AC/DC’s catalog is now available on the iTunes Store. The band had been one of the last remaining major holdouts, outlasting the Beatles, Bob Seger, Kid Rock, Metallica, The Smiths and more. iTunes now offers all of AC/DC’s hits, including Back In Black, The Razors Edge, Highway to Hell and more. You can even buy the Studio Collection, containing all of their albums for $100, or the Complete Set (which is a more complete, complete set) for $150.
Apple’s also proclaiming that the entire catalog has been “Mastered for iTunes,” which means that it’s been tweaked for better playback fidelity on Apple and digital devices and software. AC/DC had previously told the Telegraph that it was holding out because the band didn’t “make singles, [they] make albums.” According to guitarist Angus Young at the time: “If we were on iTunes, we know a certain percentage of people would only download two or three songs from the album – and we don’t think that represents us musically.”
Garth Brooks and Tool remain a couple of noteworthy holdouts, but overall, Apple is clearly winning the war on this front, bringing on most artists who continued to hold out within the last couple of years. That’s likely due to the changing nature of the music industry, where services like Spotify, Pandora and Rdio are gaining in popularity. Apple may have been the bad guy to artists in a world where it was selling songs on a per-track basis, letting customers get away with not buying entire albums, but now with streaming music services artists see only a tiny fraction of a cent per play. Apple still does digital music sales on top of providing cloud-based subscription access through iTunes Match to existing libraries, making it arguably the lesser of multiple evils.
Apple’s store has approximately 16 billion songs according to a recent report, compared to the 10 million or so on the biggest streaming music service. That’s a crazy gulf, and one that shows just how much iTunes and digital music have changed the perception of Apple’s role in the music sales industry.