Metallica has served millions of record sales to its listeners, but while they will remain one of the more powerful heavy metal groups in the history of, well...heavy metal, Metallica likely never had a year like Sleep Token just had in 2023. Not only did Sleep Token's popularity grow greatly after they released the excellent album, Take Me Back to Eden, last year, but they outplayed every other metal artist in 2023, according to Spotify. And it wasn't close.
Metallica's 72 Seasons album did well. Including streams for each song on the album, 72 Seasons had 227,202,107 total streams. That is not bad though it pales in comparison to top-streamed artist Taylor Swift who had 30 billion global streams. There are 8.1 billion people on earth meaning that at any point each living person streamed about four Taylor Swift songs.
Metallica's album was only the second-most streamed metal album. Sleep Token led the way with 357,324,681 total streams. Each track on Take Me Back to Eden was streamed at least 13,509,569 times. Two tracks, "Granite" and "Chokehold," had at least 41,548,535 streams.
Sleep Token leads metal streams but Taylor Swift is No. 1
The rest of the top ten artists after Swift at number one were, from number two through number 10, Bad Bunny, The Weeknd, Drake, Peso Pluma, Feid, Travis Scott, SZA, KAROL G, and Lana Del Rey. None of those acts are metal groups, of course, and only Del Rey is more rock-oriented, but metal still had a healthy year with Sleep Token and Metallica leading the way.
Now the only question is who is actually in Sleep Token. The masked group likes to keep everything undercover, literally, and has not revealed their identities. I guess the dream would be if once they do take their masks off the members end up being Taylor Swift, Elton John, Garth Brooks, and Chuck D.