Gold, platinum off in 1992 but multiplatinum ahead

Gold and platinum album certifications were down slightly in 1992, but multiplatinum album awards were up, according to the year-end sales tally released yesterday by the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

The trade organization offers album and single certifications for sales of 500,000 units (gold) and 1 million units (platinum), with multiplatinum status awarded for additional million-unit increments. Certifications are independently verified by the accounting firm of Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman and are based on retail sales, according to the RIAA.

Gold albums were down to 213 in 1992, a dip from 217 in 1991, while platinum certifications shrunk to 144 from 1991’s total of 163. Multiplatinum certs rose to 152 last year, up from 1991’s tally of 138.

Jay Berman, president of the RIAA, said the results should not be viewed as significant indicators of deep trouble for the year. The RIAA will release the 1992 net shipments after returns statistics in April, the official estimate of how much money the domestic music industry made last year. “It (the sales certification results) strikes me that we held our own in a difficult environment.”

Country music saw Liberty Records’ Garth Brooks’ “The Chase” become the first album to be certified for sales of 5 million copies within two months of release. Billy Ray Cyrus’ Mercury/Nashville debut, “Some Gave All,” also rocketed out of the box, certified for 5 million units in six months.

Reba McEntire’s “For My Broken Heart” on MCA/Nashville became the first double-platinum album for a female country artist, with labelmate Wynonna following suit shortly for her solo debut.

Capitol dipped deeply into its vaults for sales certifications to celebrate its 50th anniversary, culling 56 new certifications, while RCA submitted new and upgraded Elvis Presley singles, albums and EP’s to mark the 15th anniversary of the King’s death. Presley’s recordings have earned 110 RIAA certifications, the largest number bestowed on any single artist or group.

As a consequence of Presley’s certifications, singles and short-form albums were up in 1992, all rising in gold, platinum and multiplatinum categories. Whitney Houston’s single “I Will Always Love You” led the charge, hitting sales of 3 million units within two months of release.

Certifications of musicvideo singles and longform videos remained steady. Warner Music Video saw 13 of its “Kidsongs” titles go gold, platinum or multiplatinum. Kris Kross’ “Jump” video from Sony Music Video was the only multiplatinum video single of the year.

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