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Awards Timeline

1952

The RIAA® is formed as a trade association of America's record companies.

1958

The Gold® record award is introduced. The Gold® album is awarded for $1 million in sales based on the manufacturer's wholesale price. The Gold® single signifies one million copies sold.

Perry Como's "Catch A Falling Star" (RCA Records) is the first Gold® single officially certified by the RIAA® on March 14.

The cast album to Oklahoma, sung by Gordon Macrae (Capitol Records), is the first Gold® album officially certified by the RIAA® on July 8.

1975

The RIAA® revises qualifications for Gold® album certification to require that an album also sell a minimum of 500,000 copies in addition to reaching $1 million in sales.

1976

The Platinum® award is introduced. The Platinum® album is awarded for 1 million copies sold, with $2 million in sales at the manufacturer's wholesale price. The Platinum® single is awarded for two million copies sold.

The Eagles' Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is the first Platinum® album certified by the RIAA®.

Johnny Taylor's Disco Lady is the first Platinum® single.

1983

Criteria are introduced for multi-albums of three or vinyl sets or the tape/CD equivalent (counted as one unit). Criteria for a Gold® multi-album award are 250,000 copies sold, and $2 million in sales. Platinum® multi-albums are awarded for 500,000 copies sold, with $4 million in sales.

1984

The RIAA® introduces the Multi-Platinum™ category in December. The popularity of cassettes and the introduction of compact discs led to the implementation of this award for sales of two million copies or more.

Certified at 20 million, Michael Jackson's Thriller is one of the first Multi-Platinum™ awards presented.

1989

Gold® single certification is reduced to sales of 500,000 units, reflecting a more realistic and achievable goal in the marketplace.

1991

Criteria for the multi-box set are established. Gold® multi-box sets require 250,000 units sold for sets containing three or more vinyl recordings or cassettes, or two or more CDs, with $2 million in net sales. Platinum® multi-box sets are awarded for 500,000 units sold at a value of $4 million. Multi-Platinum™ multi-box sets require one million units sold at a value of $6 million.

Short-form albums are introduced and defined as configurations with at least three, but not more than five, cuts and a maximum running time of 30 minutes. The criteria for Gold® short-form albums is 250,000 units sold; for Platinum®, 500,000 units sold; and for Multi-Platinum™, one million units sold.

Military PX sales are now included in sales tallies.

1992

Multi-box sets are redefined as two or more CDs (or the equivalent in LPs or cassettes) with a minimum running time of 120 minutes. The criteria are also changed so that each unit within a set is counted separately. The criteria for a Gold® multi-box set now require sales of 500,000 units; Platinum®, one million units; and Multi-Platinum™, two million units.

1994

General certification requirements are amended to allow recordings to be eligible for awards regardless of the percentage of sales distributed through regular retail chains versus alternative markets. Club bonus records and free goods are now also included in sales tallies.

1996

A number of criteria changes are implemented: The criteria for short-form product are amended to match that of full-length product. Box sets are now called multi-disc sets. Enhanced CDs must contain 75% of the musical content of regular CDs. Singles, both seven-inch and maxis, count once toward certification and are defined as having no more than four different songs.

1997

An exception to the 120-minute running time rule for multi-disc sets is implemented for pre-1982 releases. The running time of these albums is no longer considered. The multi-box set running time is reduced to 100 minutes.

RIAA® cuts the post-release date requirement to 30 days.

1998

The RIAA® celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Gold record award.

1999

The RIAA® launches the Diamond® Award during a highly publicized event on March 16th. The Diamond® award honors all artists who have albums or singles that have sold 10 million or more units.

Post-release date requirement is modified to reflect "street date" requirement. Product is eligible for certification starting 30 days after product is commercially available to consumers.

2000

Longform music video certifications defined as having to contain at least 51% musical performance content.

2003

CD/DVD hybrid certifications are accepted. Sales of CD/DVD hybrid units can be applied equally to each configuration.

2004

RIAA launches the digital sales award program. Developed to recognize the significant sales of the burgeoning digital market, Digital Gold™ awards represent 100,000 downloads and Digital Platinum™ awards represent 200,000 downloads. Multi-Platinum awards start at 400,000 in increments of 200,000 thereafter.

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