Gold & Platinum Turns 60

For the past 60 years, the Recording Industry Association of America has honored music’s best through its Gold & Platinum Awards Program. When an artist earns a Gold & Platinum certification, they join the ranks of an elite group of beloved musicians. Let’s look back on a rich history of recorded music during the last six decades, and check out our corresponding playlist to hear some of the biggest hits in Gold & Platinum history.

Listen to the playlist



#GoldandPlatinum60! Celebrating Music’s Best For Six Decades And Counting



Vinyl Era

The vinyl record begins to take off, and the RIAA launches the Gold & Platinum Awards Program to honor artists and create an official standard to measure the commercial success of a sound recording.


RIAA Awards First Gold Single Certification

First Gold song certification goes to Perry Como for his single “Catch a Falling Star” (RCA Records).

Perry Como

RIAA Awards First Gold Album Award

First Gold album certification is awarded to the cast album of “Oklahoma!” sung by Gordon MacRae (Capitol Records).

Elvis's First Gold (of Many)

The iconic Elvis earns his first Gold Award for the song "Hard Headed Woman," launching his epochal climb to his current status as the number two certified solo artist in Gold & Platinum Program history. With 146.5 million cumulative Album Awards, spanning 101 separate Gold (or higher) albums, Elvis has earned the most Gold Album Awards of any artist in RIAA history.


Did You Know?

In 1948, Columbia Records introduced the first ever 12-inch microgroove disc which could hold up to twenty-three minutes of music per side, allowing for the rise of the modern day album.


The Streisand Golden Era Begins

"The Second Barbra Streisand Album" (Columbia Records) becomes Streisand's first Gold Album Award. With 68.5 million album awards, spanning 52 albums, the music legend holds the record for the most Gold Album Awards for any female recording artist in RIAA history.


Did You Know?

The peak year for vinyl sales was 1978. Nearly 30 years later, in 2006, the format experienced a resurgence and has continued its steady growth for 11 consecutive years.

Platinum Singles Surge

Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady" (Columbia) earns the RIAA's first Platinum Single Award in 1976, while five additional songs went on to achieve Platinum that year: The Associations' "Windy" (Warner Bros. Records), The Manhattans' "Kiss & Say Goodbye" (Columbia), Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music" (Epic),and Rick Dees' "Disco Duck" (RSO).

Fleetwood Mac Earns First Gold Award

Fleetwood Mac’s “Mystery To Me” (Reprise) earns the band its first Gold Album Award. Fast forward more than 40 years, and Fleetwood Mac is still going strong. "Rumours" (Warner Bros. Records) is the band's highest-certified album, standing at 20X multi-Platinum. That makes it one of the top 10 albums of all time.

Fleetwood Mac



Cassette Era

Cassettes emerge as the most popular format with the decline of 8-track players and the introduction of the Sony Walkman in 1979. For the first time in music history, fans can now take their music with them.



Did You Know?

Between 1987 and 1997—the height of the Sony Walkman's popularity—the number of people who said they walked for exercise increased by 30%.



"Purple Rain" Released

Prince & The Revolution debut "Purple Rain (Soundtrack)" on Warner Bros. Records. The album is Prince's top certified, reaching the coveted 13X multi-Platinum status in 1996. Today only 40 total albums are 13X multi-Platinum or higher.

Multi-Platinum Goes Mainstream

RIAA introduces the multi-Platinum category in 1984. The popularity of cassettes and introduction of CDs leads to the implementation of this award for album sales of two million and counting.

Did You Know?

Barbra Streisand has more Gold albums than any other female artist. She has 52 separate Gold (or higher) albums!



Garth Brooks



CD Era

The CD revolution arrives. By 1992, sales of CDs have exceeded sales of cassette tapes.






Did You Know?

In 2000, at the peak of CD sales in America, consumers bought 943 million CDs.



Latin Program Goes Live

RIAA introduces the Premios de Oro y Platino Award to celebrate Latin music sales, specifically titles that contain more than 50 percent Spanish language. Since the program's launch, more than 900 Latin albums and songs have been certified.




Digital Era

Apple launches the iTunes store and digital music sales begin to soar. RIAA creates the Digital Single Award to recognize Gold & Platinum sales achievements in the digital download market.



Did You Know?

How to Purchase a Plaque

Any artist, label or other affiliated party who contributed to an RIAA certified title can purchase a physical plaque. RIAA has four licensed framers that enjoy exclusive rights to prepare our official awards: Dejay Gold/Products in Seattle, WA; Jewel Box Platinum in Marina Del Ray, CA; Milestone Awards in Burbank, CA and Metro Pro LLC in Pine Brook, NJ.


Stevie Wonder's Diamond Year

The legendary Stevie Wonder certifies the transformative "Songs In The Key Of Life" (Motown Records) 10X multi-Platinum in 2005. Stevie Wonder has now certified 12 separate albums to accumulate more than 19.5 million Album Awards.


Led Zeppelin

The Eagles' Historic Diamond Album

The Eagles hit album "Eagles/Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975" (Elektra) achieves coveted 29X multi-Platinum status. More than 40 years later, one of music's essential albums is the RIAA's second highest certified ever. Additionally, the Eagles are the fifth most certified band with 101 million Album Awards across 13 separate records.


Taylor Swift


Did You Know?

Ringtones and ringback tunes enjoyed a brief moment in the sun, surpassing $1 billion in revenues in the format's first three years, from 2005-2007.

Gaga's Diamond Song Debuts

Pop sensation Lady Gaga releases "Bad Romance" (Interscope/Streamline). The song is later certified Diamond, making Gaga the first female Digital Diamond Award recipient.

Lady Gaga




Streaming Era

Streaming goes...mainstream. RIAA adds on-demand music streams to its single and album awards as services like Spotify, Rhapsody, Amazon, Tidal, Vevo, Apple Music and more become the dominant way that fans enjoy music.


Did You Know?

Nearly all RIAA Awards certified today include both sales and streams at the 500,000 Gold, 1,000,000 Platinum and 2,000,000 and counting Multi-Platinum threshold.

Latin Program Modernized

RIAA announces multiple Premios de Oro y Platino/Latin Gold & Platinum Program updates including creating the program's first-ever Latin Digital Single Award including streams.




J Balvin

Rihanna Crowned Digital Single Award Queen

Westbury Road Entertainment LLC/Roc Nation/Def Jam sensation Rihanna makes RIAA program history as the first artist to surpass 100 million cumulative song awards. She remains the RIAA’s number one certified digital singles artist with 121 million cumulative single awards across 43 separate songs.



Did You Know?

In 2016, streaming services generated more revenue ($3.9 billion) for the music business than album and singles sales ($3.5 billion) for the first time in history.

First Country Diamond Song Awarded to Florida Georgia Line

The RIAA recognizes Big Machine Records/BMX duo Florida Georgia Line as the first and only country genre act in program history to earn a Diamond Award for a song: “Cruise” (BMX, 2012) at 10X multi-Platinum.

Florida Georgia Line


Katy Perry


Luis Fonsi


From Andra Day to Zedd, artists all over are wishing a happy 60th anniversary to the RIAA's Gold & Platinum Program. Here's to another 60 years of celebrating the best in recorded music. Click through the gallery below for videos and photos from your favorite artists!