The decision by the RIAA to include streaming in gold and platinum certification is interesting, but not for the reasons the RIAA think.
Music Week explains how it'll work:
After a year-long project by the RIAA, the organisation will now recognise the non-sales format (in audio and/or video) for the first time ever in its 55-year history that will go towards amounts calculated for G&P’s Digital Single Award certification.This isn't really about legitimacy being given to streaming; it's more about the RIAA trying to carve itself out a role.
Within the new approach includes the formula of 100 streams being equivalent to one download.
Fifty-six certifications were given following the new rules for the Digital Single Award with 11 Gold, 18 Platinum and 27 multi-Platinum new 'combined' Digital Single Awards counting both downloads and streams.
Did anyone have any problems with streaming not getting a randomly-assigned status from a self-appointed body before? The coverage of, say, Psy's massive YouTube numbers manages to survive quite well without the need to have Cary Sherman shout "that's equivalent to a platinum-studded-with-emerald disc, that is" over the top of the numbers. The metrics are all out in the open; why do we need a third party to use a periodic-table-based code to try and teach us that a million is a lot?
There's an added complication; historically, the silver, gold and platinum statuses have been conferred on shipments, rather than sales; wholesale orders rather than retail purchases. These digital prizes, though, are triggered by consumer behaviour.
While that's understandable - something on YouTube effectively has 'shipped' forty quintrillion plays - it's not comparing like with like, is it?