"I know The Beatles have changed, but we’re going to carry on like that,” AC/DC guitarist Angus Young told Sky News Friday at the London premiere of the band’s new DVD, “Live At River Plate.” "For us, it’s the best way. We are a band who started off with albums and that’s how we’ve always been.”
Experts say the rockers, whose 1980 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. Young said he refuses to sanction allowing individual tracks to be downloaded because their songs should be heard as part of a full album: “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."
Other major artists who have remained unconvinced that their songs should be sold digitally include Def Leppard, Bob Seger, Kid Rock, Garth Brooks, The Smiths and Tool; while some of these acts have selected songs available via iTunes, none are offering their full catalogues, for various reasons (and the same goes for the bulk of the Black Sabbath and Frank Zappa catalogues, as well).
“It’s like an artist who does a painting,” Angus told the New York Times in 2008. “If he thinks it’s a great piece of work, he protects it. It’s the same thing: this is our work.”
The band has closely guarded its image throughout its career, and skipped quick paydays – including advertising - for a long-term plan approach, and things continue to work in their favour.
"Since iTunes came into existence, we've actually increased our back catalogue sales without being on the site," Angus told the NME back in 2008. “We were sternly warned by our management team and our record label that the complete opposite would be the case."
Obviously, AC/DC makes its own rules.