Who’s Number 1? 9/18/19

Metallica is second in the world behind only U2 in concert tickets sold, according to Pollstar. Since 1982, Metallica has sold more than 22 million tickets and grossed more than $1.4 billion in the process. That puts the metal legends “just behind” U2 in tickets sold, but ahead of rock icons such as AC/DCGuns N’ Roses and Ozzy Osbourne.

Pollstar writer Ryan Borba suggests that Metallica may well be the biggest band in the world, citing the group’s $125 million in merchandise sales since 1991 in North America alone, its touring in 48 countries on all seven continents — including Antarctica — and the band’s ability to hit the road consistently for 38 years without ever needing to promote a “farewell” or “reunion” trek.

Drummer Lars Ulrich said, “I keep thinking and forcing myself to think all our best years are still ahead of us . . . 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 why Metallica still connects to so many people around the world.”

Ulrich told us not long ago that the group feels good about where it’s at right now: [“There’s this thing, as you know, in the music business about ‘the best days are behind us.’ And when you still get a chance to challenge that, that’s an awesome thing — especially when it happens as organically as this whole thing did. So we’re very appreciative and it’s a really cool time in Metallica right now.”] SOUNDCUE (:15 OC: . . . Metallica right now.)

Metallica recently played two shows with the San Francisco Symphony, sequels to the famous S&M concerts the band and orchestra did 20 years ago. Metallica heads to Australia next month.

Story source: Pollstar


  • Metallica has sold more than 22 million concert tickets since 1982, second only to U2.
  • The band’s 38-year touring career, massive merchandise sales and other factors may make them the biggest band in the world today.
  • Drummer Lars Ulrich says the group intends to keep going as long as it can.


  • Including the band’s two recent S&M2 concerts in San Francisco, Pollstar reports that Metallica’s ongoing “WorldWired” tour has sold 4.1 million tickets and grossed $430 million.
  • If those figures are accurate, it would make the trek the eighth-highest-grossing tour of all time. Once the group plays Australia and New Zealand this fall and South America in the spring, it will likely move into sixth place on the all-time list.