CSPC: AC/DC Popularity Analysis

Streaming Part 3

I don’t think any band ever replaced their singer with greater success than AC/DC. Back in Black not only became their biggest album, but one of the biggest albums of all time. These streaming figures will tell you why. Like the rest of the AC/DC catalog, Back in Black was not available on Spotify until June 30th 2015. Still, this 1980 album has well over 500 million streams, led by the iconic title track at 212 million. Even the smallest track, Shake A Leg, is close to 4 million. Four tracks are close to or above 60 million, an achievement only surpassed by 6 pre-2000 albums (Michael Jackson‘s Thriller & Bad, Dr. Dre‘s 2001, Pearl Jam‘s Ten, Nirvana‘s Nevermind and Metallica‘s Black Album) which are all younger than Back in Black and have also all  have been on Spotify a lot longer. This adds up to a massive 635,000 EAS.

For Those About to Rock was the 3rd album in a row produced by “Mutt” Lange, and their first US #1 (incredibly Back in Black stalled at #4). However, while it outdid its famous predecessor at first, it didn’t have the legs. The title track is a true classic, and has ended just about every AC/DC concert since, but at 22 million Spotify streams it would have ranked a distant 5th on Back in Black. The rest wouldn’t rank anywhere on it. As a consequence, the 40,000 EAS pales into insignificance compared to Back in Black. On a smaller note Evil Walks actually tops the single Let’s Get it Up for 2nd place on For Those About to Rock. Likely because the former was the only song from this album included on the Iron Man 2 soundtrack in 2010.

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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

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

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.


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


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 »


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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