Metallica's Five Day-Old Album Sells 490,000 Copies For No. 1 Debut

Metallica’s end-of-the-week release of their latest album Death Magnetic, helped in part by piracy concerns, gave the band its best first-week sales since 1996 and one of the best debuts of the year.

Billboard: In just a three-day sales window, Metallica‘s “Death Magnetic” skates close to the half million mark and will lead The Billboard 200 when Nielsen SoundScan releases its charts later this morning (Sept. 17).

The band’s first studio album since 2003 moved 490,000 copies in its abbreviated frame, scheduled off-cycle on a Friday to accommodate a worldwide release date.

It marks the biggest number the chart has seen since five weeks ago, when the Jonas Brothers’ “A Little Bit Longer” scaled the list with 525,000 copies with a traditional Tuesday release date.

The total for Metallica’s first Warner Bros. album after spending its career with Elektra outdistances the opening sum of its last studio set, “St. Anger,” which sold 418,000 copies in a similarly shorter-than-normal window.

Originally set for a Tuesday release, “Anger” was rush released to an off-cycle Thursday start amid concerns over Internet leaks. The last Metallica album to stage a larger opener than “Magnetic” was 1996’s “Load,” which rolled 680,000 units in its first frame.

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