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Metallica RIAA Certifications: Did They Cheat? Gold & Platinum Albums + Hardwired, Black Album, Master

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

Metallica RIAA Certifications:  Did They Cheat? + List of Gold & Platinum Albums

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).  Shortly after the news broke, countless articles acknowledging and praising Metallica’s accomplishment began to surface online, but I couldn’t help thinking that it all seemed a bit misleading.

Blueprint #1

Release a video for every song

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)

Metallica RIAA Album Certifications – Gold & Platinum Albums

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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