AC/DC has survived across 45-plus years, selling over 200 million albums worldwide, and is one of the most popular music acts in the world.
Respect the success. Learn from it. Here are the 7 reasons why AC/DC’s career is worth a look for any artist.
AC/DC Delivers A Consistent Brand Message With Every Album
From a marketing standpoint, every audience member 100% knows what they are going to get with an AC/DC song or album.
Whether a fan is buying one of their ‘classic’ albums, or their newest release, or watching a Blu-Ray, or going to a live show, they know exactly who AC/DC is and what they will deliver. This type of authenticity is not the easiest to find in the music industry which is, in part, why they have continued to be so appealing.
A large part of how to succeed in the music industry is to deliver on your promises as an artist and be consistent.
Be Mature About Lineup Changes & Adjustments In Your Band Or Team
AC/DC has never been a group where, despite the many lineup changes and people who have come and gone, have ever left things on a negative.
There’s no reason to harbor grudges and speak negatively about someone who used to be a part of your backing band, your team, or whatever the case. Accept that things don’t always work out like they ideally would.
No matter what happens, always square it personally with anyone leaving your team and take the high road.
Go Out On Your Own Terms And Be Your Authentic Self
When the band’s lead singer Bon Scott unexpectedly passed away in 1980, AC/DC did not let that be the final note on which the band ended.
Later that year, they recorded and released the record “Back in Black”, and were more popular than ever before.
In that moment, they were their authentic selves. This approach still works today and across multiple genres. It’s why Ed Sheeran gets clicks on YouTube. Realness sells.
Later in their career, while promoting 2014’s “Rock Or Bust”, AC/DC was faced again with a major issue. Their rhythm guitarist having to retire due to dementia followed by their lead singer Brian Johnson being forced to leave temporarily due to hearing loss. Even with a significant portion of the band missing, AC/DC continued on and thrived, successfully finishing their tour. No matter what, they’ve done things on their terms.
Partner With A Producer Who Knows What They’re Doing
When you’ve been around long enough, you begin to lose some of that luster that hangs around when you’re trendy.
AC/DC began the 1980s with a boom but sunk into the background not long after and spent most of the decade building their catalogue off of “Back in Black”.
Then, Bruce Fairbairn, who had produced hit records for Aerosmith and Bon Jovi in the late 1980s, would come to the rescue and partner with AC/DC for “The Razor’s Edge” (1990) and “Live” (1992). By partnering with the right producer, the band ended up sounding refreshed and re-energized, hungry and ready for success.
At times, any artist may need a new producer or collaborator to bring out a different side of their authentic selves.
Don’t Waste Time In The Studio With Tracks That Aren’t Working
Any album AC/DC has done, from their earliest output right up to their most recent record in “Power Up” (2020), they have never wasted time in the studio.
If there are tracks being worked on that aren’t working, AC/DC is not a band that’s going to work on something for days hoping to perfect it. It’s either a relatively immediate click, or it’s saved for another moment in time or discarded.
What could be considered AC/DC modern classics like the record “Rock Or Bust” took four weeks to get done.
Though songs are written in numerous ways, no matter the genre or size of the project, don’t waste time. Do whatever prep you need to get done to get yourself into a creative space. Then get into the studio with no distractions. Do it up until the clock runs down and then leave it for next time.
Don’t let anything interfere with your studio time. Treat it as a time of focus and care to the track being written.
Adapt To The Market But Without Sacrificing Who You Are As An Artist
Though we may not associate AC/DC with excellent business practices, no one sells 200 million records by being stupid.
A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time and understanding where to put your music to reach out to new listeners.
AC/DC has consistently adapted to the market, getting their material in movies and music on TV, in video games like Rock Band 2, with Wal-Mart exclusive deals, releasing live DVDs, and constantly seeking new ways to reach their fan base throughout the years.
The music has never changed but as the marketplace has, so has their approach to reaching new audiences and selling records.
Don’t Ignore Your Success & Deliver To Your Audience Your Best
AC/DC’s biggest hits are played every concert. Everything you expect to hear, you hear. They don’t shy away from it and they don’t ignore it.
Every smart musician does this, from AC/DC to Adele, and it’s a part of why they’re all so successful in a live setting.
As important as an art concept might be to you, if you are one of the fortunate ones to build a following around a song or album, that’s something you shouldn’t hesitate to deliver any opportunity where it’s requested.
The more you satisfy your audience and by leaning into your best successes, you send your audience home happy.