There's been some legitimate confusion over the decision making process behind "AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack," an 18-song retail product.
This isn't like "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith,". There are no unique character models, venues or an AC/DC-inspired art design to the track pack. It's just 18 new songs.
Fans were quick to ask questions. How come this isn't just a downloadable album for "Rock Band" and "Rock Band 2"? Why do I have to go to Wal-Mart to pick it up?
While checking out this and "Rock Band 2" on Wii in San Francisco last week, Harmonix spokesperson John Drake (mostly) answered these questions.
The reason "AC/DC Live" can't be purchased at your local EB Games or Best Buy is because of the deal that AC/DC had already struck with Wal-Mart as an exclusive distributor of their upcoming album, "Black Ice." The negotiations with AC/DC over the track pack required that Harmonix become part of the existing Wal-Mart agreement.
As for why the track pack won't be released separately as downloadable content -- you instead have to export the retail disc onto your hard drive to use it in "Rock Band 2" -- Harmonix couldn't explicitly say, but provided MTV Multiplayer with plenty of hints.
"If we were on iTunes, we know a certain percentage of people would only download two or three songs from the album - and we don't think that represents us musically."
AC/DC doesn't like iTunes, which traditionally allows consumers to purchase albums as whole or choose individual songs. "Rock Band"'s philosophy is the same way. This might go a long way to explaining the lack of downloadable AC/DC. Just look at this quote from AC/DC guitarist Angus Young to UK newspaper The Telegraph:
"We don't make singles, we make albums," said Young. "Way back in the Seventies, we drew these figures on the back of an envelope for our record company. We showed them how much they earned from us if we sold one million singles and how much they earned if we sold one million albums. The difference was staggering . . . If we were on iTunes, we know a certain percentage of people would only download two or three songs from the album - and we don't think that represents us musically."
We asked Harmonix if they would categorically rule out the possibility of the AC/DC songs becoming available as downloadable content in the future. They wouldn't. They hinted that if AC/DC were to change its attitude towards downloadable music, that could directly affect "Rock Band," too.
For now, however, if you want AC/DC, you'll need to head to Wal-Mart.