metallicawithnewstead Metallica’s self-titled 1991 album has hit a new sales threshold. The album, which continues to be the best-selling release of the Nielsen SoundScan era, has become the first album to sell 16 million copies since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991, reports Keith Caulfield of Billboard.

Metallica — often referred to as The Black Album because of its stark cover art — sold another 3,000 copies in the week ending May 25th. That brings its cumulative total to 16,002,000.

SoundScan began tracking U.S. music sales in 1991. Its point-of-sale data was first used to compile the Billboard 200 albums chart on May 25th, 1991. Metallica marked the group’s first number one that year, when it debuted atop the list.

Metallica became the biggest-selling album of the SoundScan era in the week ending December 20th, 2009, when it overtook Shania Twain’s Come On Over. Twain’s album is currently in second place on the list, with 15.57 million.

Metallica and Come On Over are the only two albums that have sold more than 15 million copies in the SoundScan era. There have been 22 releases that have shifted at least 10 million. The most recently-released title to reach the 10 million plateau was Adele’s 2011 album 21. (Its sales now stand at 10.94 million.)

On the most current Billboard 200 chart, Metallica climbs from No. 155 to No. 144, marking its 307th week on the chart. That continues to be the longest chart run of any title since the tally began using SoundScan data.

Since the Billboard 200 became a regularly-published weekly chart in 1956, Metallica‘s run is the sixth-longest. (Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon has the most weeks on the chart, with 861.)



25 Responses

  1. Black album isn’t my favorite, but I do like it. I was into them since around “Master of Puppets”, so the older stuff is my preference. Like a lot of bands that get massively popular world wide, how much you like these huge albums often depends on when you became a fan. The “big break” albums, especially for heavy rock bands, usually coincides with a mellowing out to some extent. The dreaded “going commercial”. Then the hardcore old school fans cry sellout, while the new somewhat tempered sound of the band suddenly appeals to 1000% more people. I can’t really blame the bands I guess, massive success sounds pretty appealing. I think Metallica struck a pretty good balance with the Black album, they were already on a trajectory to be pretty big and just released the perfect album for the time. Probably the only songs I’m kind of tired of from this album are “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters” – they’re overplayed because they’re the “safest” songs for radio to play. Production issues aside, I love “Death Magnetic” – I am one of the old school fans, and I think it’s a return to form. Another one like that and I’ll be pretty happy.

  2. Didn’t like it then. Still don’t care for it now. Sounds too ‘polished’ or ‘shiny’ to me. It sounds like they tried ‘too hard’ to make it simple. ( compared to Justice…, Puppets, etc…). I’m not one of the folks who thinks they ‘sold out’ either. I just don’t care for the songs. Too many people started forming opinions of metallica after that album. You got the, “they sold out!!!”, the, “bob rock turned them soft!!!”, the, “They cut their hair, now they suck!!!!!”, the ” They’re playing orchestra music, now they suck!!!!!” , the ” they’re making a movie, now they suck!!!!” You get it. ( and I didn’t even mention napster or Lou reed)
    Fact is, I think ‘Load’ is one of the best metallica albums ever. Although when someone says that, usually one of the above mentioned critiques comes out. That was a darker, gritty-er, rougher sounding record. There is no doubt that James’ voice had never sounded better, and has never sounded that good since. Most of all, I just think the songs are better. I think I saw Jerry Cantrell on tv recently. Wonder if anybody bitched at him for cutting his hair? Ha ha. Could you imagine if Lars never cut his hair? He would look like the drummer to ‘The Kentucky Headhunters’. Imagine the bitching people would have then. Even though I didn’t care for the black album, I still think its cool that it has reached this level of sales. It still says a lot for rock/metal fans through all these years of changing musical styles. I think someone once wrote something about following their instincts, not a trend. Hmmm. Who was that??

  3. I was a teenager when Metallica was at their best. Kill Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets and …And Justice For All were earth shaking, groundbreaking masterpieces. Metallica were heroes to a legion of metalheads. Then the “Black Album” came out and I felt so let down and I know I wasn’t alone. We’ve all heard how they wanted to writer more simple, straightforward songs. The fact is that the music was dull and uninspiring. But it got worse when the”Load of Shit” album came out. I admit I bought the Black Album the day it was released, listened to it two or three times and haven’t listened to it since. Most of the 16 million copies were bought by uninformed, bandwagon jumping posers who probably would have never gotten into those classic 1980’s albums. So who cares how many copies it sold. It doesn’t make it their greatest album. It’s one of the biggest commercial sellouts of all time.

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