A title missing from last week’s Nielsen SoundScan Building charts is destined to be the next No. 1 on The Billboard 200, as Metallica’s new “Death Magnetic” has a shot at a half-million copy opener.
The band’s first album through Warner Bros. was absent from SoundScan’s interim charts because of its off-cycle Friday street date of Sept. 12, which was chosen in order to accommodate a global release date. SoundScan’s Friday Building chart reflects sales from nine leading accounts through close of business on Thursday.
Informed sources estimate “Death Magnetic” will start in the neighborhood of 450,000-500,000 copies, with one unpredictable variable being a ticket/album bundle offered by Ticketmaster. The album was also packaged with “Guitar Hero” at Best Buy, sold through “Guitar Hero” platforms Xbox and Playstation and packaged with a Metallica-branded set of headphones by Skull Candy.
If projections hold, “Death” will be the seventh Metallica album in the Nielsen SoundScan era to start with more 300,000 copies in its first frame.
Metallica’s last studio album, “St. Anger,” also had a Friday release in 2003, but in that case, the off-cycle street date was a rushed release, which the band’s longtime label, Elektra, said was motivated by Internet leaks. Albums in the U.S. generally hit the market on Tuesdays.
“St. Anger” sold 419,000 copies during that abbreviated three-day window, securing Metallica its fourth chart-topping start on The Billboard 200. By the end of its first full week of sales, it had rung up 780,000 units in its first 10 days on the market.
Metallica’s last chart appearance was for soundtrack EP “Some Kind of Monster,” which debuted No. 37 in 2004.