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Metallica RIAA Certifications: Did They Cheat? ‘Hardwired” Certified Platinum, Rotten in Denmark

(L-R) James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Robert Trujillo, Kirk Hammett

Did Metallica just come up with a blueprint for manipulating RIAA certifications?  On April 12, 2017, Metallica’s Hardwired…To Self-Destruct was not only certified gold (sales of 500,000 copies) but was also certified platinum (sales of 1,000,000 copies).

Blueprint #1

Release a video for every song

On April 18, 2017, countless articles acknowledging / praising Metallica’s accomplishment began to surface online, but I couldn’t help thinking that it all seemed a bit misleading.  RIAA certifications are no longer solely based on traditional album sales, but now include individual digital song sales and audio / video streams (Metallica released a video for every song on Hardwired).

Blueprint #2

Release a double album, even if it isn’t one

Traditionally, the RIAA counts double albums as two sales, so if a double album sells 500,000 copies, the RIAA actually counts it as 1,000,000 copies sold. Hardwired…To Self-Destruct could have fit onto one cd, but Metallica released it as a double cd.

Blueprint #3

Bundle the album with concert tickets

The most recent gain in sales can be attributed to Metallica bundling the album with a concert ticket. In short, Metallica boosted sales with a promotion ‘buy a concert ticket, get an album’, with each album redeemed counting as a traditional sale.

The music industry can be quite fickle, so we get it; you’re still relevant, but something’s rotten in Denmark, my friends.

L-R: Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett (1997)

Past Metallica RIAA Album Certifications

List by fullinbloom.com

The Black Album – Released AUGUST 2, 1991
16x Multi-Platinum | December 13, 2012
15x Multi-Platinum | November 13, 2009
14x Multi-Platinum | December 17, 2003
13x Multi-Platinum | June 9, 2003
12x Multi-Platinum | December 6, 1999
11x Multi-Platinum | November 18, 1998
10x Multi-Platinum | November 3, 1997
9x Multi-Platinum | May 15, 1996
8x Multi-Platinum | February 2, 1995
7x Multi-Platinum | September 24, 1993
6x Multi-Platinum | December 10, 1992
5x Multi-Platinum | June 30, 1992
4x Multi-Platinum | January 17, 1992
3x Multi-Platinum | October 31, 1991
Platinum | October 31, 1991
Gold | October 31, 1991

And Justice for All – Released AUGUST 25, 1988
8x Multi-Platinum | June 9, 2003
7x Multi-Platinum | December 9, 1999
6x Multi-Platinum | November 3, 1997
4x Multi-Platinum | June 5, 1995
3x Multi-Platinum | April 1, 1992
2x Multi-Platinum | July 19, 1989
Platinum | October 31, 1988
Gold | October 31, 1988

Master of Puppets – Released FEBRUARY 24, 1986
6x Multi-Platinum | June 9, 2003
5x Multi-Platinum | November 18, 1998
4x Multi-Platinum | November 3, 1997
3x Multi-Platinum | June 28, 1994
2x Multi-Platinum | March 1, 1991
Platinum | July 27, 1988
Gold | November 4, 1986

Ride the Lightning – Released NOVEMBER 16, 1984
6x Multi-Platinum | December 13, 2012
5x Multi-Platinum | June 9, 2003
4x Multi-Platinum | November 3, 1997
3x Multi-Platinum | June 5, 1995
2x Multi-Platinum | April 1, 1992
Platinum | May 16, 1989
Gold | November 5, 1987

S&M – Released NOVEMBER 10, 1999

5x Multi-Platinum | June 9, 2003
4x Multi-Platinum | January 14, 2000
Platinum | January 14, 2000
Gold | January 14, 2000

Garage Inc – Released DECEMBER 7, 1998
5x Multi-Platinum | January 27, 2000
4x Multi-Platinum | February 19, 1999
Platinum | February 19, 1999
Gold | February 19, 1999

Load – Released MAY 20, 1996
5x Multi-Platinum | June 9, 2003
4x Multi-Platinum | November 3, 1997
3x Multi-Platinum | August 12, 1996
Platinum | August 12, 1996
Gold | August 12, 1996

Kill em All – Released JANUARY 11, 1983
3x Multi-Platinum | March 9, 1999
2x Multi-Platinum | June 5, 1995
Platinum | February 26, 1991
Gold | May 16, 1989

Reload – Released OCTOBER 15, 1997
3x Multi-Platinum | November 18, 1998
2x Multi-Platinum | December 12, 1997
Platinum | December 12, 1997
Gold | December 12, 1997

Death Magnetic – Released SEPTEMBER 12, 2008
2x Multi-Platinum | June 28, 2010
Gold | October 24, 2008

St. Anger – Released JUNE 5, 2003
2x Multi-Platinum | July 8, 2003
Platinum | July 8, 2003
Gold | July 8, 2003

Garage Days Re-visted – Released AUGUST 17, 1987
Platinum | July 23, 1990
Gold | December 8, 1987

List by fullinbloom.com

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