Date: 1 August 1983
Originally published in: Solid Gold Annual (UK)
Written by: John Kercher
Everyone likes to win prizes, and in the world of pop music they come in the form of silver, gold and platinum discs. They aren’t exactly made of these precious metals because the cost would be astronomical, but that doesn’t in any way demean the value of these coveted awards.
for to win any of these discs, a pop star or group has to have sold an incredible amount of singles or albums. Walk into any record company office and you’re bound to see the walls lined with these awards, neatly framed, and announcing the title of the song and the artist who recorded it for that particular record label.
Pop stars themselves are also fond of putting them up on display at their homes and Kim Wilde is currently trying to find more wall space for the mound of gold and silver discs that are piling up on her lounge floor!
But how exactly do they win these prized records? It’s quite a complicated process but at its easiest, each country around the world, where that singer or group has sold records, awards platinum, gold and silver discs on the basis of predetermined number of units sold! This figure is also geared to the size of that country’s population.
In Britain, a platinum disc is awarded for anyone who sells 300,000 albums or one million singles. No mean achievement! For gold it is 100,000 albums and half a million singles. And for Silver, 60,000 albums or a quarter of a million singles.
For America, the sales figures are considerably higher because there are moer record buyers there and what is considered qualification for a gold here might mean only average sales there. Australia, however, has a lower population and therefore the figures are lower.
So it might well be that a particularly good seller in a country like Australia could collect several awards. It is not unusual for major groups or singers to have a dozen or more gold discs for the same record, collected from several countries. And popularity of certain records vary around the world. Kim Wilde, for instance did reasonably well with her ‘Cambodia’ here, but it sold 1,5 million in France!
Albums and singles don’t have to have an immediate success to be awarded platinum, gold or silver. So a record could be released that sells a million over a number of years and then is accorded the particular status.
Kim Wilde, making an impressive start to her carer waded in with gold for ‘Kids in America’, her debut single, The ‘Kim Wilde’ album, and silver for ‘Chequered love’.