RIAA Updates Gold and Platinum Rules

riaalogoThe RIAA has updated the rules of its G&P Program. Going forward, sales of digital albums will become eligible for certification on their release date, instead of having to wait 30 days, as was previously required.

Sales of albums in physical format will still become eligible for certification 30 days after the release date. The 30-day rule exists to take into account potential returns of physical product – CDs, cassettes, vinyl, etc.—that could be shipped to brick and mortar retailers and returned.

The Digital Single Award, created in 2004, does not include the 30-day rule because there are very few digital returns.

The RIAA says the re-examination of the digital album sales was prompted by the recent Jay-Z/Samsung promotion, in which the electronics company purchased one million digital copies of the rapper’s Magna Carta Holy Grail to give away to its customers. The deal stimulated industry conversation about the sale’s meaning and implications for the modern music business. Billboard did not count the one million units because they were free and therefore didn’t meet the $3.49 threshold.


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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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