Originally, earning platinum status was pretty straightforward. If an album sold one million physical copies, it would go platinum. Now, with the growing importance of Itunes, Spotify, and other digital platforms, the majority of sales tend to be counted through streams.
But what constitutes a stream? Does a song have to be played all the way through? Does the play have to come from an officially licensed channel or do Youtube views count? With so many questions unanswered, it seems as if the head honchos of the music industry are making up the rules as they go.
Nevertheless, artists do become certified platinum in the digital era, although they are sometimes met with controversy. For example, Post Malone’s team was recently accused of allegedly using a Youtube loophole to boost numbers for the song “Rockstar.”
Earlier this month, Billboard announced that Youtube streaming is going to be counted toward the Billboard Charts, in efforts to better represent current trends in music. This decision was met with mixed reactions from the Hip Hop community. (Read more about that here.)
However, Billboard recently reported that Youtube streams will carry less “value” than a stream on a paid service, such as Spotify, Apple, or Tidal:
“Beginning in 2018, plays occurring on paid subscription-based services (such as Amazon Music and Apple Music) or on the paid subscription tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported platforms (such as SoundCloud and Spotify) will be given more weight in chart calculations than those plays on pure ad-supported services (such as YouTube) or on the non-paid tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported services.”
Hopefully, this new adjustment might make it more difficult for artists to go platinum using streaming loopholes. I think platinum status needs to maintain its importance as a rare milestone in an artist’s career.
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