GOLD IS GOLD IS GOLD
A Gold Record, thought to celebrate the sale of 1,000,000 Singles or 500,000 Albums by the United States' Standard, is the ultimate goal of those who want to hawk evidence of their success. Platinum is representative of twice those numbers, and is about the only standard that exists world wide – Platinum being twice the Gold requirements.
With varying sales numbers requirements in different countries, primarily dependent on population and economy, Gold and Platinum numbers in some places can be rather small by comparison to large population nations. Dependent on the economy and government, radio broadcasts can be combined with product sales to achieve even those numbers, economically an equal to selling greater numbers in more developed countries.
Known for ages inside the industry, getting a "promo" or "air" gold is the start of hyping a product to go gold every place else, get more air time, and all the other falderal that goes with a high-visibility industry. And, it's simple enough to do: run the product through the appropriate doors in sufficient quantities and hammer the rest of the world that the record just "went gold"! And Gold is gold is gold! Turning on buyers and broadcasters alike.
The original Gold Record was presented to Bing Crosby by Decca Records for sales of "White Christmas," released in 1942. The fact that Patsy Montana's "I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart" had sold over 5,000,000 copies several years prior, and before that Jimmie Rodgers' "Blue Yodel," released in 1927, was the first of twelve Blue Yodels that sold over a million each was ignored by the media at large.
Until RIAA appointed themselves as some sort of authorities over the matter, there was little if any verification of sales, let alone public performance. London based International Music Licensers Trust is one alternative to RIAA, and getting verification can be expensive.
RIAA 'verification' still only applies to membership and "orders" as opposed to actual sales. The "orders" and "in-advance-of-orders" may well be in the Gold and Platinum range, but with ninety percent (90%) of shelf product being returned, there are grave doubts about many RIAA 'certified' Gold and Platinum records. Another reason to go for Promo or Air Gold, and you don't need RIAA membership to achieve it.
Foreign Licensing can be treacherous, so make sure you're dealing with any one of the General Licensers: Sony, Bertlesmann (BMG), Warner Brothers (WEA), Capitol/EMI, Vivendi (Universal), Vandor (VMG), or Walt Disney Company (WDC) or at least a mini-major licensed and distributed by one of the above. Few, if any, state-side promoters can get a product through foreign doors where the required numbers are attainable.
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