The band earned a growing fan-base in the underground music community and critical acclaim with its first four albums, with their third, Master of Puppets (1986), described as one of the most influential and "heavy" thrash metal albums. Metallica achieved substantial commercial success with their eponymous fifth album (also known as The Black Album), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. With this release the band expanded its musical direction resulting in an album that appealed to a more mainstream audience.
In 2000, Metallica was among a number of artists who filed a lawsuit against Napster for sharing the band's copyright-protected material for free without any band member's consent. A settlement was reached, and Napster became a pay-to-use service. Despite reaching number one on the Billboard 200, the release of St. Anger (2003) alienated many fans with the exclusion of guitar solos and the "steel-sounding" snare drum. A film titled Some Kind of Monster documented the recording process of St. Anger and the tensions within the band during that time. In 2009, Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Metallica has released ten studio albums, four live albums, five extended plays, 25 music videos, and 37 singles. The band has won nine Grammy Awards, and has had five consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200, making Metallica the first band to do so. The band's eponymous 1991 album has sold over 16 million copies in the United States, making it the best-selling album of the SoundScan era. Metallica ranks as one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, having sold over 110 million records worldwide. Metallica has also been listed and ranked as one of the greatest bands of all time by many magazines, including Rolling Stone, which ranked them 61st on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. As of December 2012, Metallica is the fourth best-selling music artist since the SoundScan era began tracking sales on May 25, 1991, selling a total of 53,642,000 albums in the United States alone.
In 2012, Metallica formed the independent record label Blackened Recordings, and have acquired the rights to all of their studio albums.
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