The certification process begins with an independent
sales audit of each title by Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman,
a highly respected accounting firm that has been auditing
title sales for the RIAA® for more than 20 years.
The audit calculates what product has been shipped for sale,
net after returns, versus product used for promotional purposes,
for the life of the release. When certifying audio and music
video releases, the independent auditor is careful to survey
the entire music marketplace. An artist's Gold® or Platinum®
award represents sales through retail, record clubs, rackjobbers,
and all other ancillary markets that legitimately distribute
music. Once a title’s sales has been audited and verified
as having reached requisite levels, a formal certification
report is issued and sent to the title's record company.
We are often asked why we don’t just use sales figures
from SoundScan. SoundScan measures over-the-counter sales
at music retail locations, while the RIAA®'s certification
levels are based on unit shipments (minus returns) from 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. The other difference is that SoundScan's archive is
only a few years old, while the RIAA® has tracked artists'
sales levels for more than 40 years.
The RIAA® certification program is open to member and
non-member companies. RIAA® certification entitles the
authorized record company to purchase official RIAA® award
plaques bearing the trademarked RIAA® hologram seal from
licensed plaque manufacturers.
All certification audits are conducted for a fee. If multiple
sales levels are simultaneously certified, only one audit
certification fee is charged. Companies requesting their initial
certification audit must incur any travel expenses by the
RIAA®'s independent auditor. The charge for certifications
is $350 for RIAA® member companies. Non-members are charged
$450 per certification, which must be pre-paid. Companies
will be charged the full audit certification fee for any requests
that do not meet the Gold® and Platinum® Program requirements.
A 30-day time limit is set for pending certifications. If
a full audit cannot be completed within this time, a charge
of $100 will be rendered to member companies and $200 to non-member
Requests for audio and music video certification may be
made to the RIAA®. Companies must submit one copy of the
audio or music video product upon certification request. All
versions of the title's catalog must be represented.
The following information must also be made available:
Configuration (single, shortform, album or music video)
Level (Gold®, Platinum® and/or Multi-Platinum™)
Selection or Catalog Number
Please send certification requests by phone, fax or mail
RIAA® Gold® and Platinum® Certification
1330 Connecticut Ave NW #300
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 775-0101 phone
(202) 775-7253 fax