There is just so much hoopla about certification these days. The usual media outlets are reporting how difficult it is for artists to achieve a certification due to piracy/copyright infringement. And if the artist is on a major label, the yelling is even louder. And when artists do get a platinum certification these days, it is reported by everyone.
Of course, the certification process once upon a time was based on SALES and sales only. It took into account the people owned the music they purchased and really liked it. The fact that people might not have listened to the music over and over again, didn’t matter.
However, as streaming services have shown due to piracy/copyright infringement, people also like to have access to music instead of owing music. So what we have is the following situation;
- Ownership of music -> registers a sale, which counts for certifications and generates a lot more money for the artist and the label then streaming services do.
- Access to music -> registers a sale by following a formula. 1,500 streams equals 10 tracks which equals one album purchase. The one album purchase counts for certifications and the streaming equivalent of sale doesn’t generate as much income for the artist and label then the sale of a mp3 or a CD or vinyl does.
For a band that plays to a niche audience this is exceptional and proof that metal and rock fans are avid music consumers. The viewpoint from the past always was “if your album goes Platinum, it means the public has accepted it” and when others see the love that people are giving the album, more people are going to go and check it out.
Music is and always will be about longevity.
Will people still be interested in the music, many years after it was released?
Apart from selling a decent amount of product, Five Finger Death Punch are also one of the bands with decent streaming numbers. This tells me that people are listening to them on a consistent basis.
“Fantasy” from Aldo Nova went Gold within the same year it was released in 1982. But it wasn’t until 1989 (seven years later) that it was certified platinum and by 1994 (12 years from when the song was released and 5 years from its Platinum certification) it was certified double platinum.
If you apply that formula to FFDP, then “War Is The Answer” should be certified double platinum by 2021. Is this such a bad thing? According to the ones that want to be paid straight away it is.
For a lot of bands, a loyal fan base is monetized to maximum effect.
Dream Theater and Machine Head are two bands that have a small (compared to other bands) but high net worth fan base. Dream Theater only has a Gold Certification (they have other DVD/Video certifications), that came three years after “Images And Words” was released. This sole certification hasn’t stopped Dream Theater from having a career.
Another band, Breaking Benjamin is also the same as Dream Theater and Machine Head. Breaking Benjamin also received a Gold Certification last year for an album they released back in 2002. Yep that’s right people, an album released 13 years ago is still in the public conversation. But what Breaking Benjamin has going that the other bands don’t is the singles. Their singles are pushing on double and triple platinum certifications.
Remember what I mentioned earlier. Music is about longevity and will people still be interested in the music, many years after it was released. But to the ones that want to be paid straight away, this is a problem.
A hard-working band, that tours like crazy, building their audience, city by city, state by state, country by country.
Known in Europe, it wasn’t until Metallica put them as openers in the U.S Death Magnetic trek that Volbeat started to get traction in the U.S.
And then their albums started selling.
And then they went out on their own, and the shows kept on selling out.
Certifications are nice to have.
But they are not the be all and end all to have a career in music.
Longevity and people listening is the key.