AC/DC Says Their Songs Will Never Be Available For Download; Rest Of Internet Laughs

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

Capitalist Lion Tamer points us to the news that the band members of AC/DC are standing firm in saying that they will never allow authorized versions of their music to be sold online for download. The logic here seems to be entirely lacking. The band claims that it’s because they want people to listen to the whole albums, not just tracks, but if that’s the case then they should just release the whole album as a single track. The fact is that anyone who has their albums can choose to listen however they want. And any time one of their songs is played on the radio, only one song is heard — yet you don’t hear them talk about boycotting radio. But, of course, the bigger issue is that it’s silly to not offer an authorized way for people to pay you for your music, when the alternative that plenty of people will choose, instead, is to simply download unauthorized versions where the band has no say at all.

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Comments on “AC/DC Says Their Songs Will Never Be Available For Download; Rest Of Internet Laughs”

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Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

The band claims that it’s because they want people to listen to the whole albums, not just tracks

Whoops! I’ve been listening the wrong way for years.

Hey. AC/DC, I’m listening to digital tracks of your music right now, as I type. Do you want money from me or not? If so, throw your tracks on Amazon and make it easy for me to pay you. If not, your loss.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, indeed. Once you have an album, there’s nothing they can do to force you to listen to tracks in the order they want. Hell, I remember CD players in the 80s having buttons to program or randomise a playlist. Whether you give me a CD, vinyl, tape or MP3, it’s going to end up digitised and on my iPod, in the order I want, perfectly legally.

But, I don’t want to do that because I’m a little lazy and my music needs are mainly satisfied by Spotify and the occasional legal freebie download or iTunes gift voucher. I’m not a big enough fan of their music to jump through these hoops. If AC/DC don’t want to have my money, that’s their choice, but their reasoning is faulty at best.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:


The gods of rock will now eat you! πŸ˜‰

Actually Though I like a fair amount of older (Bon Scott) AC/DC music they are really not the best Aussie band of that genre, just the one that got marketed more o/s.. The Angels, Rose Tattoo, Spy v Spy, and lets not forget the Oils (Midnight Oil for you ingrates) were a lot better with better music.

Nick, Birmingham says:

Re: Re:

But that’s the point: A whole load of bands back in the 70s and 80s (including AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Led Zep) got togrther and decided that singles were the major reason why shitty albums were being released: People would make two or three good songs, release them as singles to build up hype, then release an album where the rest of the songs were half arsed. They were guarenteed a certain figure from the album because of the singles and, even if it was a flop, they still had the money from singles sales. These bands decided not to release singles in an effort to combat this.

exactly says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I find Led Zep complaining about stealing music or anything near this as funny but that’s besides the point. Instead of “taking a stand” by refusing to embrace new technology – they should focus more on “taking a stand” by making albums worth listening to. As Rose points out in the end their “stand” only created more problems.

And as Gwendal and a few others have commented – single track listening was created long before the internet. Radio, MTV (and the music video) 45’s and Record companies all have contributed to this trend. If anything the blogosphere & the internet has been a fertile ground for indie acts (who do make fully realized albums).

exactly says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I find Led Zep complaining about stealing music or anything near this as funny but that’s besides the point. Instead of “taking a stand” by refusing to embrace new technology – they should focus more on “taking a stand” by making albums worth listening to. As Rose points out in the end their “stand” only created more problems.

And as Gwendal and a few others have commented – single track listening was created long before the internet. Radio, MTV (and the music video) 45’s and Record companies all have contributed to this trend. If anything the blogosphere & the internet has been a fertile ground for indie acts (who do make fully realized albums).

Chuck Rocket says:

Re: Re:

have you ever listened to the highway to hell album. never has a person been more wrong. same can be said for the dirty deeds album. top to bottom those are great. I personally do listen to things in their entirety. there are SO MANY albums that are great the whole way thru. your comment is stupid, but yes, they should make their stuff availible for download.

Anonymous Coward says:

Good luck with getting folks to agree to listen to the whole shebang at once. Something that AC/DC has missed out on looks to be the internet experience.

Somehow I don’t think their desires will change the listening habits of a generation. There is a reason people buy single tracks and not albums anymore. The major labels got to where filler was what was served. No one wants the filler. Because they have been stung so long on that, the single song sale is back in fashion.

I wonder how long AC/DC will stay with this idea? Perhaps they haven’t heard that the cd and dvd is being phased out. If they don’t want to sell their music in singles, that’s cool. Someone should remind AC/DC the pirates have a better model.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You know what? I take it back. Just look at the track list from their 1979 classic Highway To Hell:

Side One:
1. “Highway to Hell”
2. “Girls Got Rhythm”
3. “Walk All Over You”
4. “Touch Too Much”
5. “Beating Around the Bush”
Side Two
1. “Shot Down in Flames”
2. “Get It Hot”
3. “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”
4. “Love Hungry Man”
5. “Night Prowler”

That’s not a one-hit-wonder album at all! Hell, I think I vaguely recognize like two whole tracks other than the single! That’s the sort of album you listen to in full or you don’t listen to at all.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m not too familiar with it I guess – and I’m not at all surprised that it’s pretty good, so I can see why they might want people to listen to more of their songs, but it’s also pretty silly that they think they can force it. I’m sure there are plenty of superfans out there who love and appreciate their whole catalogue, but they have to face the fact that the only reason they are a global phenomenon and fabulously wealthy is because they have a roster of mega-hit singles – and it’s a much longer and more impressive roster than many bands have, so it’s not as if it’s something to be ashamed of.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That’s just another example of why artists can sometimes be poor businessmen. In this case, they value their art far more highly than a lot of other people would. A casual fan wanting to buy a 99c iTunes download of Highway To Hell’s title track? Sold, with the possibility of upselling later. Forced to wait for delivery of a full CD with no way of listening to the songs in full before purchase? Either another band gets the cash or the pirates fill the gap in the market they’re refusing to service.

Nick Coghlan (profile) says:

On a quick scan, no "Best Of" either

That attitude would also explain why I couldn’t find anything when I went to pick up a “Best Of” CD from them.

(A recent TV show reminded me how many cool singles they had, but there’s no way I’m going to pick up such an extensive back catalogue when all I really want are the hits that stood the test of time)

Nick Coghlan (profile) says:

Re: Re: On a quick scan, no "Best Of" either

Indeed, but we’re talking about *legitimate* means of acquisition here.

AC/DC seem to think that “the only way to legitimately acquire all of our hits is to buy our entire back catalogue of complete albums” is a reasonable way to conduct business. They’re fortunate to have such a large fan base that already has all their old albums, since it isn’t exactly a good way to encourage new fans to start paying for anything.

DogBreath says:

AC/DC needs to visit Doc Brown & Marty McFly

So they can borrow the time traveling DeLorean and remove all those songs (singles) they officially released on 45RPM records. Unless they consider two songs “an album”. Most of the B-sides of 45’s were never listened to, unless you accidentally put the record in automatic changer upside down in the stack.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 AC/DC

Taking things without permission = progress. Gotcha.

Well, having to ask permission every time one engages in the basic human activity of copying certainly impedes progress, that’s for sure.

While I agree with your basic premise that one shouldn’t steal, I do not believe that copyright infringement equates to stealing.

I also believe that artists have the right to be compensated for their work, but I do not believe our current copyright system strikes a proper balance between that and the public good, especially in matters concerning the natural progression art (IE: creating new art by building on the works of others).

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 AC/DC

“I also believe that artists have the right to be compensated for their work, but I do not believe our current copyright system strikes a proper balance between that and the public good, especially in matters concerning the natural progression art (IE: creating new art by building on the works of others).”

Bewary of “striking balances…”

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 AC/DC

OK, fair enough. Perhaps the phrase “proper balance” wasn’t the correct way to articulate what I feel about copyright.

I just feel that the artists having the opportunity (thanks for correcting me on that below, SteelWolf) to capitalize on their work and the overall public good both are important and neither should trump the other.

Huph (user link) says:

Re: Re: AC/DC

I don’t know, AC/DC seems to be doing pretty well from where I’m sitting. It doesn’t seem like the digital age is screwing with them too much. They’re still in constant rotation on classic rock radio, which is far more popular than pop radio in much of the country. How many “digital artists” are getting mainstream spins?

And I can’t walk more than a few blocks without passing someone in an AC/DC t-shirt. I imagine that they’re doing just fine these days.

Also, Back in Black is the second highest selling album *in history*, so I think they might know a little about selling albums. (Let’s not forget that they very recently put on the second highest-grossing tour in history as well)

And let’s not even ask an Australian about this. AC/DC are practically national heroes over there.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: AC/DC

So since AC/DC succeeds at selling little plastic disks in the age of 1’s and 0’s everyone else can as well? Yep, out of the millions of bands out there a small handful of success stories (from before the Internet) negates all failures.

AC/DC is so engrained in our culture that they can get away with telling their fans to go fuck themselves (exactly what’s happening here). How many other bands in the world can do that? A dozen? How many bands exist right now? Millions. So we’re talking a vary small fraction of a percent success rate.

AC/DC may not care, but the lessen is still valid to millions of others.

Switchhitter says:


Epic Fail self-prescribed internet police:

People are allowed to discuss this if they want to. No one on this random blog that I just found directly addressed AC/DC (except one tongue-in-cheek comment) nor did they think AC/DC was going to read their post. By your definition most topics in most forums would be useless. Its not about getting the band to hear you its about conversing.

I wonder Dougy did you get upset people were trashing AC/DC? I can’t imagine any other reason why someone would get upset and use capital letters.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No, but to be fair, their shows are pretty huge and awesome undertakings in and of themselves. The time I saw them they had a gigantic “stone” castle on stage which they toppled with a wrecking ball, which Anges Young proceeded to ride around on in the air while playing a guitar solo. They aso had 21 honest-to-god cannons loaded with blanks to fire off during For Those About To Rock, and a massive bell on a rope for more riding-around-in-the-air-while-soloing. It was one badass concert

Huph (user link) says:

Well What Do You Know...

I’m always suspicious of an article that doesn’t provide any quotes and instead decides to paraphrase something. What’s the game here? Anyway, here’s the actual quote:

“For us it?s the best way. We are a band who started off with albums and that?s how we?ve always been.

“We always were a band that if you heard something (by AC/DC) on the radio, well, that?s only three minutes. Usually the best tracks were on the albums.”

Doesn’t ring quite as nice as claiming they’re against singles or digital downloads, does it? Basically, this is the story of a band who can afford to stick by their guns and make music on their own terms and release it the way they want. They want to stick to what made them successful and what feels true to their roots. AND THEY MAKE MONEY AT IT, TOO!

These are smart guys (or at least their handlers are). Who would buy an AC/DC single when all of them are already available via Youtube? Check out the music there, and if you like it, pick up an album. A marketing ‘ploy’ elegant in its simplicity.

Rich says:

Re: Well What Do You Know...

It nice to cherry pick quotes, isn’t it? Why don’t you read the title of the article you are quoting, or better yet, here is the very first paragraph:

With even the Beatles now finally making their music available on iTunes experts say the rockers, whose album Back In Black is the second highest selling in history, are missing out on millions in lost revenue by refusing to allow their work to be sold in the digital marketplace.

TimothyAWiseman (profile) says:

TransSiberian Orchestra (TSO) is one of the few bands that puts out actual albums where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and I have listened to their albums in order start to finish as a cohesive experience. And yet, even for them I tend to have certain tracks that I will also listen to in isolation.

For most other bands, there is no reason to listen in order and the album is a compilation of largely unrelated songs. for them, I don’t even bother ever listening to the album as a whole.

My point, is the band and fans both are best served by permitting the fans to listen as they chose. This is true even if you are putting out real albums, and if you are putting out compilations of songs then you cannot even claim an artistic reason to encourage fans to listen to the album.

Glen says:

Here is funny one. I do listen to my AC/DC albums from start to finish on my iPod. I prefer to listen to the album from start to finish and I love them.

HOWEVER, how did I get them on my iPod? Simple, I had to borrow the CD’s from various friends and burn them onto my hard drive. IF the catalog were available online, I would have simply purchased the albums. I’m still missing some albums and I am looking.

Dwayne (profile) says:

They're all the same

All of AC/DC’s tracks sound the same. How many people except for die hard AC/DC fans could tell you which songs belong to which album even if you told them once, then blindfolded them.

It’s the same stuff over and over again; EM / AM / C / G chords alternating with the occasional power chord thrown over the top and then a nice tapped solo with a few bends thrown in.

They’re just a band of old men trying to hold onto their fame, they’ll all be dead soon, then the new owner of their music will digitally release it and profit. That’s sorta what happened with The Beatles.

Enlightenment says:

After all you punks on this blog have sold over 200 MILLION albums, then you can do what you want too. It is their songs, so they can do what the frak they want. If you don’t like it, too f*cking bad. I’m happy they have earned the right to do what they want, because most bands lose all their rights to do what they want.

At least AC/DC isn’t like the zillions of xerox copies of American Idol / Hip-Hop / Rap crap that comes out today.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I haven’t sold any albums and I can already do what I want. Some people may find what I do to be stupid or short-sighted or even hilariously tragic. But selling millions of albums won’t keep anyone from pointing out how much more music you could sell if you’d just use every tool that’s available.

“Rap crap,” eh? That’s very pithy, but it kind of puts you into the “kids off my lawn” camp. “At least X isn’t like Y” doesn’t excuse limiting your market because you can’t get over your own godlike “the album or nothing” image.

Christel says:

AC DC rocks

Careless of what others think, I have to say I can respect a person or group of persons who stick to positive principles. Be what they may, still get my respect. Call me old-fashioned, but there are many tribute bands that can be downloaded playing the same music. Well and good, but to me they can’t hold a candle to the original band and that style. And as for digital music downloads, sometimes they don’t sound as good, and personally, if I am that needy of a digital music, I will digitize the CD myself. iTunes does do that, you know! I am an iTunes user. I also play CDs and DVDs and stream video. Oh, I play LPs too. Personally, I like the LPs better than CDs in some cases.

Go guys!

Chris says:


Yea, um CDs are not on the way out ;). Digital Downloads of music suck. It compresses it to uncomprehindable levels and makes it sound like crap on a shtick! CD’s and the higher resolution versions there of (such as DVD-A and the soon to be released I bet Blu-Ray-A (LOL)) are MUCH better. When you can take that and put it on your computer in lossless format such as say FLAC or WMA, with NO compression (or very little)… then I guess you’re actually hearing it the way they wanted you to hear it, not how the company wanted u to hear it so they could sell it as mp3s… I will never buy an online Digital Copy of music unless it is lossless!

I still say the people who buy these damnedable MP3 files are the idiots that run around with little earbuds at max level thinking they’re the shit lol. (I’m not the shit for saying that or for rocking the proper headphones… which is rare cause I listen though speakers as one should! (5.1 surround with 75 Watt sub… not huge but WAY better than headsets or those laughable buds!)…. These people aught to be shot! They are the cause of the downfall of the sound quality in music!

This group should be elevated on all our shoulders!

Chris says:

Re: RE:

I should also add a few things here to clarify before I’m crucified!

I will buy Digital Downloads of music IF the following is done:

~Volume Normalization is taken out of ALL online ordering processes and sites (Amazon, iTunes, etc.)

~Artists can CHOOSE to put dynamics back into music with NO to VERY little Dynamic Range Compression applied! (compression is of course a choice… er it was at one time maybe sometime soon it will be again if (turn me up!) gets it going again)

If those 2 things are met, then I will purchase digital downloads of music… otherwise I will stick to Hard Copies of music made in the 90’s and before. It was the 90’s that you really started to see the loudness war start, though sources cite that it started in the 80’s… but it was VERY rare at the time.

I think I have the right to belittle those that think that their fav. bands and artist’s tracks/albums are better in the way they’ve been producing things lately. Why do you ask? Well, think about it, the more the ignorant ones buy and listen to these albums with no dynamics, the more the industry thinks they want it… while it’s just that they don’t know what’s going on and just want to hear their favorite piece. Now I don’t belittle those JUST for being ignorant… I belittle you for this when you CHOOSE to remain ignorant and just ignore what I and others are saying about this. It’s like when people complain about gas/petrol prices and then go buy the most expensive gas they can just cause it’s at the closest station! I mean come on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: RE:

Wish as a non-member I could edit… anyways one last thing:

I should clarify that last part a bit better:

It’s like when people go out and buy the gas at the closest station and don’t know they are paying 3 to 5 USD for said gas/petrol. Then someone tells them that there is gas a few miles more down the road for 1.89 USD. Then said person responds: “I don’t care, I can’t go that far down the road just to pay a few pennies less!”

See my point? It’s basically that these people don’t care that their music is highly compressed due to dynamics compression, they just want to hear mr. Bieber turn out his (what I feel personally) cheap preformances. (that’s personal opinion though so that really doesn’t belong in this post… what am I doing here anyways? lol). They just don’t realize how much better he and the band behind him would sound if they heard it uncompressed and through proper speakers.

I also don’t think you shouldn’t be able to go out with the convienent ear buds if you choose to. I just can’t stand it when all a person has is an ipod/iphone/ipad and tiny little ear buds and that’s their entire knowledge of the world of music for their entire life… almost never hearing it properly over the right sound systems… That’s what I’m complaining about here. EVERYONE has the right to rock the tiny buds, but come on. When you’re at home, rock a proper headphone or headset if you need to keep volumes for the rest down, and if you don’t need to do so… then why the buds dudes/dudettes? If you don’t need to keep the volume down at home, go out and buy yourself a proper speaker set. The people at best buy can help get you setup with a good sound system (if they know what their talking about, sometimes they will just try to sell you their most expensive product cause they don’t know anything and are corporate rats), or any knowledgeable retail store that sells audio equipment. I’d recommend nothing less than 2.1

I mean if you don’t have a sub-wolfer in there somewhere, then it isn’t worth buying! You need that sepreate sub to play the low range stuff without that sub’s signal messing with the mids and highs produced on the satilite speakers… even if said satilite speakers are HUGE… And I’d recommend no larger than 12″ for the sub and speakers! Anymore and it get’s flubby unless processed right (concert level processing which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in the end)

Anyways… enough of this lol… it’s gonna be TLDR for many I bet!

Ken says:

AC/DC has the Majic

AC/DC can do whatever the hell they want to do with their art work! Have you kids ever thought that they are anti-corporate greed! They probably do want you to listen to their material for free! They don’t want some 345lbs. slob, that worships money & loves the challege of screwing people out of their hard earned cash, profiting big off their creativity & hard work! I’m pretty sure the band members have more money than they’ll need in this lifetime! Artist don’t do it for the money, they do it for the passion of the art form! I’m just aggregated that I can’t go to a record shop & buy the AC/DC tunes I want! I’ve accepted it & I have given itunes a small fortune so far! A lot of artist are holding out! The artist favor their fans over their product peddlers, I’m sure! Greed sucks! It’s not members of AC/DC that are the greedy bastards!

brad in Oly says:

Love ac/dc

I respect their decision from an artists perspective, but the convenience of purchasing online (amazon for myself) and storing my music on the “cloud” makes this frustrating to me. Love their music, love that they stick to their convictions, but I don’t want to go through the process of ripping certain songs I want to my phone after purchasing 5-7 CDs! Walkmans are gone, we’re in the 21st century now, things change, think of your fans and how your decision impacts them!

TnT says:

Napster really did kill the music industry

To be honest, Internet killed the music industry. thats why all we get is lady gaga or all high synth kb music that you can basically karaoke at home.

glad ACDC stuck to their integrity. Metallica was right..Napster did kill the industry.

even if you think you “rebelled” and only do Single track DL now..its not any thing rebellous..all it did was kill the music industry. yea, CD’s were Over the time it all happened..but new music..really nothing worthy

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