Put a championship ring on it: Beyonce was far and away the queen of gold and platinum sales milestones during the past decade.
The RIAA on Wednesday released a compilation of its awards for 2000-09, and the heavily Grammy-ed songstress leads the field with 64 certifications, including albums, digital songs, master ringtones and music videos. The one-time Destiny’s Child singer also led the league in ringtone certifications with 19.
Meanwhile, a generation after their creative peak — and breakup — the Eagles continue to wing past sales milestones, topping all other groups in total gold and platinum awards with 48. Fellow ’70s breakout act Michael Jackson led male solo artists with 44.
The list only covers music released during the decade.
Three albums from disparate genres tied for highest certification at 11 times platinum: ‘N Sync’s “No Strings Attached” (2000), Shania Twain’s “Up!” (2002) and Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” (2003).
A pair of 2008 smashes led the digital categories: Flo Rida’s “Low” was the decade’s highest-certified digital song at quintuple platinum, and Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” led phone tones at five times platinum. Both, of course, also are the all-time record holders.
A gold award is presented for sales of 500,000 albums, digital songs or ringtones, and platinum is recognized at the 1 million mark. Each multiplatinum award is counted as a separate certification. A music video goes gold at 25,000 units, platinum at 50,000 and multiplatinum for every 50,000 units after that; the milestones for longform videos are 50,000, 100,000 and 200,000-plus.
“We’ve seen a decade of major music milestones and extraordinary artist achievements as part of our historic Gold and Platinum program,” RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol said. “The names, songs and albums on our list are the decade’s best and are etched in our music DNA.”
A few highlights from the decade:
— The digital single award was introduced in October 2004. Nearly a year later, Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” becomes the first platinum download.
— The master ringtone award debuted in June 2006. The Black Eyed Peas, Chamillionaire, D4L and T-Pain earned the RIAA’s first multiplatinum ringtone certifications.
— On Jan. 10, 2007, Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” goes double-platinum to become the first multiplatinum digital download.
The RIAA’s certification program launched in 1958, when Perry Como’s single “Catch a Falling Star” became the first-ever gold record; the “Oklahoma!” soundtrack was certified as the first gold album four months later. The platinum award debuted in 1976, with Johnnie Taylor’s “Disco Lady” being the first single to snag the award and the Eagles’ “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)” the first album. The latter is tied with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” as the best-selling album of all time in the U.S., at 29 times platinum. Fueled by then-nascent MTV, the music video certifications were established in 1981.
In December, Billboard named Beyonce the female artist of the decade. Her solo career began in the ’00s and she notched 23 Hot 100 singles and five No. 1s. On the Billboard 200, she’s racked six entries, including three studio efforts that all went to No. 1.
Eminem earned Billboard’s Artist of the Decade title and top male artist of the decade.
Billboard’s decade-end artist recap ranked the best-performing acts of the past 10 years (from Dec. 4, 1999, to Nov. 28, 2009) based on activity on two charts: the Billboard 200 albums list and the Billboard Hot 100 songs tally.