Earning Gold and Platinum certifications in 2019 seldom feels like an exact science. What once was a simple matter of exchanging money for an album’s worth of music, streaming has altered the game to a drastic level. Today, a new report from RIAA has confirmed that only four albums have gone Gold or Platinum, as of the midway point of 2019: DJ Khaled‘s Father Of Asahd (Gold), Tyga‘s Legendary (Gold), Juice WRLD’s A Deathrace For Love (Gold), and Ariana Grande‘s Thank U, Next (Platinum).
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The whole thing is rather curious, given that the former two albums were both plagued by narratives of underselling. DJ Khaled’s Father Of Asahd notoriously fell below Tyler, The Creator’s Igor, which ultimately failed to reach the certification. Tyga’s “Legendary” won out on the strength of a pre-released single; case in point, the album’s first week numbers were between 21,000-24,000, a far cry from the expected haul for a gold project. And yet T-Raww sits among the exclusive crowd, the beneficiary of today’s streaming system. That’s not to say their accomplishments are hollow, but they do shine a light on some of the more infamous practices, from bundling to stream-farming older singles.
Last spring, I wrote a piece reflecting on whether going platinum still carried the same weight as it once did. The landscape has changed, that much we cannot deny. Consider taking a look at the aforementioned Platinum piece for further context, including a list of pre-streaming albums that secured the honor before the system could be gamed so freely. What do you make of this news, which finds DJ Khaled, Tyga, Juice WRLD, and Ariana Grande forming a coalition of 2019 sales juggernauts? Is that representative of the greater musical landscape?