Thresholds on albums lowered after July 1.

France's SNEP has lowered its album certification thresholds. The decision is applicable for all certification requests received by the labels trade body after July 1.

From that date, 75,000 album shipments are required for gold status, down from 100,000. Platinum status is measured at 200,000, down from 300,000. Diamond certification is awarded at 750,000 units, down from one million.

"With these levels, one can expect that the number of album certifications roughly reach the same level as three years ago, when France's market entered the crisis," SNEP director general Hervé Rony told Billboard.biz.

Rony said that, although digital sales will shortly be taken into account in the certification process, lowering the thresholds was necessary to address the downturn in the market.

SNEP represents France's four majors and some of the biggest French indies.

French indie labels' trade body UPFI, however, slammed SNEP's decision. "It is distressing that SNEP can take a sudden and unilateral decision on such a matter," said Stephan Bourdoiseau, president of UPFI and president of leading indie Wagram Music.

Bourdoiseau adds, "SNEP's decision dramatically devaluates the certifications, only to address a short-term crisis due to a mutation in the distribution model."

And when digital sales are measured alongside physical formats, "the certifications will very soon be accessible as easily as before," Bourdoiseau says.

UPFI issues its own certifications, until now based on the same data levels as SNEP.

Bourdoiseau says that UPFI will consult its members to decide whether to follow SNEP's move or to keep their thresholds unchanged.

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