Brian Johnson, Angus Young, AC/DC

AP PHOTO/KEYSTONE/Markus Stuecklin

For those about to rock, Wal-Mart salutes you.

AC/DC has just become the latest veteran act to sign an exclusive deal with the big box, per a Wall Street Journal report, joining the likes of Garth Brooks, the Eagles and Journey. The new album will be the Aussie rockers' first since 2000's Stiff Upper Lip, making this the band's longest break between studio releases.

The powerhouse retailer proved to be a reliable partner for veteran acts in recent years. The Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden has sold 3 million copies since debuting as a Wal-Mart exclusive last November. Journey is expecting a top 10 bow for its new triple-disc Revelation, which debuted in Wal-Mart last Tuesday.

While the Eagles and Journey signed their Wal-Mart deals as essentially independent acts, AC/DC's new album will be the Hall of Fame band's first as part of a long-term deal signed with Sony BMG in 2002. The deal also included reissuing remastered editions of the group's entire back catalog.

While the retailers played a major role in marketing the previous exclusives, it's uncertain what role they'll play with a signed act like AC/DC.

Last year, Wal-Mart announced it was cutting back its shelf space for music releases, despite being the country's largest seller of physical CDs. Record companies often compete for the shrinking shelf space by offering the retailer exclusive versions of new albums. Of course, their exclusive acts tend to get the best shelf placement of all.

AC/DC recorded the new album in Vancouver with producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Audioslave) and longtime audio engineer Mike Fraser. The as-of-yet untitled album is expected in the fall.

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