Metallica released their self-titled album, better known as The Black Album, in 1991 and it's never quite stopped selling. To date, the record has sold 16.8 million copies in the United States alone and still sells literally thousands of copies week to week.
In fact, the record sells so well that drummer Lars Ulrich has no idea who the hell is still buying it.
Now according to Billboard, Metallica has now broken another record by officially spending 500 weeks on the Billboard 200. The only other four records that have ever accomplished this are Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon which spent 937 weeks on the chart, Bob Marley And The Wailers's Legend: The Best Of Bob Marley And The Wailers which spent 539 weeks on the chart, and Journey's Greatest Hits which did the same amount of time.
On a recent episode of the RIP a Livecast, we asked Jason something Metallica fans have debated for a long time – and that is whether he could get away with never working again and just living off the royalties for the legendary Metallica Black Album which still sells around 4 – 5,000 copies a week. His answer was surprising and revealing:
ROB: And one last thing I wanted to ask — and I mean, this could be a little personal, so feel free to not answer this, but — something that I feel like I and other people have joked about was that you could basically never do another business venture at all, and simply live off of royalties from the monster that was The Black Album. Because it's still selling like four or five thousand copies a week. Without getting into financials, would that be a fair thing to say?
NEWSTED: Everything you said is correct, as far as the sales of the record is something that's never been seen before, it's this thing that won't go away, and everything we couldn't ever have predicted, so that's plain and simple, that's information for anybody to know or find. But early on, when I joined the band in '86 and they were already headed up by some very together people. Some very together team of management and other people that handled their business. From day one, even when I was just a hired gun before I started getting a cut — it took five and a half months before I started getting a full cut. So the first five and a half months, I was just a session guy. So by April of '87, which was… yeah, check THAT shit out. Thirty years ago this month, I joined as a full member taking a full cut.
So, from that time, the persons that handled them and guided them, also took me under their wing and guided me. OK? And the people that know what goes on with investments. So, when we did what we did and were able to hit what we hit, and hit that stride, and we were able to take it to the people when there were that many 12- to 16-year old male individuals on the planet that we played our metal to and they came and checked out the stuff and we made some bucks and CDs still sold and T-shirts still sold, and we really invested money. That's all.
It's cool that the record's selling and that's great, but I mostly do things for other people with that money. So […] The Black Album really didn't have to sell anymore either, because somebody helped me early on in my career.
So the short answer is: Newsted was already set for life before The Black Album even came out.
In related news, Metallica will reissue …And Justice For All on November 2 and will perform a special for-charity acoustic show on November 3. Oh, and Metallica is also doing a ton of shows between now and March 2019. So go see 'em.
[via The PRP]