Metallica's self-titled 1991 record, aka 'The Black Album,' is already the best-selling album of the SoundScan era, and now they're pulling away from the pack. 'Metallica' received its 16-times platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America in December, meaning (as you might guess) that it has surpassed 16 million in sales. The certification was one of 10 awarded to the band last month.

The band's 'Ride the Lightning' album from 1984 also picked up a sixth platinum certificate, and six of their singles ('Nothing Else Matters,' 'Fade to Black,' 'The Unforgiven,' 'For Whom the Bell Tolls,' 'Master of Puppets' and 'The Day That Never Comes') went gold for sales of 500,000.

Additionally, Vintage Vinyl News reports that two Metallica ringtones earned Mastertone Gold certification from the RIAA for 500,000 downloads.

Blabbermouth reports that 'Metallica' surpassed Shania Twain's 'Come On Over' album as the best-selling of the SoundScan era in 2009. According to Billboard, The Beatles '1' and Santana's 'Supernatural' are other albums from classic rockers to make the Top 10 of the best selling albums since 1991, the year SoundScan began tracking chart positions based on point-of-purchase sales.

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