Music recording certification  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Music recording sales certification is a system of certifying that a music recording has shipped or sold a certain number of copies, where the threshold quantity varies by type (album, single, music video, etc.) and by nation or territory (for specific counts, see: List of music recording certifications).

Almost all countries follow variations of the RIAA certification categories, which are named after precious materials:

  • silver – moderate sales (about half the gold threshold) (used only in the UK)
  • gold – high sales
  • platinum – very high (often 2–2.5 times gold threshold)
  • diamond – extremely high (rare, 2–10 times platinum).

The number of sales or shipments required for these awards varies depending on the population of the territory in which the recording is released. Normally they are awarded only to albums released at least nationally and are awarded individually for each country in which the album is sold. Additionally, widely different sales levels (perhaps 10 times lower) may exist for different music media, such as videos versus albums, singles, or downloads.

Originally applied to LP records, certification is now most commonly awarded for compact disc (CD) sales. Certification is usually awarded cumulatively, and it is possible for a single album to be certified silver, gold, and platinum in turn. An album that becomes platinum at least twice over is said to be "multi platinum". Artists can also become multi-platinum sellers if they have at least two albums in the same territory both going single platinum. A poor-selling record is often jokingly said to have "sold lead" (the heavy metal lead), in contrast to attaining high status as a gold or platinum album.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Music recording certification" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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