Recording Industry Association of America


May 23, 2022

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA for short) is an American association that represents most record companies and is responsible for certifying record sales in the United States.[1]​ Its main members are record companies and distributors, which according to the RIAA's own data "create, produce and distribute approximately 85% of all sound productions generated and sold in the United States".[2]


The RIAA was formed in 1952 with the main objective of administering the quality standard of sound recordings, and initially emerged in order to spread the use of the RIAA equalization curve or RIAA Equalization curve, which eventually became a technical standard. which made it possible to unify the tuning of the frequency response of vinyl records during manufacture and use. The Association has continued to intervene in the creation and administration of standardization techniques for subsequent systems of creation and reproduction of the music industry, such as magnetic tapes, including audio cassettes and digital audio cassettes, compact discs , and software for new recording technologies. It is also involved in the Collection, administration and distribution of music licenses and rights, is responsible for the Gold and Platinum Certificates awarded to albums and singles in the United States, as well as collecting information about sales data (such as album charts). with the most sales and the list of best-selling singles). The functions of the RIAA are summarized in the following three points:[3] Protect intellectual property rights, in accordance with the first amendment relating to the rights of artists. Conduct research on the music industry. Monitor and review relevant laws, regulations and policies that affect the music industry.

Organization structure and sales

Since 2009, the CEO has been Mitch Bainwol, assisted by Cary Sherman, the chair of the board of directors, which consists of 26 members drawn from the three largest RIAA-affiliated companies, known as the Three Four. Spanish):[4]​ Sony MusicEntertainment Universal Music Group Warner Music GroupThe RIAA represents about 1,600 private companies, record labels, and distributors, who collectively create and distribute a large percentage of the music sold in the United States. The total value of RIAA member record sales is in the multimillionaires, despite the steep decline that began with the widespread use of the Internet. For example, sales of $10.4 billion were reported in 2007,[5] while reported sales in 1999 had reached $14.6 billion.

Sales Certification

The RIAA operates an award program for albums that sell a large number of copies. The program began in 1958, establishing the Gold Awards or Gold Awards for those albums and singles that generated a million dollars in sales. The criteria was changed in 1975, to be based on the number of copies sold, with the Gold Award being given to those singles or albums that sold more than 500,000 copies.[6] In 1976 the Platinum Award or Platinum Award was introduced for the albums that sold one million copies, and in 1999 the Diamond Award or Diamond Award was included for albums that sold 10 million copies.[7] In 2000, the RIAA established "The Gold and Platinum Awards" for albums in Spanish.[8] The awards are open to recordings from both RIAA-affiliated and non-RIAA-affiliated companies.