Metallica Named The Biggest All-Time Touring Band

Hard to argue with over $1 billion in ticket sales.

September 18, 2019
James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica perform a concert at the Rose Bowl.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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It's no secret that Metallica is one of the premiere touring acts today, but are they the greatest of all time?

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Pollstar made the case for Metallica being the biggest touring act in the world as citing the sale of 22.1 million total tickets and $1.4 billion grossed since 1982. The closest competitor to Metallica is Guns N' Roses who grossed $800 million total. 

Another major factor is Metallica's ability to generate ticket sales without having to resort to a farewell announcement or "reunion" show to sell extra tickets. Always looking forward is a big part of the band's philosophy and something they believe helps connect them with their fans. "It’s always, ‘What’s your favorite record?’ It’s the next one, the one we haven’t recorded yet. it’s always about the possibilities, always about what can be, what’s coming," drummer Lars Ulrich told Pollstar

He added, "that, to me, is what this is all about and I think that attitude is a big part of the why Metallica still connects to so many people around the world.”

While they may take the top spot for gross ticket sales, they come in second place behind U2 for total tickets sold. However, U2's recent 360° Tour helped propel them ahead of Metallica after the heavy metal legends previously held the top spot.