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15 Richest Metal Bands: Meet The BILLION Dollar Metal Band

The 15 Richest Metal Bands
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From Metallica to TOOL, here’s a comprehensive list of the richest metal bands of all time. You’ll never guess how much Metallica is worth! 


You don’t normally associated being in a metal band with being loaded, financially. And most of the time, this sentiment is correct. 99.9% of metal bands barely make enough to pay the rent let alone own private jets and high-end sports cars. 

But for every broke-ass metal band, there are exceptions to the rule: the bands that become household names. Bands like Metallica, Slipknot, TOOL, Black Sabbath. Everybody knows these bands because they’re more than bands – they’re global brands. 

And as we all know: global brands make a hell of a lot of cash. But who’s the richest of the rich when it comes to straight-up metal bands? I had no idea, so I decided to do some digging, exploring tax returns and LLC statements. The results were very eye-opening to say the least… 

The 15 Richest Metal Bands of All Time


Metallica – $1 Billion

What Pickups Does James Hetfield Use

Founded in 1981, Metallica has emerged as the epitome of metal success, amassing a combined net worth of approximately $1 billion.

This wealth is largely attributed to their impressive album sales, which exceed 100 million globally. Their seminal work, “Metallica” (The Black Album), alone sold over 16 million copies in the United States.

The band’s tours, such as the “WorldWired” tour, have been colossal, grossing over $430 million, further solidifying their status as the richest metal band in history.

Mötley Crüe – $235 Million

Mötley Crüe, with their net worth of approximately $235 million, stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of glam metal.

Having sold over 100 million albums worldwide, the band’s success is partly due to the massive sales of albums like “Dr. Feelgood.”

Their 2019 reunion tour highlighted their continuing relevance and ability to draw massive crowds, contributing significantly to their wealth.

Ozzy Osbourne – $220 Million

Ozzy Osbourne, after his tenure with Black Sabbath, embarked on a solo career that significantly enhanced his financial portfolio, bringing his net worth to over $220 million.

His albums, especially “Blizzard of Ozz,” have sold millions of copies worldwide.

Osbourne’s tours, including the “No More Tours 2,” have grossed millions, showcasing his continued popularity in the metal genre.

Tool – $200 Million

Chris and I talked about TOOL at length on this episode of the podcast. The main thing discussed? How TOOL has basically become one of the wealthiest and most well known bands on the planet despite the fact they’ve only done a handful of albums and seldom do any PR.

It’s kind of bonkers when you think about it. Most people don’t even know the names of the guys in the band. And yet here they are, selling out arenas the globe-over and sitting on a $200 million pile of money.

Tool’s album sales, notably for “Fear Inoculum,” and their tours, which have grossed tens of millions, have established them as one of the most financially successful bands in the metal scene.

Iron Maiden – $150 Million

Iron Maiden, with a net worth over $150 million, has toured the globe extensively, produced an inhuman amount of studio and live albums, and is still going to this day.

As branded bands go, I think Iron Maiden is one of the most easily recognisable acts on this list. If you grew up in the late-80s and 1990s, you knew who Iron Maiden were even if you’d never listened to them or liked metal.

With album sales surpassing 100 million, including major contributions from “The Number of the Beast,” their tours like the “Legacy of the Beast” have grossed over $100 million. Not too shabby, right?

Black Sabbath – $140 Million

Black Sabbath, the pioneers of heavy metal, have a net worth of around $140 million. Coming up on the mean streets of Birmingham in the early 1970s, Ozzy and Tony probably never even imagined they’d be sitting on this kind of money.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqjify__PWw

But as the band that is largely responsible for not only inventing doom metal but also many of the biggest metal bands we know and love today, bands like Metallica, for instance, it stands to reason that they’d have a massive pile of cash.

With over 70 million records sold, including hits from their “Paranoid” album, their “The End” tour added substantially to their financial legacy, grossing over $84 million.

Korn – $120 Million

Korn’s innovative nu-metal sound has not only influenced a genre but also built a net worth of over $120 million. There’s no getting around just how big a deal Korn was in the late-1990s, early 2000s. They were more like a cultural movement than a band.

They grew and grew and became part of the wallpaper of reality in the early 2000s and this helped the band to sell out stadiums and consistently top the Billboard Charts whenever they dropped a new record.

Their best-selling album, “Follow the Leader,” contributed to their status as a proper mainstream band, while their tours have consistently been a source of significant revenue, enhancing their financial success.

Judas Priest – $100 Million

Judas Priest’s net worth of $100 million underscores just how influential and beloved the band is.

Coming up alongside the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, and late-stage Sabbath, Priest are one of the most well known and long-running metal acts of all time.

Their album sales, bolstered by “Screaming for Vengeance,” and their ability to draw large audiences on tour, have been key to their enduring success and financial achievements.

Avenged Sevenfold – $100 Million

Avenged Sevenfold has carved out a significant niche in the metal world, resulting in a net worth of over $100 million. Love them or hate them, they’re effectively the new Guns n’ Roses for millennials. And they know how to make bank like Axel and the boys to.

With more than 8 million records sold worldwide, their tours and album sales have solidified their financial and musical status in the industry.

Add in merch sales, endorsement deals, and a huge, loyal fanbase and it is easy to see how the band has managed to amass such a large amount of money in such a short amount of time.

System of a Down – $70 Million

System of a Down were a big deal in the late-1990s and 2000s. They had a string of mega successful albums, huge world-spanning tours, and this earned the guys a net worth of $70 million.

System isn’t the biggest band in the world, they’re not in the same league as Slipknot with overall visibility. But they did make a dent in the universe and still to this day have plenty of fans all over the world.

High time for a reunion, me thinks.

Slayer – $45 Million

Slayer, known for their thrash metal style and a net worth over $45 million, disbanded in 2018 but left behind a legacy of over 5 million album sales in the U.S. alone.

Their final world tour contributed to their wealth, grossing around $10 million, highlighting the band’s enduring appeal. But as it turned out, this wasn’t Slayer’s final hurrah. Nope, the Slayer has now confirmed a string of new shows for 2024.

Anthrax – $39 Million

As part of the big five metal bands, Anthrax has an estimated net worth of $39 million. The band never quite got to the level of Metallica or Pantera but Anthrax has been a staple of the metal scene for 30+ years now.

With over 10 million records sold globally, their success on tours and festivals has been a significant source of their income, marking their lasting presence in the metal music industry.

Metal Bands Make Less Money Now Than Ever Before

Best Ghost Album

Most of the bands listed about have been around for 15 to 20+ years, some even longer. But what about newer bands? Bands from the last 10-15 years?

Most of the “big” new metal bands working today, bands like Lamb of God, Mastodon, and the like could well be up around the $1 million net worth mark but it is hard to say as their financials aren’t exactly public record.

One up and coming artist that is making a lot of cash, however, is Tobias Forge.

As the front man and sole proprietor of the immensely popular band Ghost, Forge’s net worth is estimated by multiple sources to be anywhere between $5 million to $10 million dollars.

But Ghost are not your normal kind of band, they’ve managed to do things most modern bands can only dream of – and that in itself is very impressive.

Based on the size of Ghost’s tours, its popularity, and its very, very popular merch, I’d say this figure ($5 million to $10 million) is extremely possible.

But what it doesn’t factor into the equation is that the music business has changed dramatically from the good ol’ days in the 1980s and 1990s: modern artists now make considerably less from album sales because of streaming.

Streaming is Killing Most Bands’ Earning Potential

15 Richest Metal Bands: Meet The BILLION Dollar Metal Band

Back in the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s, if you sold a million records, you’d make a pretty significant sum of money. But nowadays, if you got a million streams of your new album or song on Spotify, you’d make not that much at all.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Spotify pays artists between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream, on average. This means for 1 million streams, artists would receive between $3,000 and $5,000.

But THAT is before all the record label deductions are made, so the actual fee the artist gets is likely orders of magnitude lower. And that is the sad reality of the music business today, where streaming is the dominant form of consumption: artists basically make nothing.

Whereas back when music was sold in physical form, the cost was higher, sure, but so too were the profits and it was these profits that the artists got to share in. But even this wasn’t perfect, labels were known to be extremely predatory with their management fees, deductions, and contracts.

But this is why legacy bands like Metallica are worth hundreds of millions, they made a lot of money back when the going was good with tape, CD, and vinyl sales, and it is why nowadays, this kind of money is next to impossible to make for newer, contemporary acts. Unless you’re Taylor Swift.

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