CSPC: AC/DC Popularity Analysis

Streaming Part 2

At first, Let There Be Rock was bigger than its predecessors. It was AC/DC‘s first album to chart in the US, and first in the UK too, where it reached the Top 20. Since then it hasn’t been able to follow the sales of High Voltage and Dirty Deeds. Streaming figures show perfectly why. It lacks a classic hit the size of  T.N.T. or Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. What it does have is live favorites. Of the album’s total 58 million Spotify streams, almost 40% come from live versions, easily the most of all their albums (Black Ice is 2nd with 20% – which is fueled by Live at River Plate recorded on the Black Ice Tour).

On Youtube live versions are always more popular due to the visual effect. Whole Lotta Rosie is close to 100 million views there and is actually bigger than Dirty Deeds Done Dirt CheapCrabsody in Blue was replaced by Problem Child on the US release (now worldwide) and was considered a rarity until its inclusion on the Backtracks box set in 2009.

Powerage lacks both classic hits and live favourites. With the biggest track Sin City at  6 million  Spotify streams, it is easily their weakest 70’s LP on streaming platforms, just topping 25,000 EAS. But Powerage is the connoisseur’s choice. Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones calls it his favourite. For some reason Cold Hearted Man was rejected by their US record company in 1978. Like Crabsody in Blue it was a rarity until being included in the Backtracks box set. The healthy figure of almost 2 million Spotify streams is likely due to it’s presence on the Iron Man 2 soundtrack from 2010.

Then came the breakthrough! Produced by hit-maker Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Highway to Hell became a worldwide hit and their first US platinum album. With almost 200 million streams the title track is massive. In some regions, perhaps especially in Europe, it is still considered the quintessential AC/DC song. EAS for this song alone is 240,000. With 4 other tracks in the 10-20,000 region, and a total of 310,000 EAS, this album is bigger than High Voltage and Dirty Deeds combined.

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Not that Rumours is not insanely popular anyway, but Dreams has went crazy, since that Tik Tok guy on the skateboard.

I’ve not really been following the pre 2000 songs much of late, will AC/DC have 3 over 1B, before anybody else has 2?

Last edited 3 months ago by Martin
Thomas Christiansen

Yes they will. Besides Queen of course. They already have 4.


Yeah, that’s what I meant, excluding Queen.


Californication was released in the summer of 2000 though, the album is from 1999 but I think the most important thing is when did these songs became famous.

About AC/DC, let’s not forget that they arrived late on Spotify (2015), if not Highway To Hell would’ve probably reach 1B already, and Thunderstruck would be very close.

Thomas Christiansen

Californication was indeed released as the 4th single from the album in may 2000. But the album, and first 3 singles, were released in 1999. The album debuted and peaked at #3 in June 1999. Therefore I consider all it’s songs released pre-2000. However, it is possible the song benefitted from being fairly recent when Spotify began. I have a list of top pre-2000 songs dated feb. 2018 on which Californication rank as #10. 4 years later (jan. 2022) it’s down to #25. So it’s popularity is fading somewhat compared to the other oldies on the list. But the same… Read more »


Yeah it’s possible that Under The Bridge’s popularity is partly explained by the Chilis’ massive success during the 1999-2006 period, so even though the song is from 1991 its trajectory might be closer to a song from 2000 or so.

Btw I truly have no idea why my post got so many downvotes… I’m gonna assume there’s some weirdo out there with fake accounts who doesn’t like me 😆

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