Okay, yeah, this is probably not a huge surprise. I love Metallica. You love Metallica. And their rigorous touring and huge performances over the course of their career have made their live shows a must-see, so it’s not wild to assume they’re the biggest touring act to ever grace the stage.
But now we have the stats to match.
Concert industry publication Pollstar have reported that Metallica have sold nearly 22.1 million total tickets and grossed around $1.4 billion since 1982. To contrast, AC/DC have sold around 14.3 million tickets, and Ozzy Osbourne clocks in at around 10 million (around 13 million when you consider Black Sabbath).
The band’s closest competitor in terms of cash is Guns N’ Roses, who’ve grossed around $800 million in ticket sales throughout their career – helped largely by the band’s ‘Not In This Lifetime’ reunion tour from 2016 to 2019.
In terms of tickets themselves, ‘tallica are just behind U2, but Pollstar still argue in favour of the metal legends – acknowledging that in the past five years alone, the band’s headline touring businesses puts them in a league with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
The article also points out that Metallica haven’t rested on gimmicky nostalgia tours or farewells to drum up business.
“I keep thinking and forcing myself to think all our best years are still ahead of us. We may even turn professional and do this full time one day,” Lars Ulrich joked to the publication. “That’s the MO. It’s always, ‘What’s your favorite record?’ It’s the next one, the one we haven’t recorded yet. it’s always about the possibilities, always about what can be, what’s coming. That, to me, is what this is all about and I think that attitude is a big part of the why Metallica still connects to so many people around the world.”
Check out the full article over on Pollstar here, it’s quite an interesting and in-depth read.
Speaking of Metallica’s live shows, you’ll be able to catch them in Australia next month on their mammoth tour with Slipknot.