After years of fighting against the digital tide, the RIAA announced it'll now factor online audio and video streams when considering tracks for its Digital Single Award. The certification has heretofore been given to digital tracks that have gone Gold or Platinum, but only for downloads: 500,000 for Gold, 1,000,000 for Platinum and 2 million-plus for multi-Platinum. But under its new policy, 100 streams count as one download, meaning that it could reach those thresholds with a mix of streams and downloads, not just the latter. The new approach is "an approximate barometer of comparative consumer activity; the financial value of streams and downloads were not factored into the equation."
All told, these include streams from services like MOG, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify and Rdio along with video sites like VEVO, YouTube and MTV.com. Under the new system, 56 titles have already gone Gold and beyond, with 11 receiving their first ever digital song cert. A couple of first-timers include Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" which went Platinum and Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" that went multi-Platinum. While we can't say if music services will make everyone happy, it's clear streaming's here to stay. Hear that, iTunes?