The RIAA’s ongoing quest to most accurately determine just how much music we’re consuming has reached another milestone, with the much-maligned trade association taking the controversial step of incorporating streaming data into its sales certifications.
The change in methodology has had an immediate effect on a wide variety of artists, including Journey (whose ‘Don’t Stop Believin” has been certified quintuple platinum as a result) and Kansas (whose ‘Dust in the Wind’ is now a platinum record). It marks the most drastic expansion of sales data since the Nielsen SoundScan system was implemented in 1991.
Saying that the change “reflects the wide spectrum of ways consumers enjoy music from their favorite bands,” RIAA chairman Cary Sherman announced the news in a press release, explaining, “The music business, along with its incredible array of digital service partners, is offering fans more access to music than ever before. We’re thrilled that our awards will now more fully recognize artists’ commercial success today.”
The new data will be pulled not only from paid or “freemium” audio services like Pandora and Spotify but also from video sites like Vevo and YouTube.
But as any recording artist who’s taken a hard look at his royalty statements could tell you, a stream doesn’t count for as much as a download or a physical sale, and it’s no different for certifications. In fact, an artist has to accrue 100 streams to count for a single sale. Still, the next time you click on a link from a co-worker or a relative, you could end up helping someone earn a platinum record.
It’s impossible to predict the future, but it seems safe to say that no matter what happens this New Year’s Eve in the world of classic rock, it won’t measure up to Dec. 31, 1973, when future rock titans Journey and AC/DC both played their very first concerts on the same night.
The Journey lineup featured at this San Francisco, California show was very different from the pop-friendly version of the band that ruled arena rock in the ’80s. Keyboardist Jonathan Cain (who joined in 1980) and singer Steve Perry (1977) were nowhere to be found. Instead, attendees witnessed a progressive rock-leaning semi-supergroup led by former Santana members Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie. The lineup also featured Ross Valory and George Tickner from Frumious Bandersnatch, as well as drummer Prairie Prince.
Rolie sang lead vocals, but the primary focus was on the group’s instrumental prowess, which they displayed during a nine-song set at their hometown’s Winterland Arena. Highlights included a cover of the Beatles‘ ‘It’s All Too Much’ and several tracks (‘Mystery Mountain,’ ‘Topaz’) that would wind up on their 1975 self-titled debut album.
I saw a real interesting show on PBS last night. It was a documentary/concert film about Journey's search for a new lead singer. It told how they found Arnel Pineda by seeing clips of him on youtube. It then showed his auditions for the band. It finished with a big concert in Manila. I never thought of myself as the biggest Journey fan, but after watching the show, I have a whole new respect and appreciation for them. The concert sequences were fantastic. I'm going to check out more of their music.