Only One Album Released This Year Has Gone Platinum

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An album that sells one million copies is certified Platinum.

Just this week, Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late reached cumulative sales of 1.007 million copies, making it the only album released this year to cross the million mark.  The album, released on Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records, part of Universal Music Group, was first released on February 12th, 2015.

The only other album to sell more than one million copies this year was actually released last year: Taylor Swift’s 1989.  According to Nielsen, that album has sold 1.46 million copies this year, for a cumulative 5.12 million.

Last year, just two albums reached Platinum: Swift’s 1989, and Frozen Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, first released in 2013.

8 Responses

  1. john

    did any albums have enough streams to equate to 1 million sales either in financial terms or the standards set by billboard charts? it’s not like this is the situation and the only option to make money from music is sales. still alarming i guess but more context is needed, I believe.

    • Jeremy

      Agreed. What about somebody like Imagine Dragons? They’re album has been streamed on Spotify several million times. What’s the “platinum” number for streaming?

      • DavidB

        I don’t know what the rule is for platinum albums, but the usual rule of thumb is that 100 streams = 1 sale. So a platinum album would require 100 million whole album streams, or about 1 billion individual track streams. Not impossible, but not easy.

        • GGG

          Just added up, very roughly, their streams for their last album and it’s at about 184M total.

    • Faza (TCM)

      The Spotify mean rate is still around 0.5 cents, which gives us an album-equivalent revenue number of 1400 streams. To match minimum platinum sales, we’d need 1.4 billion streams of the album’s songs in the US alone.

      Whilst it’s not impossible to reach such a number eventually, the greater the number of streams, the bigger the chance they will pay considerably less than our assumed mean rate, for well-known reasons: Spotify has a lot more free users than it has premium ones, the biggest streaming platform by far is YouTube, that pays a fraction of what Spotify does, etc. The actual number of necessary streams may indeed by much higher, after accounting for such rate reductions.

      Sales may not be the only way to make money, but it is very unlikely that the current streaming models will come close to offsetting the revenue losses in the last fifteen years on aggregate and even less likely that they will produce sustainable revenue levels for individual artists/albums.

    • bp

      as of dec. 3, 2014 streams count towards the billboard charts. it takes 1500 streams to add up to one sale.

      “The updated Billboard 200 will utilize accepted industry benchmarks for digital and streaming data, equating 10 digital track sales from an album to one equivalent album sale, and 1,500 song streams from an album to one equivalent album sale. All of the major on-demand audio subscription services are considered, including Spotify, Beats Music, Google Play and Xbox Music. Current artists likely to benefit from this change in methodology include Ariana Grande, Hozier and Maroon 5, among others, as their streaming and digital song sales have been outperforming their album sales in recent weeks.”

  2. Mateja

    What about that Pentatonix album? Didn’t it sell a million? Sam Smith also sold 1 million last year.

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