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MacBytes
Jul 2, 2004, 02:52 PM
Category: News and Press Releases
Link: RIAA adds digital downloads to gold/platinum sales certification program (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20040702155224)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

Makosuke
Jul 2, 2004, 03:15 PM
Hey, the RIAA is actually doing something bordering on useful. Not that the number of copies a record sells necessarily relates to its quality, but since it is the Recording Industry Association, it makes sense for them to be concerned with sales.

Guess they have at least one person who's not a lawyer working for them.

But why aren't these just figured into normal CD/record sales totals? Having lower target numbers will help the lower-buy-count download industry look better, but I wonder if they aren't also afraid that an indie track that never even saw CD release or a cut going to big producers could rank right up there with the "real" music.

shamino
Jul 6, 2004, 10:22 AM
Hey, the RIAA is actually doing something bordering on useful. Not that the number of copies a record sells necessarily relates to its quality, but since it is the Recording Industry Association, it makes sense for them to be concerned with sales.
This is actually part of their mandate. Before they got into political advocacy, the RIAA had a very small set of duties:

Defining industry specifications (like the RIAA equalization needed to make vinyl records that sound good.)
Tracking sales and issuing awards for top-sellers (gold/platinum records, etc.)
The Grammy awards

But why aren't these just figured into normal CD/record sales totals?
The pick-and-choose nature of downloading makes comingling the numbers of dubious value. If an album has 20 tracks and each track has 100 downloads, is it equivalent to 100 album purchases? Maybe. But maybe those 2000 single-track downloads were by 2000 different people - in which case it may well show much more popularity than 100 whole-album purchases.

IMO, it only makes sense for downloads to be counted separately from album sales. Maybe it would make sense to count album-purchases at download sites, but I don't know if those statistics are kept - they may only be recording single tracks. And if you do that, you again have a qualitiative difference between track-purchases and album-purchases that won't let you comingle the numbers.
Having lower target numbers will help the lower-buy-count download industry look better, but I wonder if they aren't also afraid that an indie track that never even saw CD release or a cut going to big producers could rank right up there with the "real" music.
It's also a recognition of the nature of the download industry.

Just as a CD single is never going to sell as many copies as an equally-popular album, a single downloaded track won't see as many downloads as an equally-popular album's sales.

As downloads gain in popularity, these threshhold numbers will likely be revised upward.