What Is the RIAA?

The RIAA also known as the Recording Industry Association of America is a trade organization that consist of record labels and distributors. They represent over 1,600 member labels which includes Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. Presently, the RIAA’s chairman and CEO is Cary Sherman.

Originally, the RIAA’s mission was to oversee copyright fees and problems, join forces with trade unions, and research information pertaining to the music industry. However, currently, the RIAA’s purpose is the following: secure intellectual property rights and the First Amendment rights of artists. Conduct analysis about the music industry, and lastly to monitor laws, regulations, and policies. In addition, the RIAA certifies Gold and Platinum albums and singles in the US. The following is the certification criteria:

Gold: 500,000 copies

Platinum: 1,000,000 copies

Multi-Platinum: 2,000,000 copies

Diamond: 10,000,000 copies

In 2004, the RIAA began recognizing digital sales from mediums like iTunes. Moreover, a year ago, the RIAA started to approve audio and video streaming from services such as Spotify and Youtube. That being said, streams are measured using the formula of 100 streams are equal to one download. The RIAA continues to expand with each advance in technology.


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