15 Most Expensive Music Albums of All Time

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The making of a hit song or a successful album is definitely serious business that encompasses a whole lot of heart and passion. From the eccentric demands of artists to the acquisition or rental of high-end equipment, the creation of a music album requires a lot of work and, of course, money. Below is a list of the 15 most expensive music albums of all-time.


15. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West (cost: $3M)

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West was released way back in 2010. This masterpiece came to life at a rented glass fenced mansion at Avex Honolulu Studios. Kanye and his crew reportedly worked on the album day in and day out. A total of $3M was spent for the creation of this album.


14. Untouchables by Korn (cost: $4M)

In 2002, Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis alongside Reginald Arvizu a.k.a Fieldy talked with Kerrang! Magazine regarding the making of their fifth album Untouchables. The pair admitted spending only $700,000 on the recording of the album but spent a total of $4,000,000 on production costs such as renting five $8,000-$10,000 houses for a number of months and their team’s salary.


13. Glitter by Mariah Carey ($28M)

In 2001, at the peak of her career, Mariah sealed a five-album $80M deal with Virgin records upon being released from her former label Columbiana Records for $20M. Glitter was her first album under Virgin Records. It was also the soundtrack of a film under the same name. Unfortunately, after much controversies, delays and negative reviews, both the film and album were, in a sense, flops. Virgin decided to release Carey from their $80M bond for $28M.


12. Invincible by Michael Jackson ($30M)

Invincible was deemed as the King of Pop’s comeback album in 2001. It was conveyed that Sony Music spent a total of $30M for the creation and production of this album, and it took about five years and around 50 to 87 songs before its completion. Unfortunately, despite selling millions of copies, it was not regarded as profitable. One factor that might contribute to this was that MJ refused to do the tour after the album’s release.



11. Garth Brooks in… The Life of Chris Graines by Chris Graines ($20M)

In an attempt to put a twist into his career, Garth Brooks decided to introduce his alter ego Chris Graines to the world. His record label Capitol Records spent around $15M in production and promotion. This album was however considered a failure. It only sold 2 million units, which is pretty low for Garth Brooks.


10. Yes Please! by The Happy Mondays (Bankrupt!)

The making of Yes Please! By Happy Mondays had a rough start and a problematic ending. It’s actually the last album that the band recorded under Factory Records. The very high production costs caused the label to go bankrupt.


9. Loveless by My Bloody Valentine (250,000 pounds)

This album was allegedly recorded and produced in just 5 days. However, with much yearning to make the album as perfect as possible, it was released after two and a half years causing the band to go way over budget and making Loveless one of the costliest albums ever made.


8. Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears ($1.5M)

The production costs of this album rose to a whopping $1.5M due to the approach that the band decided to take 10 months after the onset of its creation. They initially wanted to do what they usually do, record in a studio and use machines and sequencers. However, they decided to take things up a notch by trying to “produce the album themselves”. They ended up making a successful album four years later but unfortunately, also with a ton of debt.

7. Hysteria by Def Leppard ($4.5M)

The production of Hysteria by Def Leppard was so lengthy and expensive that it took the band years and a staggering $4.5M before it was finally finished. The band even faced a series of unfortunate and expensive events during the course of the creation of this album.

6. Gaucho by Steely Dan ($1.1M)

The cause of delay and the main reason for the inflation of this album’s production costs lied heavily on the band’s drug use and multiple lawsuits filed for several mishaps. Overall, an estimate of $1.1M was spent during the creation of this album.

5. Tusk by Fleetwood Mac ($1.4M)

A total of $1.4M was spent for the recording and production of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk. This was due to the fact that they had to custom built their studio because of being denied the privilege of buying one for their own.


4. One Way Ticket to Hell…and Back by The Darkness (1M pounds)

When you think you’ve heard of the most outrageous reasons for expenses to escalate, think again. One Way Ticket to Hell…and Back by The Darkness had simply undergone a complicated process that led them to trimming down 10,000 tracks to 10 songs.


3. A Night At The Opera by Queen (1975… 500,000 pounds at today’s rates)

A Night At The Opera by Queen is undoubtedly one of the most successful and classic albums of all time. Consequently, it was also regarded as being the most expensive albums made during the time of its debut. One reason for the rise of the costs was the hiring of hundreds of people to sing back-up vocals.

2. The SMiLE Sessions by The Beach Boys

In 1966, Brian Wilson, the record producer and co-founder of The Beach Boys, publicly announced their plans at a dinner party of making “a teenage symphony to God”. However, much to everyone’s dismay, the album did not come to life until 2004, which was reportedly due to Wilson’s drug problems and depression. The singer/songwriter’s eccentric demands during the whole creation process caused the production costs to fly off the roof.


1. Chinese Democracy by Guns N’ Roses ($13M)


Finally, on our top spot for the most expensive album of all time is Chinese Democracy by Guns N’ Roses. In seeking for perfection, it took the band a total of 14 years to complete their best record yet. This album took almost a decade and a half of intense creation, sending the bill to

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