Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

AC/DC Aversion

AC/DC recently reaffirmed their refusal to offer their music on iTunes. In fact, their new album will be released only in physical album format, offered at WalMart and through the band's website.

In an interview, the group claims they want to protect the album format, forcing consumers to purchase it in its entirety. Moreover, the singer claims that iTunes is ruining the music industry: "It's a... monster, this thing. It just worries me. And I'm sure they're just doing it all in the interest of making as much... cash as possible. Let's put it this way, it's certainly not for the... love, let's get that out of the way, right away."

The band certainly has the right to offer its product in whatever format it wishes. Don't want to use iTunes? Go to a competitor or distribute your album via your own site. I can also understand the idea of wanting to sell and entire album as a product (i.e. like a "concept album") which should be listened to beginning to end. (However, having heard many an AC/DC albums over the years, I highly doubt this is the case.)

However, they are discriminating against an increasingly important segment of their market - the younger (and not-so-young) consumer. I personally don't even have a stand alone CD player anymore, except in my car, and I imagine I'm not the only (young) thirty-something in this situation. Adding a barrier to consumption doesn't seem like a great way to endear yourself to new fans. Also, I have to echo Greg Sandoval's sentiment regarding iTunes being all about the money: "Let me state the obvious: plenty of people profited off of music long before iTunes was formed, including AC/DC. What, is Wal-Mart donating Black Ice profits to charity?"

Issues surrounding digital distribution are far from being sorted out but shackling the consumer by simply not acknowledging the benefits of the model doesn't seem like good business.

posted by Amy Smorodin @ 3:21 PM | Mass Media