CSPC: AC/DC Popularity Analysis

AC DC

AC/DC, the Thunder from Down Under, were formed in Sydney, Australia, in 1973 by Malcolm Young and his schoolboy uniform wearing little brother Angus. After finding international success in 1979 with the seminal Highway to Hell album, they were suddenly struck by mortality. However, when lead singer Bon Scott died aged 33 in February 1980 they replaced one legendary front man with another. With Brian Johnson at the microphone they soon released their landmark Back in Black album, which transformed them into superstars of the Hard Rock genre.

Today, the future of the band is uncertain. Brian Johnson almost lost his hearing, forcing AC/DC to finish their latest tour in 2016 with singer Axl Rose of Guns ‘N Roses stepping in. Add to this, sadly, in November 2017 Malcolm Young died following years of dementia, leaving Angus Young as the only member left from the classic line-up.

Many claims have been made about AC/DC‘s record sales. Supposedly they’re over 200 million. Back in Black has been heralded by some as the 2nd biggest album of all time behind Michael Jackson‘s Thriller. While this may not be the case, we do know AC/DC are one of the strongest catalog sellers in the business. But how do they stack up against other Hard Rock behemoths like Metallica and Led Zeppelin? It’s time to find out.

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge their results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all AC/DC‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.

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Thomas Christiansen

New single “Shot in the Dark” out now, New album “Power Up” out Nov. 13th.
First day streaming on Spotify for “Shot in the Dark” was 688K plays. That day’s biggest by AC/DC, topping their classics “Back in Black” (669K), “Highway to Hell” (573K) and “Thunderstruck” (546K).

Last edited 9 months ago by Thomas Christiansen
Jsak

But when they talk about Back in black as the second best-selling album ever with 52 million copies sold, did they also include the copies left in the warehouses and the download/streaming ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jsak
Breno

I have compiled Back in Black sales in the barcode era in Brazil, it’s safe to say that it sold 200K in the last 15 years, I’d estimate sales to be around 350 K overall. AC/DC is extremely under certified in Brazil.

tom riise

Back In Black is now certified 25 times platinum in the US.

Al

That seems to fit pretty well with the US sales estimate since the certification likely also include streams and downloads.

Jsak

Don’ t you think that since the death of Malcolm Young the sales of physical copies have increased to 25 million ?

Thomas Christiansen

Friday is my birthday 🙂 So what are my birthday wishes? Well, a new car would be nice… but I guess less will do. Like my favourite band getting their first 500M+ track on Spotify. Lo and behold the top ten AC/DC tracks on Spotify: 1 BACK IN BLACK – 499,574,000 2 HIGHWAY TO HELL – 495,263,000 3 THUNDERSTRUCK – 471,457,000 4 YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG – 346,640,000 5 T.N.T. – 234,653,000 6 SHOOT TO THRILL – 132,645,000 7 HELLS BELLS – 130,395,000 8 DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP – 123,221,000 9 IT’S A LONG WAY TO THE… Read more »

Dan

Well done!

Thomas Christiansen

Back in Black was promoted on social medias last month in celebration of it’s 40th anniversary.
This has pushed “Shake a Leg” above 10M spins on Spotify. Here are the BIB tracks (with increases since primo dec 2019)

BIB 628.5M (128.9M)
YSMANL 441.6M (95.0M)
STT 168.7M (36.1M)
HB 163.6M (33.2M)
HADOM 35.4M (7.4M)
RNRANP 34.4M (7.6M)
WDYDFMH 15.2M (3.5M)
LMPMLIY 12.6M (2.5M)
GTDAB 12.5M (3.0M)
SAL 10.0M (2.3M)

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