Traditionally, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has awarded platinum and gold certifications on the back of how many albums an artist sells. Platinum denotes one million sales. and gold, half a million.
But in an effort to teach an old dog new tricks, the RIAA will now count on-demand audio and video streaming as well as album sales in dictating an album’s destiny. However, it’s not a case of one for one, in a mathematical mind-bend – 1,500 on-demand audio/video streams will now count as a single album sale.
RIAA’s CEO, Cary Sherman, acknowledges that with on-demand listening going through the roof, the inclusion is the next step in reframing the ‘success’ of an album today. Riding the wave of this musical shift, 17 artists have been announced as gold or platinum including Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and (regrettably) Coldplay’s Ghost Stories.