An artist’s Gold® or Platinum® award represents sales and on-demand streams made through digital and physical retailers that legitimately distribute recorded music.
RIAA AND GR&F CERTIFICATION AUDIT REQUIREMENTS – RIAA ALBUM AWARD
RIAA AND GR&F CERTIFICATION AUDIT REQUIREMENTS – RIAA SINGLE AWARD
Certification Application Process:
1. All requests for RIAA Gold & Platinum Program certifications should be sent to email@example.com for approval with the following information filled out in the RIAA – Certification Request Excel (available to download here). All required information must be complete in the Excel for a certification request to be accepted by the RIAA.
2. Please familiarize yourself with the Glossary tab in the Excel document and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
3. Beginning with the Contact Info sheet, please fill out every field. The Requested By information is the point of contact during the certification process for any questions from either the RIAA or our auditors. If the Billing Contact and Requested By contact are the same person, please enter the information in both fields. Please note, only one invoice will be generated per request template. If you need multiple invoices for multiple artists, you will need to submit multiple Excel templates.
On the Certification Request sheet, please fill out every field. If you have any questions about what information is required for the field, you can refer to either the Glossary sheet or the hover box that appears when the header field is selected. Please select the highest Certification Status Level that you are requesting (Gold, Platinum, or Multi-Platinum) as well as listing the Requested Level (0.5 for Gold/Oro, 1 for Platinum/Platino, 2 or higher for the requested level of Multi-Platinum/Multi-Platino). Please note, when calculating the Requested Level for a Latin certification, the Latin thresholds are different/lower, and can be found at riaa.com/gold-platinum/about-awards or on the Glossary sheet of the request template.
If you are unsure of if your title has been certified before, you can check the riaa.com/gold-platinum database. Please note, any certifications your label has asked to embargo will not appear on the riaa.com website until the label contact requests them to be included. If you would like your certification to remain hidden from our website upon completion of audit, please select YES in the Hidden column.
If every field is not correctly completed on the request form, your request will not be approved and you will be notified by a representative from the RIAA.
You may submit multiple Titles for certification on the request template and receive a bulk discount. The discount only applies to Titles that have the same billing contact, are submitted on one request, and can be on one invoice. For more information on the bulk discount, please email email@example.com.
4. Please copy our Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman (GR&F) auditors on all certification correspondence. If you are on the east coast, please email copy RIAAEastCoast@grfllp.com. If you are on the West Coast, please email copy RIAAWestCoast@grfllp.com.
- All supporting documentation must be provided to both the RIAA and GR&F when submitting the RIAA Certification Request Template.
Supporting Documentation includes the following:
- Sales Report
- Directly from the Sales System – Domestic Shipments Only, Net of Returns
- If Excel data is provided as sales support please provide a Screen shot of the Sales System, as well.
*Sales Reports may be subject to additional testing at the auditor’s discretion
- Label Copies for all UPC’s (Album requests) or ISRC’s (Digital Single requests). Sometimes referred to as a ‘one-sheet,’ ‘white sheet,’ ‘product report,’ or ‘product metadata,’ a label copy is a report for every UPC/ISRC containing information about the album or track, such as: Artist, Title, Version Description (e.g. Album, Radio Edit, Remix, Live, Acoustic, etc.), Product Number (UPC/ISRC), Runtime, Credits, etc.
- Copy of the Physical Product (if applicable) OR digital files of tracks/albums sent via email.
East Coast GR&F:
Gelfand Rennert & Feldman, LLC
Attn: Michael Obrycki
149 5th Avenue, Suite 1101
New York, NY 10010
West Coast GR&F:
Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, LLC
Attn: Paul Fischer
1880 Century Park East, #1600
Los Angeles, CA 90067
RIAA, Attn: Erin Burr
1000 F St NW, 2nd floor
Washington, DC 20004
Once all required documentation is provided, the RIAA will approve your request for certification by emailing you and our GR&F auditors to proceed with the audit process.
Have questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All RIAA Awards dating back to 1958 are available to view at riaa.com/gold-platinum.
Any artist, label, or other affiliated party who contributed to an RIAA certified title (riaa.com/gold-platinum/) and would like to obtain a physical plaque can do so. Our licensed framers have exclusive rights to prepare our official awards, which bear a specialized RIAA hologram, and they can work on your behalf to help obtain the record label authorization required for a plaque to be made for you. This authorization must come from the certified title’s music label, which must authorize plaque orders before they can be manufactured. Once an order has been approved, the licensed framer can work with you to determine the design and quantity of awards. RIAA does not limit the amount of plaques a music label or artist can create, nor do we provide information on the number of plaques produced (if any) for a particular project. Please reach out to any of the following licensed RIAA award manufacturers to learn more:
- Dejay Gold/Products; Seattle, WA
- Jewel Box Platinum; Inglewood, CA
- Metro Pro LLC; Pine Brook, NJ
- The Award Group; New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Virginia, Florida
Please note that RIAA is unable to authenticate any existing physical plaque/award, but you can always verify whether or not a title is certified using our database.
We regularly work with our member companies and outside agencies to ensure that counterfeits are not readily available on the market. Working together with Sotheby’s and other auction houses and in coordination with our anti-piracy division, RIAA has been able to identify and remove unauthorized awards from auction. If you believe you have located a fraudulent award (a plaque that claims U.S. sales certification, but does not include the RIAA hologram logo), please report it here.
The RIAA certification program is open to member and non-member companies. RIAA certification entitles the authorized record label to purchase official RIAA award plaques bearing the trademarked RIAA hologram seal from licensed plaque manufacturers.
The audit calculates what product has been shipped for sale and/or sold or streamed online, net after returns for the life of the release. When certifying audio and music video releases, the independent auditor is careful to survey the entire music marketplace.
To complete the certification process, we require a few supporting documents:
- Sales Report (choose one)
- Copy directly from your sales system, showing only domestic returns and net of returns
- Screenshot of Excel data, showing only domestic returns and net of returns
- Label Copy of Product (or “one-sheet”)
- Product copy (choose one):
- Copy of the physical product
- Digi-files of tracks to be uploaded with your application
For accuracy’s sake, we require that you send us sales figures directly from your databases and not from SoundScan. One reason is that SoundScan measures over-the-counter sales at music retail locations, while our certification levels are based on unit shipments and digital sales/streams (minus returns) from record labels and manufacturers to a wide range of accounts, including non-retail record clubs, mail order houses, specialty stores, units shipped for Internet fulfillment or direct marketing sales, such as TV-advertised albums. In addition, SoundScan’s archive begins in 1991, while the RIAA has tracked artists’ sales levels for nearly 60 years.
New in 2015, you may select a genre from the following:
- New Age
- R&B/Hip Hop
- World Music
To cover the time and expense incurred by our certification and audit teams, we require the following fees:
- RIAA member companies: $350 per certification
- Non-members: $450 per level of certification (must be prepaid)
Please also note:
- Any requests that do not meet the Gold & Platinum Program requirements will still be charged the full audit certification fee.
- If multiple sales levels are certified simultaneously, the audit certification fee is only charged once per title to RIAA member companies. Non-member pay per level of certification requested.
- If your company is requesting your first certification audit, we require that you also cover any travel expenses by our independent auditor.
- A 30-day time limit is set for pending certifications. If a full audit cannot be completed within this time, $100 will be rendered to member companies and $200 to non-member companies.
Once our Gold & Platinum Program team has approved your request for certification, we’ll approve your application for independent auditing. The accounting firm Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman performs all of our audits, and has audited titles for RIAA for more than 35 years.