RIAA Changes Album Award Methodology For Gold & Platinum Program


The Recording Industry Association of America has changed its Album Award methodology to include on-demand audio and video streams, as well as a track sale equivalent, in its Gold & Platinum Album Award. The updating of the program’s album process follows similar updates made to digital single certifications in 2013, when the RIAA added on-demand streams to its Digital Single Award.

Going forward, the program’s benchmarks for Gold (500,000), Platinum (1,000,000) and multi-Platinum (2,000,000) will count both sales and streams for single and album certifications. 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video song streams will equal 10 track sales, or 1 album sale. The RIAA’s Digital Single Award ratio will also be updated from 100 on-demand streams equals 1 download, to become 150 on-demand streams equals one download, to reflect the growth of streaming in the past two-plus years since the ratio was set.

“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,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO, RIAA. “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.”

With the newly expanded Album Award methodology comes inaugural certifications for several artists, across multiple genres. Country artists Brett Eldredge and Sam Hunt are among the first to benefit, with Eldredge’s “Bring You Back” (Atlantic Nashville) earning Gold status, and Sam Hunt’s MCA Nashville release Montevallo earning 2x Multi-Platinum.


Additional new certifications include:

Alt-J “An Awesome Wave” (Atlantic Records) Gold

Big Sean “Dark Sky Paradise” (Def Jam Recordings) Platinum

Coldplay “Ghost Stories” (Atlantic/Parlophone) Platinum

Elle King “Love Stuff” (RCA) Gold

Fifth Harmony “Reflection” (Epic) Gold

Halsey “Badlands” (Astralwerks) Gold

Hozier “Hozier” (Columbia) Platinum

Kendrick Lamar “To Pimp a Butterfly” (Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope) Platinum

Michael Jackson “Thriller” (Epic/Legacy) 32X Multi-Platinum

Miranda Lambert “Platinum” (RCA Nashville) Platinum

Romeo Santos “Fórmula Vol. 2” (Sony Latin) 11X Diamante/RIAA Latin G&P Program

Shawn Mendes “Handwritten” (Island Records) Platinum

The Weeknd “Beauty Behind the Madness” (XO/Republic Records) 2X Multi-Platinum

Vance Joy “Dream Your life Away” (Atlantic Records) Gold

Wale “Ambition” (Atlantic Urban) Gold.



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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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