RIAA Certifications: Streaming included on Albums awards


Knowledge is Power

1. What is it about?

Before commenting, we need to detail what’s the exact subject. RIAA announcement focuses on streaming of tracks counted as part of Albums certifications, but song sales are being added as well. Below is the exact quote from RIAA website:

“The new Album Award counts album sales, song sales and on-demand audio and/or video song streams at the formula of 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video song streams = 10 track sales = 1 album sale.”
2. Are changes retrospective?

Yes. As always, new rules of RIAA can be applied to old releases. Most notable case happening today itself is the historical 32x Platinum award received by the bestselling album of all-time, Michael Jackson‘s Thriller.

3. Are songs certified as part of both studio and greatest hits albums?

No. Song downloads and streams may be counted as part of a studio album or a greatest hits album, but not as part of both. It is up to the label to define which album will be receiving each songs’ results. For song downloads and streams tracked before the greatest hits release, they can only be certified as part of the studio album. The RIAA clarified this doubt on its requirements document:

“For certifications for Greatest Hit albums, only track sales and streams that occur after Greatest Hits albums’ release date can count towards RIAA album certifications. If the label chooses to have track sales and streams applied towards Greatest Hits certifications, then those track sales and streams are precluded from future inclusion in the original studio album. The RIAA and GR&F will require labels to confirm in writing that no track sales and streams are counted towards both a studio album and a Greatest Hits album, and the RIAA and GR&F may request additional testing of system reports to ensure validity. Due to the complicated nature of monitoring whether a track sale and/or stream has already been considered for album certification, Greatest Hits audits may require significant delays in the certification process.”

As for compilations not specific to artists, like Now series, downloads and streams of its songs are not eligible on its own certification as soon as they have been part of an artist release already.

2 thoughts on “RIAA Certifications: Streaming included on Albums awards”

  1. Hi MJD, What about GHs albums? How do they know which GH to credit the streams to when an artist has more than 2 compilation albums?

    1. Hello Jeff!
      Very good point you end up raising – I added section 3 on page 2 to answer it. To summarize, when a song appear on several albums of an artist, it is up to the label to decide on which package its results must be attributed. If they will tend to elect the largest selling compilation or the newest one has yet to be seen!

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