CSPC: AC/DC Popularity Analysis

Streaming Part 4

Commercially, the mid to late 80’s were meagre years for AC/DC. For the 1983 LP Flick of the Switch, the Young brothers decided to end their partnership with hit producer “Mutt” Lange and started producing themselves. As a result this multi-platinum band suddenly struggled to reach platinum in the US. Spotify reflects this too. With little more than 7 million total streams, this is easily AC/DC‘s weakest LP. For the first time we see tracks struggling to reach 300,000 plays. Only the semi-classic Guns for Hire tops 1 million.

Fly on the Wall followed the same path. Self-produced, barely making platinum, and tracks struggling to top 300,000 streams. Always more Rock than Metal, their heaviest of albums does perform better than Flick of the Switch  though. There are 4 tracks in the 2-3 million region led by the two album tracks First Blood and Back in Business. I wonder if the latter is helped by sharing its initials with a certain other AC/DC track? People searching for Back in Black could end up listening to Back in Business, no?

I recall Heatseeker getting a fair amount of airplay on MTV, the single pushed Blow Up Your Video to the Top 5  in some countries and #12 in the US, their best showing since For Those About to Rock. Heatseeker is indeed the strongest track from these three albums on Spotify with 6.5 million streams. And the 2nd single, That’s the Way I Wanna R’n’R, is close to 2 million, but the rest of Blow Up Your Video is forgotten by most.

Combined EAS for these three albums are just 36,000. The most memorable track from these years are not listed here though. Who Made Who, the title track of the soundtrack to the 1986 Stephen King movie Maximum Overdrive, tops all of these. It is listed in the Orphan section. 

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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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