The declaration of a ‘Gold’ or ‘Platinum” album by the Recording Industry Association of America is perhaps one of the biggest honors an album or record can be given. Albums have traditionally fallen into this category based on how many copies have been bought by the general public. Today, the RIAA flipped that idea on its head, and officially introduced streaming into the equation.
The RIAA including album streams in the total sales count has already caused quite the stir in the musician community, and that lash back will undoubtedly continue from some. A record becomes ‘Gold’ when it has been purchased 500,000 times, and becomes ‘Platinum’ when that number doubles up to one million. The list of Platinum albums is hardly long, so it comes as no surprise that the artists that have joined this exclusive club feel slighted by this new development. Notably, Kendrick Lamar’s camp spoke out against the change today on Twitter, stating that they will not consider Kendrick’s latest, To Pimp A Butterfly, Platinum until it reaches the official sales numbers.
It must be noted, though, that these numbers do not correlate 1:1. Rather, a total of 1500 record streams will be considered just one sale. When viewed in this light, the news certainly tells a different story; it would take an artist 1.5 billion streams to reach that Platinum certificate on those plays alone. Regardless, the new measurements will surely take some getting used to.
From the fan’s perspective, this simply means that streaming music via various sources will not be depriving the artist of potential awards. It also indicates that we will see a slew of albums previously unrecognized by the RIAA turn Gold, or even Platinum. You will surely hear some debate over the hot topic in the coming days, but we doubt the controversy will last. Streaming is here to stay, and the RIAA knows it – and now they recognize it.