Posts tagged ‘record’

Gold Record Awards Come From the Record Manufacturing Process

By Chad Upton | Editor

When a recording artist sells 500,000 units of an album or a single, their “record” is eligible for “gold certification” by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). There are also platinum, diamond and other levels of these awards that indicate even greater sales.

If you couldn’t tell from the name, the RIAA is a US organization and it only tracks sales in the US. Similar awards are administered in 70 other countries by The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, although the number of sales to achieve each award varies by country.

In 1958, the cast album from the production of Oklahoma! was the first album to receive the official gold record award. Back then, records were records. There were no CDs, MP3s, etc… albums were really only available on vinyl records. Magnetic tapes were not popular for consumer use and 8 Track cartridges were about six years away from creation.

To make vinyl records, an original “master” record is created and depending on the exact process used, the vinyl records are stamped from a master, mother or stamper record.  In those days, these masters/mothers/stampers were generally made from metal. Stampers are used to literally stamp the groves into the records that are distributed. Stampers are generally good for about a thousand uses, so many stampers are produced for popular records. Originally, the used stampers were treated with gold to create the gold record awards.

Today, vinyl records are far from the most popular media for music, but some albums are available on vinyl. Although many albums are not available on vinyl, gold records may still be awarded if they reach their sales goals. The gold records are no longer made from actual records, masters or stampers. They’re now made by specific trophy and plaque makers who are certified by the RIAA.

Today, the award symbolically represents a high number of sales. But originally, it literally represented that many records were sold because the actual production stamper was worn out, gold plated and awarded to the artist.

In the last couple decades, the term “gold master” has transcended the recording industry. The phrase is also used in the computer industry to identify a software product version that is ready for distribution.

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Image: Jim Cassady (cc)

Sources: RIAA, EIL,, Wikipedia (Gold Master), emusician

September 1, 2011 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Why Vinyl Records are Becoming Popular Again

By Chad Upton | Editor

There have always been cool record shops in the hip parts of town hocking vinyl to the enthusiasts. But, it had been a long time since the major record stores carried them, until last year.

Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe not. But if you’ve been into BestBuy recently, some of their stores have a massive vinyl record selection. A year ago, they had a few, now they have hundreds. It’s not every store, but some of them.


Vinyl Edition


For many people, it’s probably hard to imagine that anyone would go back to using records.

Records are not convenient to use. They don’t play for very long, about 26 minutes before you have to flip it over or put a new one on. You can’t easily skip songs at the push of a button. They have to be kept very clean to sound good. The needle drags on the record so the sound degrades over time and worst of all, they are expensive.

Since all of these drawbacks are easily overcome by digital formats like CDs and MP3s, it surely makes people wonder, why are vinyl records making a mainstream comeback? (more…)

February 19, 2010 at 1:26 am 4 comments

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