RIAA To Include Digital Streams In Counts Toward Gold & Platinum Albums

The RIAA isn't an entity that's looked fondly upon by many consumers, given that they've been pretty bent on making it difficult for consumers looking to purchase music legally in the digital age. Granted, we're (mostly) out of the DRM era, but those memories remain for many. Despite that, the RIAA is still an important association in the grand scheme of the music universe, particularly when it comes to counting sales and pointing to albums and artists having the broadest impact. In a move that shows the association becoming more at peace with the digital shift, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today announced the integration of streams to its historic Gold & Platinum (G&P) Program. 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.

It's a huge step in acknowledging that the universe is changing, and the way we consume digital content is as well. One has to wonder how long before the majority of streams override the majority of physical purchases en route to a Gold album -- can't be long now, uh?