Looks like the digital revolution in music has forced another change in the way business is conducted for streaming media. With the new change in designation for Gold and Platinum sales by the Recording Industry Association of America, it is now easier to gain coveted status by including on-demand streaming in the calculation methods.
RIAA Announces Streaming Will Count Toward Platinum and Gold Certifications
Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, The Weeknd, more become platinum artists
By Jeremy Gordon on February 1, 2016
Since 1958, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has awarded platinum and gold certifications based on the quantity of albums sold by an artist. One million sold copies meant a record was platinum; half a million meant gold. Today, the RIAA announced a change in that methodology. Now, it will count on-demand audio and video streaming, along with the traditional album sales, in determining whether a record is platinum or gold.
One stream doesn't equal one sale, however. Instead, 1,500 on-demand audio or video streams will amount to one album sale. (On-demand streaming refers to the ability to choose what song you're listening to—services like Spotify and Apple Music, not internet radio sites like Pandora.) The RIAA's announcement didn't mention how these 1,500 streams will be tallied up—for example, whether one stream of a 17-song album will count the same as 17 streams of a single taken from the album.
Cary Sherman, CEO and chairman of the RIAA, spoke about the shift in a statement:
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.
To accompany the news, the RIAA announced that 17 artists have been award with newly designated gold or platinum records. Amongst those records, Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise, and Coldplay's Ghost Stories have been designated as platinum. Meanwhile, the Weeknd's Beauty Behind the Madness went double platinum.