Just out today is a scathing new opinion piece on AC/DC's deal with the devil (Wal-Mart) by Ian Winwood of the Guardian. I don't normally print articles in their entirety but this one deserves a full airing.
Rock'n'roll damnation - Wal-Mart style
Back in 1979, AC/DC managed to shock America's religious right with a song so delicious that no normal person could possibly resist it. Highway To Hell still makes the shortlist for both the world's greatest riff and most irresistible chorus. The album that spawned it displayed "schoolboy" guitarist Angus Young sporting horns and a tail. Not amused, the barmy armies of the Bible Belt burned the LP in the streets.
Twenty-nine years later, AC/DC might actually be on their way to Hell. The group have revealed that their forthcoming album will be available in the US only at branches of Wal-Mart. No independent record shop will carry the CD - in fact, no shop at all will sell it. The only place the thing will be available is at an outlet that is the very enemy of music itself.
If you don't know, Wal-Mart is a chain of stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap megastores, often found on the outskirts of US towns and cities. The company has a litany of employment-right lawsuits stacked against it, and their stores are usually surrounded by high streets, deserted by businesses that could no longer afford to compete with the chain's cheap prices.
You could say that this is just business, but if you do plan to defend Wal-Mart, you need to first wrestle with their music policy. The company refuses to carry any album that features a parental advisory sticker denoting explicit content. The chain will stock "clean" versions of albums, which means either bleeping or fading out "offensive" words. If you find "censorship" to be an offensive word, tough
It's disgraceful that a company neck-deep in questionable business practices dares to take a stance on artistic morality. But what's really amazing is that AC/DC should choose to be party to it. They don't need the money - with 22 million copies sold, Back in Black is the fifth best selling album in US chart history - and they don't need the exposure.
That a band who once sang For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) should now sell their fellow artists down the river denotes a very cold day on the highway to hell.The Guardian