AC/DC album to be a Wal-Mart exclusive

Australian rock group AC/DC's lead singer Brian Johnson performs during the band's concert at the Hammersmith Apollo, London, October 21, 2003. REUTERS/Toby Melville

NEW YORK (Billboard) - AC/DC’s next studio album will be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores in the U.S., according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The as-yet-untitled Columbia album is expected in the fall.

AC/DC becomes the latest veteran music act to pact exclusively with the retail giant, following Garth Brooks, the Eagles and Journey. The Eagles’ “Long Road Out of Eden,” released in summer 2007, has been an enormous success, having sold more than 2.98 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The new AC/DC album is the legendary hard rock band’s first since 2000’s “Stiff Upper Lip,” which has shifted more than 930,000 copies. A tour is expected to follow its release.

AC/DC is one of the few major acts yet to make its music available via Apple’s iTunes Music Store. In August 2007, Verizon Wireless snagged the exclusive rights to sell the band’s entire back catalog through March 2008, becoming the first and only digital music store to offer AC/DC’s content.

But the deal was limited to full-album downloads. That requirement is one of the reasons that AC/DC’s music has not appeared in digital form to date. Because full-album downloads are too large and too expensive to sell from mobile phones, Verizon sold them only from the PC version of its VCast Music service, for $12 an album.

Both Columbia and Wal-Mart declined comment to the Journal.