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RIAA says 1500 streams equals one album sale, updates gold and platinum certifications

By | Published on Wednesday 3 February 2016


If you want a gold or platinum album in the US, you no longer have to rely on stupid old record sales anymore. Streaming will do the job just as well, as the Recording Industry Association Of America has updated its rules to include on-demand streams in its calculations for its sales awards. Yeah, we did that last June in the UK. Catch up America.

The benchmarks for each award still stand at 500,000 sales for gold and 1,000,000 sales for platinum. But under the new rules it has been decided that 1500 on-demand streams is the same as ten download track sales, which is clearly the same as one album sale.

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

Seventeen albums benefitted from the change in the rules as it was announced yesterday, including Alt-J, whose ‘An Awesome Wave’ album went gold, Coldplay, whose ‘Ghost Stories’ album went platinum, The Weeknd, whose ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’ album went double platinum, and Michael Jackson, whose ‘Thriller’ album is now 32 times platinum, which is just silly.

The rules for singles also changed yesterday, streaming having been added to the tally for the RIAA’s so called Digital Single Awards in 2013. To account for the increase in streaming since then, 150 streams will now equal one download sale, the figure previously having been 100.