According to Billboard, Metallica’s self-titled album, commonly known as the “Black Album,” sold 37,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending September 16 to land at position No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marks the first time in 29 years that the LP has cracked the Top 10 following the set’s 30th-anniversary reissue on September 10.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album.
Of Metallica’s 37,000 units earned for the week, album sales comprise 29,000 (up 1,365%), SEA units comprise nearly 7,000 (up 34%, equaling 9.17 million on-demand streams of the set’s tracks) and TEA units comprise 1,000 (up 101%). All versions of the album, old and new, are combined for tracking and charting purposes.
Metallica was last in the Top 10 in August 1992 after spending four weeks at No. 1.
“The Black Album” is one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed records of all time. Its 1991 release not only gave Metallica their first No. 1 album in no fewer than 10 countries, including a four-week run at No. 1 in the U.S., its unrelenting series of singles — “Enter Sandman”, “The Unforgiven”, “Nothing Else Matters”, “Wherever I May Roam” and “Sad But True” — fueled the band’s rise to stadium headlining, radio and MTV dominating household name status.
The album’s reception from the press was similarly charged, building over the years from the top 10 of the 1991 Village Voice Pazz & Jop national critics poll to becoming a constant presence in the likes of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. The album’s impact and relevance continue to grow — as proven by one indisputable fact: “The Black Album” remains unchallenged as the best-selling album in the history of Nielsen SoundScan, outselling every release in every genre over the past 30 years.
To commemorate its 30th anniversary, the Grammy-winning, 16-times-platinum-certified “Black Album” received its definitive re-release via the band’s own Blackened Recordings.
In 2014, Metallica’s self-titled LP, became the first album to sell 16 million copies since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991.