With streaming being such a prominent way to hear new music these days, it’s been quite unclear how it should factor into an artist’s album sales. With subscription based services such as TIDAL, Apple Music and Spotify, fans are able to listen to music as much as they want without having to purchase the actual album. The RIAA has come up with a new algorithm and it’s helping to boost artists to platinum status — just ask Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean.
The RIAA announced its new formula on February 1st. “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.”
From here on out 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video song streams = 10 track sales = 1 album sale. Also effective today, RIAA’s Digital Single Award ratio will be updated from 100 on-demand streams = 1 download to 150 on-demand streams = 1 download to reflect streaming’s enormous growth in the two plus years since that ratio was set.
The new formula means that Big Sean’s “Dark Sky Paradise” and Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” are now certified Platinum by the RIAA. Michael Jackson is 32x Platinum, The Weeknd’s “Beauty Behind the Madness” is 2x Platinum and pop girl group Fifth Harmony’s “Reflection” album is now certified Gold.