In an uncommon move to tinker with the formula used to certify Gold and Platinum awards, the Recording Industry Association of America on Thursday announced it has started to incorporate on-demand streams towards its calculations for certifying the prestigious awards.
The change, only the fifth major alteration in the methodology since the inception of the program in 1958, is meant to recognize how important digital distribution has become and how technology has permanently altered the way people access music.
The last time the RIAA altered its methodology was in 2006, when it added master ringtones. Two years before that, the organization began counting digital downloads. And prior to that, CDs and cassette tapes were added to the mix. Otherwise, the formula for Gold and Platinum certifications remained largely untouched — 500,000 unit sales for Gold, 1 million for Platinum and 10 million for Diamond.
Among the on-demand streaming services the RIAA will accept are MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, Xbox Music and others. In addition, video streams from MTV.com, VEVO, Yahoo! Music and YouTube will also count. Under the new formula, the RIAA will distribute awards to 56 new titles, including 30 Seconds To Mars’s “This Is War,” Emeli Sandé’s “Next To Me,” and Cher Lloyd’s “Oath,” Thursday night at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers’ annual Musiz Biz conference in Los Angeles.
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