Gold, platinum and diamond record sales awards are certified in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA is a trade association made up of U.S. record companies.
Gold Record Awards were established by the RIAA in 1958. Platinum Awards were added in 1976, multi-platinum awards in 1984 and diamond awards in 1999. Digital download awards were instituted in 2004. These awards apply to sales of singles, albums and mutli-disc sets only within the United States.
The criteria for certifying records has been revised several times to reflect changes in the industry. All awards are certified in an independent sales audit of an album or single under consideration. The current standards are:
Single: 500,000 copes sold
Album: 500,000 copies sold with $1million in sales at the manufacturer’s wholesale price
Multi-disc set*: 500,000 units sold with $2 million in net sales
Single: 2 million copies sold
Album: 1 million copies sold with $2 million in sales at the manufacturer’s wholesale price
Multi-disc set: 1 million units with $4 million in sales at the manufacturer’s wholesale price
Single: more than 2 million copies sold
Album: more than 2 million copies sold
Multi-disc set: more than 1 million units sold at a value of $6 million
U.S. sales of more than 10 million units for a single title
400,000 downloads then in increments of 200,000
* Multi-disc sets have two or more CDs (or their equivalent in vinyl or cassette) with a running time of 100+ minutes. Each “unit” within a set is counted separately. Thus, a 4 CD mult-disc set counts as “4 unites”. For releases prior to 1982, running time is not a consideration.
Related EC FAQ Entry:
Eric Clapton’s Gold / Platinum / Multi-Platinum / Diamond Record Awards
Information herein provided courtesy of the Recording Industry Association Of America