AC/DC Passes on Digital Distribution, Partners with Wal-Mart

Australian heavy metal rockers AC/DC have released a new album, Black Ice. It has been 8 years since the band's last studio album, and a lot has changed in how music is distributed and consumed... but not for AC/DC. The band has opted not to make individual songs available for sale online. Their preference is to have consumers buy the entire body of work an album entails rather than the à la carte approach of iTunes and other digital music download services.

In another departure from conventional marketing strategy, AC/DC has chosen Wal-Mart as its exclusive retail partner for Black Ice. According to the band, the decision is all about market penetration. Wal-Mart is certainly the choice if you are looking to maximize your points of distribution. It is an interesting choice for Wal-Mart, too, as the rough and tumble image of heavy metal rock is in contrast to the folksy, small town picture Wal-Mart has painted for years.

The absence of a digital strategy for AC/DC may have been a non-issue so far in the early years of the digital era, but this is their first album of new music in the iPod age. Will sales suffer because of their principles, or will AC/DC be "Back in Black," reaping the benefits of its exclusive distribution deal with Wal-Mart?

Link: USA Today - "AC/DC Freezes Digital Outlets out of 'Black Ice' Album Sales"