Update: (Nov. 20, 2012) It looks like AC/DC have changed their minds. See comment section below.
Indie bands were really the first musicians to fully support music downloads. Big name artists – already making a very decent living off music – were understandably skeptical about making their songs too available. Slowly but surely most of the bigger name bands got on board. In November 2007, Led Zeppelin finally made their entire catalog available on iTunes and elsewhere. Right now there are now plenty of indications that The Beatles catalog has been remastered and will be available online sometime in early 2008. There are very few major bands that haven’t embraced the new reality: downloading music is good for fans, the industry and the bands.
AC/DC is one band that is still bucking the trend. You can download all of their songs online; but only from Verizon’s music service. The song You Shook Me All Night Long is available as a single track download – the rest of the catalog is only available as complete albums.
I can understand why a band would prefer their music to be downloaded in album form. What I can’t agree with though, is the necessity of signing up with Verizon, opening an account, and installing their software. I like AC/DC and I want to download more of their albums, but this arrangement just doesn’t suit me.
It’s a miscalculation on the part of the band. Digital music is something that makes fans want to update their collections. Now that music piracy is on the decline in the United States, it’s obvious that services like iTunes have already caught on. This year Amazon launched their own music download service. It’s something that’s here to stay. The more choices consumers have, the more music the band will sell. And that means lots of happy fans.
For now, it’s still more convenient to get pirated versions of all the AC/DC albums. Here’s hoping the band will do something about it in 2008.
Footnote: some of my facts for this article were gleaned from AC/DC Bypasses iTunes: Should Apple Care?