Wal-Mart’s Dirt Cheap Deals

Wal-Mart could be the place to buy AC/DC’s new album, presumably dirt cheap, if a deal by the Australian classic rockers with the retail giant pans out as reported.

If so, the band may become the third major act after Eagles and Journey to ink a deal to sell new releases exclusively at Wal-Mart stores, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The mega-retailer’s strategy of signing such deals seems to be paying off quite handsomely with the ones it’s done. Eagles’ Long Road Out of Eden was the third bestselling record of 2007 and Journey’s Revelation bolted out the gate for a No. 5 Nielsen SoundScan debut the week of June 8th, selling just shy of 105,000 units.

One difference between any AC/DC agreement and the others is that the band is under contract to Sony BMG’s Columbia Records, which is reportedly brokering the deal with Wal-Mart. The others have negotiated their deals as free agents.

Wal-Mart is expected to go all out to promote AC/DC’s 16th studio release, currently untitled but reportedly due in the fall. Officially, no one’s talking – and likely won’t until the ink is dry.

But the news comes in contrast to what the WSJ says is Wal-Mart’s own future plans for the majority of its CD sales. According to the paper, execs have been quietly looking to change the way it sells music – including reducing its physical inventory of CDs.

In February, the company reportedly approached the major labels and asked them to commit to massive, across-the-board price cuts – to as low as $5 and no more than $12. The labels balked, according to the paper, but another option is reducing inventory in order to weed out poor-selling titles.