Friday, May 10, 2013

RIAA attempt to embrace Spotify

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.

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.
This isn't really about legitimacy being given to streaming; it's more about the RIAA trying to carve itself out a role.

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?