There once existed an era where obtaining a Gold and arguably Platinum record was a given for even the most modest of acts. Today, we see “A List” artists struggling to hit bronze. With 2016 nearing its end, only three acts (Drake, Beyoncé, and Rihanna) have reached Platinum status with their new releases; and even that count has been called into question (see: ‘ANTI,’ Samsung, and streaming).
As sales have dived, streaming has thrived – helping the U.S music business grow by 8.1% over the last year. And still, in the sea of changing rules and weekly revisions, it remains difficult to decipher who is dominating and whose success may be attributable to smoke and mirrors. Indeed, it’s now become commonplace for projects that have yet hit to hit Platinum in pure sales being certified double and even triple Platinum thanks to “other” factors.
A simple sign of changing consumption patterns? Perhaps. But what is becoming problematic is how said plaques are being used and arguably abused to market the meagre as major.
This reality has led some corners to call for the implementing of a Silver certification by the RIAA. It’s already a “thing” in large markets such as the U.K and we, here at TGJ, feel the States could benefit from the same.
Tune in after the jump to see what me mean…
Increasingly apparent is the fact the select few that can truly push album sales in today’s market. Beyond anomalies like Adele, we’ve seen many capitalize on crutches to push them over the Gold and Platinum goal post.
With the likes of YouTube views, streaming services, and album buyouts being utilized to stretch sales and chart placements, the “silver lining” seems but yet another handicap. It raises the question of whether these adjustments to the original formula are diluting the overall pride in achieving such feats.
For instance, one has to wonder how much of a “win” ‘ANTI’ is for Rihanna. Sure, it’s spawned a bevy of Billboard hit singles, but at just over 600,000 copies sold after 9 months, its 3x Platinum certification feels as real as an episode of ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians.’
The solution, from our vantage, point is simple. Introduce and popularize the Silver certification.
Beyond already being an active part of the award narrative in countless other countries, it could re-inject some much needed prestige into the US picture. The premise would be an unpretentious three-tier system comprised of Silver, Gold, and Platinum honors.
Conceptually, the idea would be for it to end the practice of over-keen teams veering beyond their means so as to present their artist as bigger than they are. Our Silver proposition will also provide acts the inspiration to work to clear each stage, rather than being handed one or both of the existing plaques prematurely. It would also re-garnish the Gold and Platinum awards with fresh respect after their recent tarnishing.
Advancing the idea, how awesome would it be if said Silver award could only be achieved by raw sales? It would appear more credible opposed to allowing all formats obtain the accomplishment. More than anything, it would placate those understandably displeased with the current climate.
It does beg the question, though…
Are certifications even necessary anymore? It’s proven that more people are willing to see an act live then to purchase their album; and that too could be a potential avenue to explore. Maybe ticket sales could somehow a new measure to consider. Or be formally rewarded?
With so few acts able to achieve today’s now-steep measures, there remains ample uncertainty surrounding the future of the Gold and Platinum plaques. Irrespective of whether a Silver cousin joins the fold or not.