The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced the formal launch of a Master Ringtone Sales Award, updating its 47-year old Gold and Platinum program to recognize the growing popularity of enjoying music through cellular phones.
Some 128 titles are included in the inaugural group of certifications, encompassing tracks from artists on all the major record companies and representing a variety of musical genres. Specifically, the RIAA awarded 84 Gold, 40 Platinum and four Multi-Platinum Master Ringtone certifications.
Ringtones are the original recording, rather than a synthesized instrumental version, of a hit song. Following the lead of the existing program, tracks will be certified Gold (500,000 downloads), Platinum (1 million downloads) and Multi-Platinum (starting at 2 million and following in increments of 1 million thereafter).
"Our Gold and Platinum Program is designed to honor artists who have achieved the highest success," Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO, RIAA. "As our industry evolves and offers fans new ways to enjoy music from today's best artists, so too should the G&P Program. The music community, along with its technology partners like the wireless communications companies, is offering fans the music they love, when then want it and how they want it."
Bow Wow, Bubba Sparxxx, Dem Franchize Boyz and Rick Ross picked up their awards during a ceremony at the Time Warner Center in New York City. Columbia Records' Bow Wow picked up Platinum awards for "Let Me Hold You" and "Like You" and a Gold award for "Fresh Azimiz." Bubba Sparxxx's "Ms. New Booty" earned the Virgin Records rapper a Gold award. Virgin Records' Dem Franchize Boyz earned a Platinum award for the snap music anthem "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It" and a Gold award for the smash "I Think They Like Me." Rick Ross' "Hustlin'" won a Gold award for the Def Jam/Slip-N-Slide rapper.
A&M's Black Eyed Peas earned a Multi-Platinum award for "My Humps," as did Universal's Chamillionaire for "Ridin'." Atlantic Records' artist D4L grabbed a Multi-Platinum award for the infectious hit "Laffy Taffy," and Jive's T-Pain also went Multi-Platinum for "I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)."
Some catalog tracks enjoyed exposure to a new generation of fans via mobile music. Epic's AC/DC picked up a Platinum certification for "Back In Black." The Beastie Boys' "Brass Monkey" won a Gold award, and girls everywhere are having fun with Cyndi Lauper's Gold certification of her 80s smash "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Marvin Gaye picked up a posthumous Gold award for the iconic "Let's Get It On," and newfound interest in "The Dukes of Hazard" earned Waylon Jennings a Gold award for the theme song.
As with the existing Gold and Platinum award program, all certifications for the Digital Sales award are audited by the firm of Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman.