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Certification Criteria

Gold & Platinum Awards are earned by artists who have met rigorous standards, and recipients join the ranks of the most iconic recording artists.

We take certification very seriously. Our third party auditing firm has reviewed all applications for more than 35 years to ensure that each award recipient has qualified based on mandatory requirements like requisite sales and streaming figures, consumer demand and much more.

Audit Requirements:



Requesting certification:

Along with minimum sales and streaming figures, a number of other criteria accompany each title considered for certification. The list and table below describe what titles and types of sales can be considered for the awards.

United States distribution:

Record labels are required to validate that titles redeemed through product sales/on-demand streams and counted towards certification have actually been distributed or downloaded within the United States.  Only domestic sales and sales to United States military post exchanges may be included.

Sales become eligible for certification:

  • 30 days after the initial street date (for albums/songs in physical product format) OR
  • At the initial release date (for albums/songs in digital product format).

Other sale requirements include:

  • Export sales outside of the United States are not included in certification.
  • The requesting label must separate PX sales from other accounts on sales sheets.


Initial pre-orders of digital albums are not counted towards certification. Pre-orders only count towards certification after the album is released to the public, and the consumer receives a copy of the digital album.

Bundles and product packaging:

Albums bundled with other products (e.g. concert tickets, merchandise, etc.) and sold to consumers can be eligible under RIAA’s Gold & Platinum Program if they meet the following requirements:

  • Sold at a minimum $6 premium per album when compared to the standalone product’s price.
    • Products bundled with two albums must be sold at a $12 premium, three must be sold at a $18 premium, etc.
    • This satisfies the existing dollar volume required of album certifications.
  • Accompanying products must be available for purchase separately.

Catalog product, specifically pre-1972 album releases, are eligible for certification by meeting either the unit shipment or manufacturer’s dollar requirement for each award level. The purpose of this rule is to make certain exceptions for older albums that have very little supporting documentation substantiating that they meet both the unit requirement and the dollar requirement. Without the rule, these titles would potentially be unable to meet the dollar requirement based on the limited documentation available from sales that occurred decades ago.

  • Club sales and club free goods may be included towards certification. Product shipped to retail, mail order, record clubs, TV marketing and other ancillary markets are combined toward certified sales. All shipments to these accounts must be verified by the label.
  • Promotional radio and press copies, cut-outs, inventory sell-offs and surplus sales are not included toward certification.