To align its Gold and Platinum Certifications with actual listening trends, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has announced the inclusion of on-demand audio and video streams in its Gold and Platinum Program. It has become impossible to discuss the music industry without discussing streaming – the phenomenon that has revolutionized music consumption and disrupted the entire industry. The RIAA latest announcement is no exception to the trend. Gold and Platinum Certifications have been a long-respected measure of artists’ success in the music industry. However, as revenue from streaming overtakes digital downloads, a Program that ignores streaming figures does not accurately reflect an Album’s success with listeners. In this context, the announcement seems almost inevitable. The RIAA’s willingness to modernize the Gold and Platinum Program is no surprise, as it has counted on-demand audio streaming towards its Digital Singles Award since 2013. Since the expansion, seventeen albums have been newly certified as either Gold or Platinum. Notable albums include Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” and Rihanna’s newly released “Anti.” While most applaud the change, some have complained that including streaming makes it too easy to qualify for Certification and is akin to “cheating.”
Regardless of opinion, this move by the RIAA is further confirmation that streaming is here to stay. Learn more about this story here
Jennifer Marr is an Entertainment and Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2018).