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Gold & Platinum News

Divas Rise In Fall

December 01, 2009
Taylor, Beyonce, Sara, & Whitney Net October's Big Brass, While Michael Jackson's Thriller Ties Eagles Greatest Hits For Best Selling Album of All Time

WASHINGTON – It’s been quite a year for Big Machine Records country sensation Taylor Swift. On the heels of her recent grand prize win as the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, Swift received the most Gold & Platinum certifications of any artist in October, according to the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) monthly G&P count.  

Taylor’s song “Love Story” sold more than four million singles and one million ringtones, while her ballads “You Belong With Me,” “Teardrops On My Guitar,” and “Our Song” were each downloaded more than two million times.  “Tim McGraw,” “White Horse,” “Should’ve Said No,” and “Picture To Burn” each scored one million downloads to tally Taylor’s monthly total at 15x Platinum!  On top of that, Taylor took three Gold single certs for “Fearless,” “You’re Not Sorry,” and “I’m Only Me When I’m With You.”  

Speaking of smash hits, Michael Jackson’s legendary album Thriller (Epic/Legacy, 1982) has now climbed to 29x Platinum to tie the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) as the highest certified album in RIAA Gold & Platinum history.  This extraordinary achievement by the King of Pop is a testament to his enduring legacy and the unequivocal imprint he has made on the world of music.

Also deserving kudos is fellow female recording artist Beyonce whose “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” and “If I Were A Boy” rose to 3x and 2x Platinum, respectively.  On the Gold single front, Ms. Knowles went on to earn her 12th for “Sweet Dreams.”  All three newly minted songs hail from B’s double-Platinum album I Am… Sasha Fierce (Columbia, 2008).  In addition, American singer and pianist Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song” (Epic, 2007) scored triple-Platinum rank – Bareilles’ highest RIAA certification yet.  And with her own Midas Touch, Whitney Houston took her highly anticipated I Look To You (Arista, 2009) Gold by selling more than 500,000 copies.  Whitney is the fourth highest-selling female artist of all time with certifications topping a whopping 54.5 million units.  


October’s highest album award – 8x Platinum – went to Nickelback’s All The Right Reasons, released on Roadrunner in 2005.  It is the Canadian rock group’s highest certified album (of six); coming in second is Silver Side Up (Roadrunner, 2001) at 6x Platinum.  Nickelback’s newest album, Dark Horse (Roadrunner, 2008), is currently 2x Platinum.

Confirmed: it is already beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  The second highest album certification in October – at 6x Platinum – went to The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole (Capitol, 1963).  The album, which went Gold in 1969, features Cole’s famous ballad of the same name plus other holiday favorites that keep fans purchasing the timeless tunes more than 40 years later.  In another sign of the joyous season to come, Adam Sandler’s comical “Chanukah Song” (Warner Bros., 1996) struck Gold as a digital single.  This is Sandler’s very first digital G&P award, while his four studio albums have collectively earned him four Gold and five Platinum awards.

Capitol Nashville country singer-songwriter-guitarist Keith Urban earned a timely sixth Gold album award for his sixth studio album Defying Gravity (March, 2009).  In addition, musical duo MGMT earned their first Gold award for their major label debut Oracular Spectacular, released in 2007 on Columbia.  This good news comes on the heels of three of the album’s singles –“Kids,” “Time To Pretend,” and “Electric Feel” – going Gold during the summer.  

Congratulations to Brooklyn rapper Maino who received his first RIAA Platinum award for "All the Above" (Atlantic, 2009) featuring T-Pain.  The song is off Maino’s first studio album If Tomorrow Comes....  Additional first Platinum single certs went to Reprise recording artist Josh Groban, Warner Bros. quartet Trapt, and MCA Nashville country singer Lee Ann Womack for their respective “You Raise Me Up,” “Headstrong,” and “I Hope You Dance.”

In addition, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” as performed by the soulful singing Fox television show “Glee” cast, has gone Gold for selling more than 500,000 copies.  The popular digital download hails from the show’s premiere soundtrack while the next album in the series, Glee: The Music, Volume 2, comes out on December 8.

A new plateau for Thriller was not the only musical milestone for Michael Jackson.  New additional RIAA certifications include Off The Wall (1979) at 8x Platinum, Number Ones (2003) at 3x Platinum, and The Essential Michael Jackson (2005) at a triple-threatening Gold, Platinum, and 2x Platinum as a multi-disc set.  Jackson also earned three Gold ringtone certifications for his songs “Beat It,” “Thriller,” and “Billie Jean.”

In October, the RIAA awarded a 54 total digital singles, 12 albums and two mastertones.  All certifications are calculated by Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman.  Complete lists of all album, single, mastertone and video awards can also be accessed at www.riaa.com.


The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy