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Metallica set new record and dominate global album sales


Story by Jack Foley

DEATH Magnetic, the ninth studio album from multi-platinum hard-rock band Metallica, is the best-selling album in the USA and Europe this week, debuting atop the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart at No. 1.

The news means that Metallica are the only band in its chart history to have five albums debut at No. 1. (1991’s Metallica (known as The Black Album), 1996’s Load, 1997’s ReLoad and 2003’s St. Anger).

Death Magnetic also scored big around the world with No. 1 debuts in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, New Zealand, Norway (who sold more albums in 2 days than a week’s sales of a new U2 album), Poland, Portugal, Sweden (their biggest 1st week sales in 2008), and Turkey (which doesn’t have an official chart but the album was No. 1 on every retail chart).

Released by Warner Bros. Records in the United States and Canada and by Universal Music for the rest of the world, on Friday, September 12, Death Magnetic managed to hit the No. 1 spot despite being in stores for only three days, rather than the traditional seven.

In addition to its heavy sales at large-chain stores and digital retailers, Death Magnetic also did blockbuster business among independent retailers.

Months before the LP hit stores, Metallica launched a new website – – which offered users a unique, ground-breaking look at the making of the album with producer Rick Rubin.

It also featured a treasure trove of exclusive content, including the low-down from the band members themselves about their progress in the studio via fly-on-the-wall video footage, audio of riffs and excerpts of new songs, and exclusive new and never-before-seen archival photos from the studio.

In total, Metallica posted 350 minutes of exclusive footage that reached nearly 10 million people across 161 countries. They also streamed Death Magnetic for fan club and Mission Metallica members the day before its release, allowing hardcore fans to hear the album before anyone else and creating a frenzy of positive word-of-mouth among Metallica’s fan community.

In addition, Metallica interacted directly with fans who posted clips of themselves performing Metallica songs on YouTube.

Drummer Lars Ulrich viewed fan-generated clips and posted a video that personally expressed his appreciation. Ulrich’s clip, which was posted on September 4, has already been viewed 1.2 million times.

Metallica also set a record for having the most radio stations in history sign up for an exclusive FMQB broadcast of The World Premiere of Death Magnetic. The programme, hosted by Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins and featuring all four members of Metallica, was heard on more than 175 stations across the US and Canada.