Gold and Platinum Awards
By Patrick Mondout
Like most entertainment industries, the music industry absolutely loves
to heaps tons of awards upon itself. In 1958, the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA), which has fast become the evil corporate
enemy of Generation Y for filing lawsuits against online music traders,
introduced the "Gold record" award for $1
million in album sales based on the manufacturer's wholesale
price. The Gold single signifies one million copies sold.
In 1975, with album prices more than triple there
1958 levels and Gold albums about as easy to get as VD at a hooker's
convention, the qualifications for album certification were strengthened
to require that a Gold album also sell a minimum of 500,000 copies
in addition to reaching $1 million in sales. The next year, the Platinum
award was introduced for 1 million copies sold, with $2
million in sales at the manufacturer's wholesale price. The Platinum
single is awarded for two million copies sold. The Eagles'
"Greatest Hits 1971-1975" was the first Platinum album certified
by the RIAA and Johnny Taylor's "Disco Lady" was the first
new standards were set for multi-albums of three or vinyl
sets or the tape/CD equivalent (counted as one unit). Gold
multi-album status was awarded for 250,000 copies sold, and $2
million in sales. Platinum multi-albums were
awarded for 500,000 copies sold, with $4 million in sales.
In December 1984,
the RIAA introduced the Multi-Platinum category. The
switch from 8-tracks and vinyl to cassettes and compact discs, which
caused everyone to buy at least one more copy of each of their favorite
titles, led to the implementation of this award for sales of two million
copies or more. Certified at 20 million, Michael Jackson's Thriller
was one of the first Multi-Platinum awards presented. It remains the top
certified album of all time, with 25 million copies sold in the United
States. Prince's When
Doves Cry becomes the first Multi-Platinum single by August, 1984.
As sales of singles continued a decade-long decline, Gold
single certification was reduced in 1989
to sales of a mere 500,000 units, making it twice as easy as
before to get a Gold record.
About Our Figures
First, Motown for whatever reason did not submit figures for their
recordings for many years, so bestselling artists like Stevie Wonder
should have more sales to their credit. Second, the figures were gathered
in early 2000 and in late 2003 and will not be updated.