When Jay-Z took the pop culture world by storm, announcing his twelfth studio-album, Magna Carter Holy Grail during Game 5 of the NBA Finals in what became a series of Samsungs ads, he also challenged the music industry to catch up with the digital world. He issued a challenge to Billboard (who wouldn't report his album sales) and claimed platinum status anyway.
His direction was once again on point. Citing Jay-Z's business deal with Samsung, the RIAA wrote a blog post saying they would change their classifications for measuring album sales, as well.
We think it’s time for the RIAA – and Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman – to align our digital song and album certification requirements. That’s why today we are officially updating this rule in our G&P Program requirements. Going forward, sales of albums in digital format will become eligible on the release date, while sales of albums in physical format will still become eligible for certification 30 days after the release date.
Not only do we believe it’s sensible and logical to align digital album rules with those we have maintained for digital singles since the program’s inception, we also consider today’s move in line with our larger efforts to modernize the G&P Program to reflect the new music marketplace. In May we announced the integration of on-demand streams to the program to more broadly recognize online demand for songs.
The reality is that how fans consume music is changing, the music business is changing as labels and artists partner with a breathtaking array of new technology services, and the industry’s premier award recognizing artists’ commercial achievement should similarly keep pace. In short, we’re continuing to move the 55-year-old program forward and it’s a good day when music sales diversification and innovative strategies meet the RIAA’s time-tested, gold standard requisites for certification.