Metallica is now the third best-selling musical act of the SoundScan era, according to Billboard.biz. The band has sold more than 54 million albums since electronic tracking of sales began in 1991, surpassed only by the nearly 70 million sold by country star Garth Brooks and the 66 million moved by the Beatles. Bringing up the rear in the Top Five behind Metallica are Mariah Carey with 54 million — just 20,000 copies or so behind Metallica — and Celine Dion with 52 million.
- The Nielsen SoundScan system began compiling sales electronically 23 years ago on a weekly basis, providing more accurate sales figures for theBillboard music charts.
- Metallica’s self-titled fifth album, a.k.a. “the black album,” should alone surpass sales of 16 million copies sometime within the next three or four months at its current rate.
- The “black album” is the single best-selling CD of the SoundScan era, overtaking Shania Twain‘s Come On Over in 2009.