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RIAA “DIGITAL AWARDS” TO DEBUT
Miami Reception to Confer Inaugural Round of Gold and Platinum on Most (Legitimately) Downloaded Artists
Next week, there’ll be a new plaque in town. Officially dubbed the “Digital Award Program,” the RIAA is about to begin bestowing Digital Gold and Digital Platinum on artists whose songs have been downloaded via licensed services a minimum of 100,000 times.

The awards will be given for single songs only, since they seem to be what people buy online the most. A song with certified download sales of 100,000 will be given a Gold award, while those selling 200,000 downloads will earn Platinum. Multiplatinum awards will be conferred as sales increase in multiples of 200,000.

The RIAA stresses that only downloads from legitimate online music services with licensed content from record companies will be recognized.

A reception to launch the Digital Awards program and hand out the first plaques will be held Monday, Aug. 30 at 11 a.m. at Miami’s Paris Theatre. Newly appointed Billboard Executive Editor Tamara Conniff will host the event and present the awards to attending artists along with RIAA Chairman/CEO Mitch Bainwol.

Artists slated to attend include Hoobastank, Jet, Ludacris and Yellowcard, among others. Other artists eligible to receive awards include Outkast, Beyoncé, Black Eyed Peas, Jay-Z, Usher, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson, D12 and No Doubt.

At the awards reception, representatives from legitimate online companies who sell licensed content from record companies (see above) will be on hand to demonstrate their services. Apple’s iTunes, AOL Music, Napster and Sony Connect all plan to attend.

“This is a gratifying milestone in the evolution of legitimate digital music services,” said Bainwol. “The fact that the marketplace has already advanced this far, and artists have attained this level of success, speaks volumes. It’s a reflection of the commitment of the entire music community to consumer-friendly legitimate digital services, as well as fans’ appetite for high-quality music.”
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