A larger number of sales qualifies for the award of a Platinum Album. Similar awards are also less commonly quoted for individual recordings (singles) and videos.
The number of sales required for these awards vary depending on the population of the territory in which the album is released. Normally they are awarded only to albums released at least nationally, and are awarded individually for each country in which the album is sold.
The original 'gold record' awards were presented to artists by their own record companies to publicise the achievement of one million sales. For example, Elvis Presley received one of these for the single Hound Dog in 1956. However, several different thresholds have been in use at different times and places for both album and single awards. Some of these were based on units sold and others on the value of retail sales.
This has led to controversy over how to determine the placings for the biggest selling artists of all time, and claims that some gold albums should be disregarded or even retrospectively withdrawn although they were legitimately awarded at the time.
In the USA, gold (and platinum etc) album awards have been certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) since 1958. The RIAA issues trophies to the artists to reflect their achievement. Since the most recent rule change in 1975 a gold album has been awarded for 500,000 album sales. The platinum album award was added in 1976, and at one million sales exactly matches the original concept of a 'gold record', although with the increased market it is arguably less of an achievement. Other awards have been added subsequently. For other awards and thresholds see RIAA certification.
In Australia, gold and platinum albums are certified by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). In 2003 the thresholds for albums are 35,000 sales for gold, and 70,000 for platinum. For music videos including Audio Visual DVDs gold represents 7,500 sales, platinum 15,000.
In Ireland, awards are certified by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA). In 2003 the thresholds for albums are gold 7,500 sales and platinum 10,000. For singles three categories are recognised; Silver is 7,500 sales, gold 10,000 and platinum 15,000.
In Germany, the recognitions are given by the record labels, who report to the IFPI Deutschland/Bundesverband Phono. The thresholds for Gold are 150,000 albums or 300,000 singles; To get Platinum, 300,000 albums or 500,000 singles have to have been sold. (2003)