US music charts finally includes streaming in statistics

2 Feb 2016

It’s been inevitable really, but the organisation in the US responsible for charting music sales nationally, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), will now include streaming in its statistics.

To say the US music charts has been slow to address the obvious fact that music streaming is now the dominant medium through which people listen to music would be an understatement.

Especially given that the Irish and UK music charts gave the go-ahead for music streaming to be included in their own statistics back in 2014.

Now, according to the RIAA, streaming will provide a new methodology for its awarding of gold and platinum albums, which have become the benchmark that allows you to say you’re an international superstar.

Breaking down exactly how it will register streams, the RIAA says that it will include both online, on-demand video streams like YouTube and audio streams like Spotify, with 1,500 streams equalling the equivalent of 10 track plays or one album bought.

Additionally, 150 streams of a particular song will equate to one song download.

The figures, they are a changing’

The decision to finally admit streaming statistics into its awarding of gold and platinum albums – which need to sell 500,000 and 1m albums respectively – comes following intense pressure from pop stars looking to get some plaudits for their success.

These changes have already begun to take effect, with the RIAA making Rihanna a platinum-selling artist for her latest album, Anti, which achieved more than 1m pre-sales through a Samsung platform.

The landmark ruling for the US music industry has also promoted a number of other bands’ albums to platinum and gold status, including Coldplay’s Ghost Stories (platinum), Michael Jackson’s Thriller (32x-platinum) and Hozier’s self-titled album (platinum).

Rihanna image via A.Ricardo/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic