,000). Coming in third for the week was the brand new “Live at River Plate” (4,000), followed by “High Voltage” (just under 3,000) and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (2,000).

In terms of song downloads, “Thunderstruck” led the way for AC/DC last week, selling 85,000. It debuts at No. 16 on Digital Songs and No. 1 on Hard Rock Digital Songs. On the latter tally — viewable on — the entire top 12 positions are owned by AC/DC tunes. The band’s second biggest seller last week was “Back in Black” (68,000), followed by “You Shook Me All Night Long” (64,000), “Highway To Hell” (50,000) and “TNT” (40,000). There were 14 AC/DC songs that sold at least 10,000 last week.

So, as you can see they had a very successful first week, which means that there were a lot of people looking to buy their music – as they certainly weren’t selling those numbers in physical formats last week! But at the same time, their single song sales greatly outpaced the album sales – as noted there were 14 songs that sold more than 10,000 copies!

So their fear that people would buy songs rather than albums was true. But as I said, 30+ years ago they were a singles band, certainly not some high-concept album-art outfit! Good for them for finally joining the digital mainstream, and I hope that the continued success of band after band will convince the few remaining misguided luddites to finally get their material to a place that people want it – and will actually PAY for it!

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. If you are shopping on Amazon anyway, buying from our links gives Gear Diary a small commission.

About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

3 Comments on "AC/DC Finally Comes to iTunes, Posts Big Sales in First Week"

  1. I always thought it was hilarious that Brian Johnson insisted that the reason they didn’t want to be on iTunes was “the integrity of albums”. Other than Creedence, I would be hard-pressed to think of a band more singles-oriented than AC/DC.

    Now if we can just get Robert Fripp off the dime . . .

  2. Thunderstruck was #1. My guess would’ve been Back in Black.

    • I had never heard that song before and had to look it up on YouTube … ugh. Didn’t even make it half-way through the song. Sort of like a AC/DC parody meets mid-80s ZZ Top meets crap I wish I never heard …

Comments are closed.