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 nine 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; this record was later matched, and then surpassed, by the Dave Matthews Band. The band's 1991 album, Metallica, has sold over 15 million copies in the United States, and 28 million copies worldwide, which makes it the 25th-best-selling album in the country. In December 2009, it became the best-selling album of the SoundScan era, surpassing 1997's Come on Over by country artist Shania Twain. The band has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide as of 2010. As of December 2009, Metallica is the fourth best-selling music artist since the SoundScan era began tracking sales on May 25, 1991, selling a total of 52,672,000 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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