RIAA 2010 Country Certs

This year’s 2010 RIAA shipments report shows Nashville country artists accounting for about 20 million units in Gold and Platinum treasure. Leading the Row was Capitol Nashville with 5 million certifications (24%) and its flagship artist Lady Antebellum which contributed 4 million of its total. Arista and Big Machine each received 4 million certs or 20% of the RIAA shipments awards based upon sales. Arista’s tonnage came from Carrie, Alan, Brad and Brooks & Dunn, while Big Machine’s was all Taylor Swift. Mercury took control of 12% based upon sales from Sugarland, Billy Currington and Jamey Johnson. (See the pie chart for more details.)

Looking at the Sales By Artist graph, Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum were tied with 4 million each followed by Carrie Underwood (2) ZBB (1.5) and Sugarland (1.5). Swift’s Fearless got a 6 million award which was the highest Nashville artist multi-platinum cert. Lady A’s Need You Now was awarded for 3 million.

Methodology: RIAA Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum certifications are based upon shipments, not actual sales and are therefore different from SoundScan numbers which are based upon actual sales. RIAA Gold is 500,000, Platinum 1 million and then additional awards are in one million increments. If an artist gets a Gold and Platinum in the same year for the same album, we count it as one million units (not 1.5 million.) The first platinum certification gets a 500,000 tally, since that is what it needed to go beyond its Gold award. All multi-Platinum certs get credited for one million per award. Another detail is that in the case of catalog and older albums that received an award in 2010, not all the sales/shipments leading up to that award necessarily occurred in the same year.

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About the Author

David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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