The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced today that it will count streams towards album certifications, the first change to the program since 2013 when digital singles were included.
“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,” Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO, RIAA, says in a statement. “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.”
Per the release: After a comprehensive analysis of a variety of factors – including streaming and download consumption patterns and historical impact on the program – and also consultation with a myriad of industry colleagues, the RIAA set the new Album Award formula of 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video song streams = 10 track sales = 1 album sale. Also effective today, RIAA’s 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.
The RIAA coupled the announcement with the certification of a number of albums as dictated by their streaming numbers; in the country world, Brett Eldredge’s Bring You Back became certified Gold, Miranda Lambert’s Platinum Platinum, and Sam Hunt’s Montevallo 2X Platinum. Other notable certifications include Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which became 32X Platinum.
The Gold & Platinum Awards program was created by the RIAA in 1958 to commemorate the commercial success of record sales and to honor the artists with those recordings. First awarded to LP’s, the qualifying forms of sale grew to include cassette tapes, CDs, ringtones, and digital sales, as well as today’s announcement of streams.