RIAA Certifications: Streaming included on Albums awards


5. “One stream isn’t one sale, full stop!”

Nobody claimed it was. RIAA claims it requires 1,500 streams to equal 1 sale. This is a massive amount one has to listen to – something like listening to an album 100 hours in total. Is there someone really considering this a lesser commitment than putting a few bucks in?

6. “Viral videos will artificially inflate album sales”

Wrong. As stated by RIAA, “only official label/company videos count towards certification; user-generated videos do not“. Official music videos streams are obviously just as valid as music streams as many younger consumers prefer using Youtube than Spotify or so. This is again only a replacement consumption solution rather than a newly artificially created solution.

7. “Same consumption will be double-counted in singles and albums front”

True. Due to the in-between situation we are in, half physicals, half digitals, it turns out rather difficult to properly split each sale/stream into a category, namely Album or Single, that doesn’t necessarily has the same meaning on both eras. For now, there is no clarification on RIAA website on how they will be avoiding double counting. A quick explanation, a hit selling 5 million downloads will, as per current rules, be certified both as a 5x Platinum award for the single and as a Gold award for parent album (5 million / 10 = 500,000). When adding both Singles and Albums tallies into an artist results, this may lead to account the same sale two times, thus double counting.

Overreaction isn’t needed because of this flaw yet. Indeed, while RIAA doesn’t state a solution for this case it doesn’t mean there is none. They may be disallowing singles to be certified if sales and streams already audited as part of the parent album and vice-versa. Also, as soon as the situation will be definitely clear with mostly streaming resisting, this problem will disappear by itself. As there will be only 1 way of consumption, singles won’t exist anymore, an album and its songs will be seen as an overall franchise with all data being certified into it.

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!

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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