Platinum and gold certifications based on the quantity of albums sold by an artist have been awarded by the RIAA since 1958, but now things are being done a little differently. One million copies of an album sold meant a record was platinum, but now the RIAA will count on-demand audio and video streaming, along with the traditional album sales, in determining whether a record is platinum or gold.

"For nearly six decades, whether it’s vinyl, CDs, downloads or now streams, the Gold & Platinum Program has adapted to recognize the benchmarks of success in an evolving music marketplace. We know that music listening—for both for albums and songs—is skyrocketing, yet that trend has not been reflected in our album certifications. Modernizing our Album Award to include music streaming is the next logical step in the continued evolution of Gold & Platinum Awards, and doing so enables RIAA to fully reward the success of artists’ albums today," CEO and chairman of the RIAA, Cary Sherman said in a statement.

The RIAA also announced that 17 artists have now been awarded with gold or platinum records, including Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise and Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly. But Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony Tiffith has criticized the RIAA's changes stating that there are no "cheat codes to platinum."