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RIAA adds streaming to digital gold and platinum certification

By | Published on Friday 10 May 2013


The Recording Industry Association Of America has announced that it will now count on-demand streaming data in its calculations for gold and platinum Digital Single Awards – which previously had been based on downloads only – 500,000 getting a gold, one million a platinum, and two million a multi-platinum prize.

In the new formulation, which apparently took a year to work out, a 100 streams of a song will be roughly equal to one download. In its announcement the RIAA said that this is “an approximate barometer of comparative consumer activity” and that “the financial value of streams and downloads were not factored into the equation”.

Amongst the streaming services the RIAA will take stats from are MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify and Xbox Music. Video streams from, Vevo, Yahoo! Music and YouTube will also be counted. At launch, with the numbers all re-crunched based on the new formula, 56 titles have now been upgraded – eleven to gold, eighteen platinum and 27 multi-platinum – with tracks by Avril Lavigne, One Direction, Frank Ocean, Michael Jackson and LMFAO all benefiting.

RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said in a statement: “Including music streaming in Gold and Platinum awards marks the continued evolution of the industry’s premiere program for recognising artistic achievement, and it reflects the wide spectrum of ways consumers enjoy music from their favourite bands. The music business, along with its incredible array of digital service partners, is offering fans more access to music than ever before. We’re thrilled that our awards will now more fully recognise artists’ commercial success today”.

Since the programme was launched in 1958, the RIAA’s certifications have only ever been awarded based on record sales (in various formats), so this move seems a strong comment on how music consumption has changed in the last decade. In fact, since 1958 there have been only five changes made to the programme at all – three of which took place in the last nine years (starting with the introduction of the Digital Single Award in 2004) – so that’s several comments on how much the industry has changed in the last decade. Heady days.