Friday, March 1, 2013

AC/DC = Stoopid

Gypsy Road - Cinderella (mp3)

No one ever accused rock legends of being business savvy. One might argue that being business savvy would stifle the very creative process necessary for immortal rock.

But still, even given that, AC/DC is stupid.

For my birthday in January, a friend who was at the very small "birthday" party at my house gave a unique gift. He got everyone in attendance to purchase two songs on our iPad, and he made that 16-song combo into my "Birthday Party Mix." It was a clever idea, particularly because he knows that's just about as "up my alley" as a random gift could get.

As expected, the results were hit-and-miss, but the fun was enjoying the music the rest of the evening as we sat and ate dinner, with various people including my daughters explaining why they had selected the songs they did.

One of the middle school boys in attendance chose "TNT" by AC/DC. It just so happens that my 5-year-old son was, at this same time, becoming obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or, as they are lovingly called, TMNT. It didn't take much effort to convince him there was a connection between the two.

Classic rock does something to small boys. There's a primal connection there, and I can't explain it, but I know that my son has been drawn to the sound of pounding drums and an electric guitar since he was 2. While my daughters flocked to the sound of "You Will Be In My Heart" by Phil Collins, the boy revved up for "Thunderstruck" or "Black Dog" or "Juke Box Hero."

After a single listen of "TNT," he was already shouting "OY!" with Bon Scott. Perhaps men love rock because it makes sense to us even in our youngest state of life. And we men, we love simple.

In the two weeks that followed, "TNT" played at least 50 times. Every time I got home from work, my boy would rush up to me and say, "Can we play 'TNT'?" And of course I'd allow it, because it's a kickass song. So we'd hop around the living room shouting "OY! OY! OY!" together before disappearing into the TV room for a 30-minute session of LEGO Batman on the Wii.

This doll has more business sense
than the members of AC/DC
(or whoever manages their decisions).
Happy to feed any child's love of great music, I recently hopped on to search for more AC/DC. Although I'm not a rabid fan, I so heavily played my cassette of Who Made Who in the late '80s that the thing practically disintegrated, and I was shocked (shocked!) to discover I only had six AC/DC songs in my iTunes collection, all of those due to various people putting a song of theirs on a mix CD.

So I signed into my eMusic account to see what AC/DC songs were out there: Nothing. No AC/DC at eMusic. Then I went to Amazon. No AC/DC music at Amazon, either.

Then I checked out iTunes -- otherwise known as "The music store that charges 40-60% more for the exact same product for no other reason than that no one seems to care" -- and there was AC/DC's entire body of work. Every song was $1.29. Every album was $10. No discounts. No sales. No specials.

I was surprised to discover that only last November had the band even released their material to Apple.

What morons. While they sit back and count the additional money they will make by releasing to Apple, they will fail to realize how much money they've left on the table by not (a) doing so sooner and (b) releasing to other sources.

Here's what I'm gonna do this weekend. I'm gonna drive 15 minutes to our huge used record and book store. I'm gonna spend $10 in credit I've made from trading in DVDs I no longer want, and I'll return home with three AC/DC CDs. I'll burn some 30 songs of material to my iPod, and the Young brothers and their bandmates won't see a lick of profit. Not a penny. At a time when the entire music industry has, for the first time since Savage Garden, turned a profit!

I see no point in paying $1.29 for songs that came out when Farrah Fawcett was the hottest woman in America. I won't steal them; I'll just buy legally and on the cheap what others saw no reason to keep for themselves.

Compare my encounter with AC/DC to recent ones with The Cars and ZZ Top, two bands I hold in less esteem.

In the last few months I've purchased greatest hits compilations by both bands. In both cases, I went in looking for one song from each, found their greatest hits selling for a mere $4, and jumped in. Each band made extra profit from me. It was the ideal business transaction, because they took me for more than I planned to spend!

While I realize that $3 in profit doesn't go very far for a band, surely it's clear this is more than about a single customer, and we're not talking about material that is as carefully confiscated or managed as the Disney Vault of Movies. (And trust me that $3 is far more than I ever expected to spend on ZZ Top, like, EVER.)

But not AC/DC. They'll get nothing. I'll get their music, and I'll do so quite legally. But they won't make a penny.

That, friends, is the very definition of stupidity. AC/DC is stupid. I doubt they even know why they're doing things the way they are. They probably still think most people listen to phonographs. They probably still use rotary-dial phones.

In honor of AC/DC's stupidity, I've posted a song by Cinderella -- also known as "that underrated '80s hair band that sounds a lot like AC/DC" -- because were I to post an AC/DC song, all their lawyers would chase me down. Meanwhile, someone might hear this Cinderella song and want to hear more. You can get their 17-song Greatest Hits collection for $9.49 at Amazon. They really were pretty good underneath all that cheesy makeup.

(And if Cinderella's music lawyers ask, I'll swiftly remove their kickass song, too. But I'll also never say another nice word about the band and remove all mention of them. Bye bye free advertising, you goobers.)


Daisy said...

I'm so pleased to know that love for cheesy 80s rock music is universal to all young boys and not a detective chip in my two. Iron maiden and Rush are quite poplar in my house as is AcDC.

Anonymous said...

My understanding was that the Beatles were the longest holdouts. If you wanted their music (without stealing), you had to purchase the hard copy. It was a huge deal when they finally signed on with ITUNES.

Billy said...

@Anonymous - I didn't mean to suggest that AC/DC was uniquely stupid. Others are or have been on that bus with them.

G. B. Miller said...

And this surprises me how?

Some bands just need to go away, and it pains me to say this, with AC/DC being one of my fave bands while growing up (yeah, I'm that old), AC/DC really, really, really need to go bye-bye.

Listening to rock musician who are north of 65 is not my idea of a good time.

Billy said...

I'm with you, GB. I have no interest in whatever "new music" AC/DC puts out in the future. I'm mostly referring to their OLD stuff that I would like to have a bit more of but won't pay $1.29 per song to get it when I can get whole CDs of theirs, used, for $4 not 10 miles from here.