The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today announced the integration of streams to its historic Gold & Platinum (G&P) Program, the industry’s premier award for recognizing artistic achievement in the marketplace. On-demand audio and/or video song streams will now be counted towards the 500,000 (Gold), 1,000,000 (Platinum) and 2,000,000 plus (multi-Platinum) thresholds required for G&P’s Digital Single Award certification.
56 titles, encompassing songs from dozens of music labels and spanning many musical genres, are included in the inaugural certifications for the newly expanded Digital Single Award. Specifically, the RIAA is awarding 11 Gold, 18 Platinum and 27 multi-Platinum new “combined” Digital Single Awards counting both downloads and streams. This includes streams from on-demand services like MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, Xbox Music and others, plus video streaming services like MTV.com, VEVO, Yahoo! Music, YouTube and more.
Including music streaming in Gold & Platinum awards marks the continued evolution of the industry’s premier program for recognizing artistic achievement, and it reflects the wide spectrum of ways consumers enjoy music from their favorite bands,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO, RIAA. “The music business, along with its incredible array of digital service partners, is offering fans more access to music than ever before. We’re thrilled that our awards will now more fully recognize artists’ commercial success today.
With the launch of the new program, RIAA today is awarding the following artists/songs with new certifications: 30 Seconds To Mars/”This Is War,” Adele/”Rolling in the Deep, “Aerosmith/”I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” Andy Grammer/”Keep Your Head Up,” Anna Kendrick/”Cups,” Avril Lavigne/”Smile,” Ca$h Out/”Cashin’ Out,” Carly Rae Jepsen/”Call Me Maybe,” Carrie Underwood/”Before He Cheats,” Cher Lloyd/”Oath,” Don Omar/”Danza Kuduro,” Drake/”Started from The Bottom,” Emeli Sandé/”Next To Me,” Eminem/”Love The Way You Lie,” Frank Ocean/”Thinkin Bout You,” Gym Class Heroes feat. Ryan Tedder/”The Fighter,” Imagine Dragons/”Radioactive,” J. Cole/”Workout,” Jake Owen/”Alone With You” and “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” Jason Derulo/”Watcha Say” and “Ridin’ Solo,” Josh Turner/”Why Don’t We Just Dance,” Journey/”Don’t Stop Believin,’” Juanes/”La Camisa Negra,” Justin Bieber/”Baby,” Justin Timberlake/”Suit & Tie,” Kansas/”Dust In The Wind,” Kanye West/”Stronger,” Kelly Clarkson/”Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Kelly Rowland/”Motivation,” Kendrick Lamar/”Poetic Justice,” Kenny Chesney/”The Boys Of Fall,” Lady Gaga/”Bad Romance,” Lana Del Rey/”Video Games,” LMFAO/”Sexy And I Know It,” M83/”Midnight City,” Michael Jackson/”Billie Jean,” Of Monsters And Men/”Little Talks,” Olly Murs/”Troublemaker,” One Direction/”Little Things,” P!nk feat. Nate Ruess/”Just Give Me A Reason,” Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera/”Feel This Moment,” Rihanna/”We Found Love,” Robin Thicke/”Lost Without U,” Selena Gomez & The Scene/”Love You Like A Love Song,” The Black Keys/”Lonely Boy,” The Fray/ “Over My Head (Cable Car),” The Script/”The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” The Weeknd/”Wicked Games,” Toby Keith/”Beers Ago,” Train/”Drive By,” Usher/”Scream,” Whitney Houston/”I Will Always Love You,” Will.i.am/”Scream & Shout” and Wisin & Yandel/”Follow The Leader.”
This new expansion of the G&P Program – the approach, methodology and formula – was the culmination of a year-long project by the RIAA, led by Sherman, and a variety of label marketing, business and data analysis executives, in which the RIAA examined comprehensive information comparing data on digital downloads to similar data on on-demand audio and video streams. The RIAA also closely consulted with NARM/digitalmusic.org, many digital music services, artist managers and industry leaders. It is important to note the new certification approach, including the formula of 100 streams being equivalent to one download, is an approximate barometer of comparative consumer activity; the financial value of streams and downloads were not factored into the equation.
Notably, the following 11 artists are receiving their first-ever RIAA digital song certifications due to streaming’s inclusion to the program: 30 Seconds To Mars /“This Is War” at Gold, Aerosmith/“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” at Platinum, Andy Grammer/“Keep Your Head Up” at Platinum, Anna Kendrick/“Cups” at Gold, Emeli Sandé/“Next to Me” at Gold, Juanes/“La Camisa Negra” at Gold, Lana Del Rey/“Video Games” at Gold, Robin Thicke/“Lost Without U” at Platinum, The Weeknd/“Wicked Games” at Gold, Whitney Houston/”I Will Always Love You” at 2x multi-Platinum and Wisin & Yandel/“Follow The Leader at Gold.
Tonight, Emeli Sandé, Cher Lloyd and Jason Derulo will pick up inaugural “combined” Digital Single Awards during a red-carpet event at the NARM and digitalmusic.org Music Biz conference, held at Los Angeles’ Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. Capitol Records singer Sandé will receive her first-ever RIAA Gold award for “Next To Me,” Epic Records artist Lloyd her second RIAA Gold for “Oath” (“Want U Back” is currently RIAA 2x multi-Platinum) and Warner Bros. Records musician Derulo will take home his top RIAA award yet – a 4x multi-Platinum for “Watcha Say” – in addition to a 3x multi-Platinum for “Ridin’ Solo.”
Jim Donio, President of music business association NARM commented, “Getting streams included in the RIAA’s Gold and Platinum Awards certification has been a top agenda item for all of the member music services who participate in our digitalmusic.org Music Subscription Work Group. They are especially pleased to see these collaborative efforts come to fruition, and for music fan’s streaming activity be measured and recognized by the G&P Awards, one of the most important milestones in an artist’s career. Over the past few years, our members have also worked on related initiatives such as the creation of the first On Demand Songs Chart with Billboard and Nielsen, and we will continue to work with the RIAA and others as our industry evolves in the digital era.”
On-demand streams on digital music services that are authorized by and reported to the record labels, whether paid for by the consumer through a subscription or free to the consumer through ad-supported services, will be accepted for RIAA certifications. Only official label/company videos count towards certification; user generated videos do not. Whymusicmatters.com, a joint initiative of the RIAA, NARM, and digitalmusic.org, lists the leading authorized music services in the United States.
The RIAA developed its Gold & Platinum Awards Program in 1958 to honor artists and create a standard by which to measure the commercial success of a sound recording. The program trademarked the Gold record and formalized the industry practice of presenting awards to artists for music sales achievements.
First awarded to LP recordings but expanded to a number of formats overtime to include cassette tapes, CDs, digital tracks, digital albums, ringtones, and now streams, more than 14,000 titles have been certified by the RIAA during the last 55 years.
All certifications are calculated by the firm Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, which has audited title sales for the RIAA for more than 30 years. Complete lists of all album, single, mastertone and video awards can also be accessed at riaa.com, while new and notable program news can be found at facebook.com/GoldandPlatinum.
RIAA G&P TIMELINE
1958 Program launched by the RIAA to honor artists and create a standard by which to measure sales of a sound recording. First Gold song certification goes to Perry Como for his single “Catch a Falling Star” (RCA Records). First Gold album certification awarded to the cast album to “Oklahoma!” sung by Gordon MacRae (Capitol).
1964 The Beatles earn their first Gold album certification for “Meet The Beatles!” (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol). Today the band is the most awarded in G&P history having certified 199 million units across all formats.
1999 Diamond Award established to honor sales of 10 million copies or more of an album or single.
2004 Digital Sales Award introduced in recognition of the significant sales of emerging digital music formats.
2005 First Platinum Digital Single Award goes to Gwen Stefani for her “Hollaback Girl” (Interscope) selling more than one million downloads.
2006 Master Ringtone Award introduced to recognize the growing popularity of enjoying music through cell phones.
2009 Michael Jackson’s legendary album “Thriller” (Epic/Legacy) certifies 29x multi-Platinum to join the Eagles’ “Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975”
(Elektra/Warner Bros.) as the highest album certification in G&P history. Lil Wayne’s ringtone “Lollipop” (Cash Money) becomes the highest certified ringtone to date at 5x multi-Platinum.
2012 The Black Eyed Peas earn RIAA’s highest digital single certification ever upon certifying “I Gotta Feeling” (Interscope) 8x multi-Platinum.
2013 “Combined” Digital Single Award launches, counting both downloads and on-demand streams in recognition of the increasing popularity of streaming as a method of music listening.