thebigham wrote:Why all of these big re-certifications?
Were these labels requesting new certs or is the BPI finally updating pre-1994 Catalog albums?
Well thebigham, you might indeed ask! It seems that the dear old BPI have lost the plot entirely like their sister organisation OCC and decided to simply let their awards scheme open to invention as the OCC have been doing with their charts of late!
The swathe of big re-certifications on February 5 that you’re referring to are, seemingly, based upon the estimated sales totals that the OCC published first concocted in their ‘Top 40 Best Selling Albums 28 July 1956 to 14 June 2009’ list that was prepared, if I recall correctly, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Music Week in September 2009. There was an update in 2012 (& 2014?), but I'm unsure if anything more comprehensive has been published.
It must amaze and amuse you in equal measure that an award system that hitherto relied on some kind of input from the record labels to confirm sales had reached the certification level being requested (unlike your RIAA system which requires actual audit), could suddenly be highjacked as a result of guesswork. Whether this is informed, or otherwise, we no not, but someone, somewhere, has been busy with the calculator and estimated the figures which the BPI now see fit to validate for posterity. Roll over Beethoven and anyone else who might want an award (or awards) granted to them if they didn’t appear in that estimated list…you ain't entitled!
So, as has been noted elsewhere, the 1976 original ‘Abba Greatest Hits’ release is granted anonymously the status of 8xP because its sales were worked out to be 2,605,550 when it was placed No. 36 in the then (June 2009) Top 40 of UK Best Selling albums. Is the sale justified or supported by any record label? No it isn’t. Do we have any explanation or workings to back up the estimate on which the BPI has matched the certification status? No we haven’t.
Then there is 10xP for Simon & Garfunkel’s classic 1970 studio album ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ that has been granted because the OCC estimated its sales were 3,047,242 by June 2009. How they got to that level is admirable, if not astonishing, but that is the total they came up with for the then 17th bestselling UK album, and for an estimation it is as valid as most other ones I suppose, but it doesn’t mean the album sold that many and is absolutely deserving of ten platinum discs – at least not based on the tried and trusted authentification requirement from the record label.
This classic album pre-dated the inaugauration of the BPI award scheme by three years. Does it make a mockery of the previous myriad awards since the scheme started in 1973? Arguably yes, especially if the BPI aren’t going to extend their ‘gift’ of belated certification to all manner of albums both pre-dating and post-dating the outset of these awards!
Edu has addressed what seems like the most glaring error – the seventeen platinum awards belatedly bestowed upon ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, possibly the Beatles ultimate studio album from 1967. This has never been satisfactorily explained. But what about the even earlier 1965 release for ‘The Sound Of Music’ and its 8xP? Quite frankly that is paying lip-service to the greatest musical soundtrack of all time, an album which, in all its guises, certainly far exceeded 2.4m and might even be the biggest seller ever in Britain.
I’m beginning to wonder if I missed an expanded OCC sales list beneath the original Top 40 album sellers from 2009?
And how about those other soundtrack awards for ‘Saturday Night Fever’ (7xP) and ‘Grease’ (8xP), how were these conjured up? It seems like it was deemed necessary to have these certified for some reason, but how and why is beyond me.
In effect, with ‘Fever’ they are saying it has sold at least 2.1m copies since March 1978 yet it has had no significant upgrade during the automated award era, not even a measily silver for 60k. ‘Grease’, meanwhile, is beyond 3xP under the automated system which means someone has decided it sold between 1.5m and 1.8m for the 5xP during the period from release in July 1978 and February 1994. Again, that is fine, but setting it in stone with this certification is plain wrong. It is not anything other than a guess as far as anyone can tell and an official organisation such as the BPI should not be sullying its forty-year-old certification scheme with awards based on conjecture.
Of course they will state that it made sense to match the OCC status of their official top selling albums with their own certification system, especially now it is an automatic one. But was it really necessary to artificially create what amount to bogus awards just to make the OCC list seem more ‘real’?
It bothers me that I’m bothered, but to me it all smacks of artifice. A bit like someone going back in time and re-calculating who actually won past football league titles by re-calculating the final league table based on three points for a win instead of two as it always used to be. An amusing past-time for hobbyists but not something official authorities of the game should be contemplating, let alone sanctioning.
A red card to the BPI.