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BPI launches new award for artists that achieve a billion UK streams

By | Published on Friday 16 December 2022

BRIT Billion

UK record industry trade group BPI has announced it is launching a new strand to its BRIT Certified scheme, that being the programme that declares albums silver, gold or platinum.

Though the new element – which will see the presentation of an all-new BRIT Billion award – will celebrate the career-long achievements of artists, in that it will be presented to acts whose tracks have been streamed more than a billion times in the UK.

The BRIT Billion award will launch in the spring, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the BPI and its certifications programme. And just to clarify, although the award is called the BRIT Billion, the classic British definition of a billion – ie a million million – is not being employed. They mean a thousand million. Look, the actual physical award even specifically says so.

To be fair, the UK government formally adopted what was actually the US definition of a billion the year after the BPI launched. Then Prime Minister Harold Wilson declared: “The word ‘billion’ is now used internationally to mean 1000 million and it would be confusing if British ministers were to use it in any other sense”. And if it’s good enough for Wilson, it’s good enough for me.

Anyway, here’s outgoing BPI boss Geoff Taylor following Wilson’s lead when he use’s the ‘billion’ word: “With total weekly audio streams in the UK now regularly exceeding the three billion mark, it seems an appropriate moment to recognise exceptional artist achievement through streaming, as the primary currency for recorded music”.

The new BRIT Billion prize, he adds, “will sit alongside our existing Certified Awards, giving artists and their label and management teams the special opportunity to celebrate outstanding UK career success in streaming, and the valued contribution they have made to British music”.