AC/DC’s New Album To Be One Of The Few CDs Left On Wal-Mart’s Shelves

Aug 18th, 2008 // 8 Comments

AC/DC’s first album of new material in eight years, Black Ice, comes out Oct. 20, but if you don’t live near a Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club, forget about leaving your house in search of a copy. The CD will only be available at outlets of the Arkansas-based chain of megacheapness, although those of you who don’t live near a Wal-Mart (or just don’t feel like standing under the store’s super-unflattering fluorescents) can also purchase the album via the band’s official site. Wal-Mart’s most recent exclusive music deal comes at an interesting time for the store, which is the No. 1 music retailer in the country, as it’s planning on going ahead with a long-planned revamp of its music section in the near future. From the Wall Street Journal:

But even as it strikes novel deals with a handful of artists and labels, Wal-Mart is preparing changes in its approach to selling the vast majority of music. It is unclear what the upshot of those changes will be, but one likely scenario involves cuts in the number of music titles the chain carries.

The announcement also comes several days after Wal-Mart bucked industry trends with reporting a 17% rise in fiscal second-quarter net income, though the world’s largest retailer also warned sales gains ahead will be muted by the slow economy, soaring inflation and the end of U.S. tax-rebate checks.

Even so, Wal-Mart said it expects to fare better than other retailers this year. “While inflation and higher fuel costs are pressuring suppliers, retailers and customers world-wide, we’re confident that Wal-Mart is well positioned,” Chief Executive H. Lee Scott Jr. said in a statement.

Wal-Mart executives, frustrated by perennially declining CD sales, have been quietly exploring changes in their approach to selling music. The company has described different versions of its potential new strategy to different players in the music industry.

As previously outlined, those strategies have included cutting shelf space, reducing prices to levels that may make even the most ardent filesharer take a look, and–oh yeah–cutting shelf space for albums that it doesn’t have “exclusive” deals with. Whether or not the majors will actually go along with these plans is still up for debate–the WSJ reported a couple of months ago that the labels didn’t like the idea of devaluing their product even more than it already has been–although the situation would seem to be dictated by Wal-Mart, what with their history of gripping suppliers’ balls in their vise of being the only game in town.

AC/DC to Sell New Album Only Through Wal-Mart [WSJ]
Earlier: Wal-Mart Talks Money With AC/DC, Prepares To Slash Shelf Space Even More
[Pic via Epicycle]

  1. Chris N.

    There are people who don’t live near a Wal-Mart?

  2. Al Shipley

    I was totally ready to buy the new AC/DC album, now I might download it if I hear it at all. I wonder if they’re letting the album be sold in regular record stores down in Australia.

  3. GhostOfDuane

    I actually just pre-ordered mine from http://www.acdc.com. This is my second pre-order ever, my first was last week (the upcoming Little Feat album).

    Funny that Wal-Mart is selling the album for $0.11 cheaper than the official store. But acdc.com is offering free shipping, which sealed the deal. God these pre-orders are so empowering.

    Also worth noting that AC/DC is re-releasing a DVD (No Bull) to coincide with the CD release. If Wal-Mart is giving you your own featured racks in every store, why not stock them with a few new releases, right?

  4. scott pgwp

    I can’t wait to see how this thing sells. Currently, AC/DC’s plan puts them in the running for most-behind-the-times band of the year. Also, most ideologically corrupt band of the year. (Sorry, I just really get peeved when the subject of Wal-Mart and the music industry comes up… this relationship–not filesharing–is the root of all that went wrong with the music industry in the last 15 years.)

    Of course, if the Eagles’ Wal-Mart exclusive or Kid Rock’s no-digital release are any indication, then AC/DC are probably laughing all the way to the bank.

  5. Captain Wrong

    @scott pgwp: Don’t forget AC/DC’s screwy attitude to downloads. I *think* their stuff is still exclusive at Rhapsody.

    I love the band, but yeah, behind the times. Ahh well, not like they haven’t been making the same album since 1981 anyway.

  6. Whigged

    @Captain Wrong: Yeah – and it’s gotten shittier and shittier each time out.

  7. bburl

    But man, you gotta love the corroded pipes of BJ.

  8. cheesebubble

    I have to hop up on the soap box. Wal-Mart is the No. 1 music retailer in America? That is so so sad. And I’m confused by the notion that they may cut the number of music titles they carry. The store already offers a limited selection that’s largely shite. People who exclusively purchase music at Wal-Mart are ridiculous. Why aren’t more people rallying against the chain’s monopoly on homogeneous, watered-down crap? Down with lazy consumerism! Argh.

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