Music streams can now go gold or platinum

Published February 2nd 2016

Historically in music, a gold or platinum certification has always defined the success of a song or album in sales. Gold represented 500,000 sales, platinum 1,000,000 and multi-platinum represented 2,000,000 and more.

Decreasing Music Sales

With the change in the music business decreasing record sales, the number of physical sales needed to be certified gold or platinum had become more difficult to reach over the years, so the RIAA had already started to include online sales. However, today, that’s not the best way to rate an artist´s success anymore either. It was time for the RIAA to make changes.

Increase In Music Streaming

Many sources have already reported that music streaming is on the rise. For Sony Music it´s even become 24% of their gross revenue income. Therefore it´s become too big to ignore, so effective immediately, the RIAA will include streams as well. They will include on-demand audio and video streams and have set the following formula to equal this to a physical sale:

1,500 on-demand audio and/or video song streams = 10 track sales = 1 album sale.

Digital Award Single Gets Updated Too

Their Digital Single Award ratio will be updated from 100 on-demand streams = 1 download to 150 on-demand streams = 1 download to reflect streaming’s enormous growth in the two plus years since that ratio was set.


RIAA certifications gets updated

Next Logical Step To Include Steams In Certification

In a press release, Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO for RIAA has been quoted to say:
“For nearly six decades, whether it’s vinyl, CDs, downloads or now streams, the Gold & Platinum Program has adapted to recognize the benchmarks of success in an evolving music marketplace . We know that music listening – for both for albums and songs – is skyrocketing, yet that trend has not been reflected in our album certifications.  Modernizing our Album Award to include music streaming is the next logical step in the continued evolution of Gold & Platinum Awards, and doing so enables RIAA to fully reward the success of artists’ albums today.”

17 Album Titles Get New Certifications

With the new certification formulas in place 17 titles were immediately certified accordingly:

  • Alt-J “An Awesome Wave” (Atlantic Records) Gold,
  • Big Sean “Dark Sky Paradise” (Def Jam Recordings) Platinum,
  • Brett Eldredge “Bring You Back” (Atlantic Nashville) Gold,
  • Coldplay “Ghost Stories” (Atlantic/Parlophone) Platinum,
  • Elle King “Love Stuff” (RCA) Gold,
  • Fifth Harmony “Reflection” (Epic) Gold,
  • Halsey “Badlands” (Astralwerks) Gold,
  • Hozier “Hozier” (Columbia) Platinum,
  • Kendrick Lamar “To Pimp a Butterfly” (Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope) Platinum,
  • Michael Jackson “Thriller” (Epic/Legacy) 32X Multi-Platinum,
  • Miranda Lambert “Platinum” (RCA Nashville) Platinum,
  • Romeo Santos “Fórmula Vol. 2” (Sony Latin) 11X Diamante/RIAA Latin G&P Program,
  • Sam Hunt “Montevallo” (MCA Nashville) 2X Multi-Platinum,
  • Shawn Mendes “Handwritten” (Island Records) Platinum,
  • The Weeknd “Beauty Behind the Madness” (XO/Republic Records) 2X Multi-Platinum,
  • Vance Joy “Dream Your life Away” (Atlantic Records) Gold and Wale “Ambition” (Atlantic Urban) Gold.
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