Understanding: RIAA / Label audits – The case of Michael Jackson
It’s time for a little Thriller. Michael Jackson‘s Thriller. Among the big mysteries of charts and sales the most fundamental one is the true understanding of certifications. What better to put a hand on them than by studying carefully those of one of the biggest artists of all-time, in the biggest market of all!
The album Thriller is the highest certified album ever with 33 Platinum awards celebrating its 33 million sales in the country. This is Wikipedia-like information, e.g. information with relatively little value without a better understanding of it. In fact, the 33 million copies of Thriller do not represent the same thing as the 9 million copies certified of Off The Wall, themselves not representing the same as the 7 million units certified of HIStory. In reality we are comparing apples and oranges rather than sales.
Distinct rules aren’t the only limitations of RIAA awards. The awards weren’t all issued on the same date, so they cover sales from different time periods. Some awards were provided when overdue while others came years after the criteria was reached. Then, those awards work by a threshold, not providing us details in-between them.
What if we shine some light on those poorly understood areas? While doing so we will establish up to date sales of all the Epic released albums by Michael Jackson, which can only be seen as a positive consequence! No more talk, it’s time for raw data!
RIAA makes record labels pay for audits and membership having no set rate. Most labels have reportedly said less than 10% of their releases have been profitable. Same kind of goes for soundscan. How much are these figures subject to manipulation and/or estimation? I’ve also read where Soundscan doesn’t contact every retailer, just the ones they believe are enough to get a good sample for weighted averages, even among its members. For instance, instead of calling all the WalMart stores, they’d call 1 or 2 and calculate the rest based on how many were sold but give less weight to… Read more »
A time for an update MJD? Some of these albums were re-certfied last year.
double CDS count twice i wondered as a child that so many people bought MELLON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE .. by smashing pumpkins it was certified 10xPLATINUM =DIAMOND but albums that sold half were higher in the year end charts in the US than that album but as a teen i found out that sales were just 4,4 million and that it was counted twice in every article it is said that it was their breakthrough. but one moment. SIAMESE DREAM was released in 1993 and was certified 4xPLATINUM and sales stand at 4,6 million ridicolous On the other hand… Read more »