The Richest Metal Bands In The World

It's hard to quantify the impact that heavy metal has had on music and pop culture. You see glimmers of its influences just about everywhere. Crossovers and nods include hints of metalcore in Billie Eilish's music and videos, as reported by Red Bull. And people are still talking about Lady Gaga's knock-down, drag-out 2017 performance with Metallica at the Grammys (via Metal Sucks).

Since first appearing in the 1960s and 1970s, heavy metal has attracted a worldwide fanbase of millions. In turn, these fans have powered the multi-million-dollar careers of some of the scene's most recognized faces. In other words, plenty of musicians and singers have laughed all the way to the bank because of their metal music antics.

They include iconic performers such as Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons, who've used metal stardom to leverage wildly popular reality TV shows (via Screen Rant). Some of the music's most essential and popular bands, from Slipknot to Metallica, have also made quite the financial name for themselves. 

But who are the wealthiest metal performers and bands of them all? Here are the top dogs (and largest bank accounts) of today's heavy metal music scene.

Metallica's millions attest to their fame

Considering their popularity since forming in 1981, it's no surprise that Metallica ranks at the top of the wealthiest metal bands in history. But how affluent are they? In 2019, Metallica made the World's Highest-Paid Celebrities list published by Forbes. Tremendously popular worldwide, they've spent the last three decades releasing one hit album after the next, as well as the 2013 movie "Metallica: Through the Never," as reported by Wealthy Persons.

Besides raking in the dough, Metallica has skyrocketed above 1 billion Spotify streams and remains the third-best-selling musical act since 1991 (via Metal Insider). The band has sold more than 58 million copies of their albums in the United States and 100 million worldwide. They've received 17 Grammy Award nominations and won eight. And they've been recognized with various other awards from VH1, the Billboard Music Awards, and more. The frosting on the cake came in 2009 with the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

But how much has the band raked in over the years? According to Chaos Spin, their net worth is estimated to be an astronomical $900 million! 

KISS enjoys the Midas touch

KISS has entertained audiences for decades, selling more than 100 million records in the process (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet). Besides an army of loyal followers, KISS boasts 11 gold and platinum albums and a coveted spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

A potent admixture of musical talent, genius showmanship, and marketing savvy also means that KISS boasts a net worth of at least $300 million. To date, the KISS brand has received thousands of licenses for products and merch. These include everything from traditional souvenirs like t-shirts and hats to out-of-the-box items such as credit cards, lunch boxes, and even condoms. But the fantastic memorabilia doesn't stop there. For diehard fans, you can purchase everything from KISS air fresheners to action figures, KISS branded Mr. Potato Heads to caskets selling for $3,000 a pop. 

The band's "unapologetic" final tour, as reported by Reuters, started in January 2019. But COVID-19 got in the way of the 2020 shows. They've since resumed dates interrupted by the global pandemic. Nevertheless, the band's genius marketing tactics over the years mean KISS will continue to line their coffers for many years to come. 

Ozzy Osbourne continues to bring in the big bucks

Lead vocalist and founding member of Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, is a walking metal music legend. As reported in Variety, he's forged a successful and long-enduring solo career with the assistance of his wife and manager, Sharon Osbourne. After Lollapalooza balked at having Osbourne play, the couple took it to the next level launching an alternative, Ozzfest, in the 1990s. The multi-million-dollar-grossing event continues to breathe new life into the metal scene. 

For example, the Osbournes reinvigorated the fest in 2018 with the catchy promo, "Ozzfest Meets Knotfest." The two-day event grossed $3.1 million by adding one new ingredient, Slipknot. Of course, the revenue-generating activities haven't been limited to music and concerts for Ozzy. 

He's also enjoyed plenty of attention with their reality show, "The Osbournes." While reports vary widely, the HuffPost claims he and his crew earned $20,000 per episode for season one. The Osbournes' salaries jumped to a whopping $5 million per family member for the show's remaining three seasons. Of course, the program earned on average 7.8 million viewers at its height, which means those bucks were well-earned by Ozzy and the fam. 

It's no wonder the net worth of the "Prince of Darkness" has long been the subject of speculation, as reported by the Express. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Ozzy boasts an estimated worth of $220 million. He also owns an ostentatious $10 million mansion in Beverly Hills, California.

Iron Maiden's hits have translated into loads of cash

Formed in 1975, the iconic metal band Iron Maiden got its start in East London, playing live gigs and recording a demo tape in 1978 (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet). By 1979, the long-haired rockers clinched a record contract with EMI. But this success didn't come without struggles. By the end of the 1970s, the band burned through two guitarists, a drummer, and three singers. 

Yet, they persisted, forging an impressive career over the decades. From 1980 to 2015, the band recorded and released 16 studio albums, and the band's record sales have exceeding 200 million internationally, as reported by Wealthy Persons

Unlike some of the personalities on this list, Iron Maiden hasn't gotten into the reality television show frenzy or massive merch blitzes. Instead, they rely on ticket sales, which prove astronomical even today. Don't believe us? Check out the stats on their latest European tour. 

One 2018 concert at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, scored the band an incredible $2,926,064 in ticket sales, according to NME. The buck didn't stop in Sweden. Their European tour also brought millions in ticket sales, from Prague, Czech Republic ($2,314,576), to Helsinki, Finland ($2,072,080). But what about the band's net worth? They boast an estimated $150 million.

Judas Priest makes it rain with their metal mayhem

Formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969, Judas Priest has long been a staple of metalheads, according to the Guardian. They quickly became one of the most influential metal bands in the 1970s, virtually inventing the heavy metal genre. Rob Halford, the band's leather-and-stud-wearing lead singer, is a multi-millionaire, according to Showbiz Cheat Sheet. 

Besides belting out "Hell Bent for Leather," band members have earned through other musical endeavors. According to Blabbermouth, Halford left Judas Priest in 1992 to form a handful of thrash bands, including Fight, 2wo, and the self-styled Halford. Loudwire also reminds us that he's fronted for Black Sabbath. Adoring fans started referring to Halford as "metal god" (via Ultimate Classic Rock) after the release of Judas Priest's iconic sixth album, "British Steel." 

But make no mistake, Judas Priest still brings in the big bucks performing to sold-out shows. At one event in 2015, they played to a house just two seats shy of full, earning $256,320 in one night. As for Judas Priests' net worth? Reports indicate that the band cleans house, bringing in more than $10 million per year. According to Money Inc., their net worth is estimated at $80 million. 

Tool has become a cash cow

The American alternative metal band, Tool, continues to make money hand over fist. As of early 2019, the Los Angeleno band sold 13.4 million albums in the U.S. alone (via Billboard).  

It took 13 years for the band to release their long-awaited fifth album, "Fear Inoculum," which came out in 2019. Yet, the wait proved well worth it. The album quickly shot to the top, becoming the highest-selling rock album of 2019, as reported by Tone Deaf

Besides albums and merch, Tool cleans house when it comes to gross ticket sales. According to Metal Sucks, the band's 2017 tour brought in sold out show after sold out show. Two massive performances from the tour each generated $1 million in ticket sales. 

But how much is the band worth? According to Money Inc, Tool boasts a net worth of approximately $70 million. And according to Billboard, Tool's total reported gross earnings over the course of their career tops $151 million. 

Korn ranks in the top 10 for metal earnings

Originating in Bakersfield, California, Korn formed in 1993, quickly rising through the ranks of metal stardom, as reported by Reuters. The band has sold more than 40 million records, notes Blabbermouth, and sits at an estimated net worth of $100 million, as reported by Wealthy Genius

While that might sound like an astronomical figure to some, it's a good thing considering the band's penchant for drinking away tens of thousands in booze during recording sessions (via Alternative Press). 

Over the years, Korn has received countless award nominations and wins. They've earned MTV Video Music Awards and many Grammy nominations and two awards. With eight platinum and multi-platinum releases under their belt from the Recording Industry Association of America (via Loudwire), they continue to exert a heavy influence over music through their nu-metal style. As you can imagine, all of this attention has brought with it a massive mound of money. 

Megadeth rakes in megabucks

An American thrash metal band that formed in L.A. in 1983, Megadeth has been nominated for 11 Grammy Awards (via BMG) and sold more than 38 million records worldwide, according to the band's website. They rank number 69 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, and the band continues to stun with its technical complexity and flawless musicianship. 

According to Loudwire, Megadeth released its first album "Killing is My Business... and Business Is Good!" in 1985 via the indie label Combat Records. VH1 would later hail it "the best thrash metal debut album all time," according to Megadeth. Although the album enjoyed limited success, it garnered the band plenty of attention, resulting in a contract with Capitol Records. With Capitol, they produced their first chart-topping album, "Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?" in 1986. The album did especially well with the underground metal scene launching their rise to stardom. 

Over the band's nearly 40 years of fame, they've seen bassists, drummers, and guitarists come and go like an extended game of musical chairs. The only OG in the group remains Dave Mustaine. Before Megadeth, Mustaine was the original lead guitarist for Metallica, writing six songs for the band but never appearing on any albums. 

Today, Megadeth is still valued in the millions. But figures range significantly from the $1.8 million offered up by Metalhead Zone to the $40 million reported by Money Inc.

Angsty Anthrax continues to generate revenues

In 1981, the American thrash metal band Anthrax formed in Queens, New York, with rhythm guitarist Scott Ian. Surprisingly, iconic drummer Charlie Benante wouldn't join the group until 1983, as reported by Loudwire. Despite Anthrax being named after an infectious disease found in sheep and cattle (via the CDC), its band members have done incredibly well over the past few decades.

They've also gone through multiple transformations, swapping out many vocalists and lead guitarists. Past bandmates have included John Bush, Neil Turbin, Rob Caggiano, and Dan Spitz. As of 2013, the lineup contains Ian, Benante, bassist Frank Bello, lead guitarist Jonathan Donais, and vocalist Joey Belladonna (via All Music). 

Interestingly, Ian and Benante remain the only members of Anthrax to appear on all of the thrash metal band's albums. Despite a rotating list of members, performances didn't suffer. Anthrax was declared one of the "Big Four" thrash bands in the 1980s, along with Slayer, Megadeth, and Metallica. 

Over the decades, Anthrax has sold 2.5 million records in the U.S. and 10 million worldwide from 1991 to 2004 (via Amino). The band also continues to tour, thrilling audiences with its fast, aggressive style. According to Net Worth Roll, Anthrax has an estimated net worth of $40 million.

Slayer continues to slay at the bank

Slayer started in Huntington Park, California, in 1981, with singer Tom Araya, drummer Dave Lombardo, and guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Although the group began as a cover band, they soon moved away from playing Judas Priest and Iron Maiden into writing music. Along with Anthrax, they became one of the "Big Four" in thrash metal (via Pitchfork) because of their aggressive and fast-paced musical style. 

Since the early 1980s, Slayer has released 12 studio albums, two box sets, and three live albums, according to Hype Beast. Never far from controversy, Slayer has gained a reputation for including violent and satanic imagery on their albums and in their concerts. This reputation led to intermittent criticism from public groups, including religious organizations, and corresponding spikes in sales. After all, bad press is still press. The "evil" theme would influence later metal groups, like Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death.   

Between 1991 and 2013, the band sold 5 million albums in the U.S. and 20 million worldwide, as reported by Hype Beast. In addition, they scored movie soundtracks for superhero films such as 1997's "Spawn" and 2002's "Spider-Man." All of this album-making and soundtrack-recording has worked out well for Slayer's members.  

According to Wealthy Genius, the band continues to bring in the dough, having accumulated an impressive net worth of $60 million with their devilish lyrics. 

Slipknot's controversial rise to wealth

According to Louder Sound, Slipknot started in 1995, in Des Moines, Iowa, with bassist Paul Gray, percussionist Shawn Crahan, and drummer Joey Jordison. Since that time, they've made a massive splash on the extreme metal scene. Despite their weird jumpsuits and B-rated horror-flick-worthy masks, fans worldwide continue to dole out money for Slipknot albums, merch, clothes, and concert tickets. 

Wealth Record argues that part of what keeps fans (a.k.a. maggots) coming back for more are Slipknot's dynamic, groundbreaking performances. But the band offers fans more than just sensational costumes and off-the-hook performances. They clinched the 2005 Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance" with their hit song "Before I Forget" (via Grammy Awards). The band also launched their Tattered and Torn clothing line in 2008, according to Brave Words, and they even sell a box set of whiskey via Slipknot Whiskey

Slipknot has sold more than 25 million records during their storied and colorful career, as reported by Metal Sucks. Ironically, the band's guitarist, Jim Root, claims the band has never made "a penny" off record sales. But their net worth sits at an estimated $30 million despite Root's statement. 

Avenged Sevenfold sells out

Avenged Sevenfold formed in 1999 in Huntington Beach, California, and has earned a reputation as a robust core metal band, as reported by the Wealth Record. Although some substitutions have occurred over the years, the band's best-known members remain founder and lead singer M. Shadows, along with Zacky Vengeance, The Rev, and Matt Wendt. 

The name for the band was inspired by a story found in the Bible, although Avenged Sevenfold has taken no religious stance. Over time, its name has been shortened to the tag A7X. A far more significant change has been the band's transition to alternative metal instead of metal-core. Why the genre swap? As reported by Louder Sound in 2018, M. Shadows required surgery for torn vocal cords caused by constant screaming during concerts. Despite these bumps in the road, A7X has enjoyed impressive record sales, particularly with the release of their third album in 2005, "City of Evil." 

Loudwire notes that the breakthrough album demonstrated A7X's core influences, channeling the relentless speed and aggression of their idols: Motley Crue, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, and Iron Maiden. Overnight success followed. "City of Evil" soon ranked 30th on the U.S. Billboard chart, earning 730,000 sales in the U.S. alone. 

The hits have continued, and the band is chock full of multi-millionaires today. According to Rock Celebrities, the band boasts a value of $100 million.

Motoring in the money with Motorhead

Motorhead formed in the United Kingdom in 1975 with Fraser Lemmy Kilmister as its lead singer and founding member (via Wealthy Genius). Kilmister typified the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll scene, debuting in a rock band known as Hawkwind, according NME. But everything changed in a flash. 

As Rolling Stone reports, "In May 1975, Lemmy was busted at the Toronto border with a gram of amphetamine sulfate down his pants. He spent a night in jail and then received a combination of good and bad news. 'The police charged me for cocaine, and I really had amphetamines,' said Lemmy." Following his arrest, Hawkwind decided Kilmister was too much trouble, and they dismissed him from the band. He decided to branch out, forming Motorhead. The rest is history, as they say.

The band that followed would prove a profound and prolific game changer. Fast forward and Motorhead's achievements look all the more impressive with 23 studio albums under their belt. They've also released 12 compilation albums, five EPs, and 10 live recordings. With Lemmy's death in 2015 from heart failure and prostate cancer, the Motorhead era concluded. 

Of course, the merch and albums continue to sell. According to Wealthy Genius, Motorhead has retained an impressive net worth of $65 million.