Because back in 1973, when AC/DC was officially formed, I’m sure they didn’t think that they will have a #1 album in 2010. After almost 40 years, rock bands are supposed to be retiring, joining forces with non-profit organizations, and possibly starring in their own B-list Reality Show.
But these guys take their “new” album all the way to the top in the UK. In reality it’s not new. It’s the soundtrack to Iron Man 2, that includes 15 of the most powerful tunes for the Australian band.
What made me write about this, is not only that I’m a die-hard fan of the Young Brothers, but that AC/DC has kept current and alive in a way not even the Stones have. They released their latest studio album (Black Ice) in 2009, after 8 years from the previous one. But they did it in a very interesting way, partnering with Walmart as the only place you could buy it. Also, Sirius/XM launched AC/DC Radio, a dedicated channel to all things AC/DC. They also had a massive tour across the world. Massive enough the they returned to some cities after the first round. They came to Dallas twice. I saw them here at the first one, but also flew to Denver 5 months before that.
I’m sure all this noise have the fans so excited and happy. Especially because these efforts and new media tactics are not the typical approach to launching a new album.
Of course that there are other bands looking for creative and unusual ways to launch their latest work, either asking fans to pay anything they want for the download, or having a band perform the new songs at a NY subway station. But those are more recent bands, like Radiohead and the like. I’d say that AC/DC fans are in their 40s. At least.
The latest effort was the Iron Man 2 Soundtrack, which was the biggest movie of the Summer in 2010. In my opinion, the secret for ther continued success is consistency. The sound of the band has been kept hidden in a safe box somewhere in Australia, and they only take it out ever 8 years or so.
If you want to know more about on how this band of old farts stays relevant in the heart of fans across generations, pick up Why AC/DC Matters by Anthony Bozza, a great book that my good friend David Ravelo gave some time ago. They keep writing about ladies, booze, sex, cars and all the good things Hard Rock should be about.
For almost 40 years they have been the flagship band of good times.
And who doesn’t like that?
They understand what the AC/DC brand is all about, and they don’t get distracted with fads, new technology or politics.
But they also are very clear that today there are so many ways to get music beyond the album. And that’s why they are became (IMHO) the kings of the new media:
They were in the Soundtrack of the hottest movie. They got the AC/DC Guitar Hero game.
A Satellite Radio Channel. A Limited Edition AC/DC Monopoly game.
Hell, they got their own brand of AC/DC wine now! From Australia of course. That was the best way to say “Have a Drink on Me”. And who knows what’s next.
Anyway, AC/DC tought us that an old dog can still learn new tricks.
Both in music and Marketing.