For too long, songwriters have had to work within an outdated system that over-regulates and undervalues their music. The Music Modernization Act of 2017 will help change that.
[Note: the text of this post is reproduced from an email sent out to ASCAP members. You do not have to be an ASCAP member to respond to this request that is supported by all Performing Rights Organizations and other entities involving songwriters and music publishers. You can find the original message here.]
Improved compensation for music creators
ASCAP has long advocated for a more flexible framework that can adapt to the realities of the modern music marketplace. The Music Modernization Act is a bipartisan music reform bill that represents months of compromise and collaboration between stakeholders from the music and tech sectors.
It includes provisions that we hope will ultimately result in compensation for our members that better reflects the true value of your music:
Rate court reform: replacing a single rate court judge for each PRO with different judges randomly assigned to each rate-setting proceeding (the “wheel” system)
Removal of Section 114(i) of the Copyright Act: allowing a rate court to consider all relevant evidence when determining songwriter compensation – including the rates that recording artists earn – an ability that is currently prohibited by law.
The Music Modernization Act of 2017 also includes provisions to reform Section 115 of the Copyright Act to create a single licensing entity that will administer the mechanical reproduction rights for all digital uses of musical compositions like those used in interactive streaming models. This replaces the “bulk NOI” process that often failed to result in payments to songwriters and music publishers with a system that will enable digital music services to find the owners of the music they use.
While no legislation will solve all of our industry challenges, on balance we believe this is a significant step forward for all music creators.
If you are a member of BMI or SESAC and have received notification from them about a petition regarding the Music Modernization Act of 2017, you are of course welcome to respond to their communication.
Why more Brits than ever are on their way to Nashville
Pop quiz: What’s the biggest industry in Music City? No, it’s not music, it’s healthcare. But ‘Healthcare City’ doesn’t sound half as much fun as Music City, and Nashville’s musical heritage accounts for millions of dollars in tourist revenue. Much of that revenue comes from foreign visitors and that revenue is set to increase still further. The reason: direct flights to Nashville from London’s Heathrow Airport.
Two recent news stories – one from each side of the Atlantic – look at Nashville from different perspectives. ‘Boom (Chicka-Boom) Town’ by Chris Parton in the January issue of Nashville Lifestyles magazine interviews nine ‘movers and shakers’ in Nashville’s music industry.
Meanwhile, a story in London’s Sunday Times, dated December 31, 2017, tells British readers why they “should join the hoedown in 2018” by flying to Nashville. The article’s author, Rich Hall, should know what he’s talking about. He is an American performer whose comedy and country music show, Rich Hall’s Hoedown, tours the UK from February to June, often adopting the character of Tennessee country musician Otis Lee Crenshaw.
‘More than one style’ of country music
Hall makes a point of mentioning several venues familiar to Nashville residents but probably less so to overseas visitors. He writes that there’s more than one style of country music. “Station Inn is spectacular for bluegrass,” says Hall. “And at 3rd and Lindsley, every Monday night, a 10-piece band called the Time Jumpers takes the stage, featuring Andy Reiss and Vince Gill (guitars), Paul Franklin (steel) and leader Ranger Doug (playing killer rhythm on an old Stromberg). If you’ve never heard western swing music, prepare for a religious conversion.”
Brits are notorious for being bad tippers, as tipping is less expected in Britain. Mentioning several of Lower Broad’s honky tonks, Rich says, “There’s a bucket at the foot of the stage. That’s for tips. Be generous, you tight-fisted British miserlings.”
Thank you, Rich! Let’s hope your readers make a note of that!
‘Behind the Scenes’ in Music City
Back at Nashville Lifestyles’ Music Issue (subtitled ‘Behind the Scenes of Our Signature industry’), the story notes that: “According to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Regional Economic Development Guide, the area’s population has now ballooned to more than 1.8 million people and, in 2016, was joined by 13.9 million visitors.” Those visitors made an impact of $5.7 billion on the city.
If you are part of the music industry, yours is one of 56,000 jobs that are maintained as a result of music in Nashville, according to Chamber estimates. The magazine article quotes the Music City Music Council’s report that 8,000 jobs are directly involved in music making, with 190+ recording studios in the city. “Nashville is currently home to 10 times more music activity than either Los Angeles or New York,” reports writer Chris Parton in Nashville Lifestyles.
‘Challenges’ for Nashville’s music creators
But some of Nashville’s music creators are facing challenges. “Songwriters and publishers have seen a huge payment disparity in the streaming area versus the artists and record labels,” Bart Herbison, Executive director of Nashville Songwriters Association (NSAI) explained to Parton. “On the performance side, [artists and labels] get 88 cents for every 12 cents we get, and, on the sales-royalty side, it’s seven-to-one or greater. So, we’re trying to fix that.” (A note from Preshias: for more information on the Songwriter Equity Act, see an earlier post at NashvilleMusicLine.com.)
Among the other Nashville music execs interviewed for the Nashville Lifestyles story are Kos Weaver, Executive VP of BMG Nashville, Mike Dungan, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, Nashville, and Shannan Hatch, Creative Director of SESAC, and several others. All offer professional insight into Nashville’s music industry and where it is heading.
Rob Beckham, partner at WME/IMG points out that in the past, country acts rarely toured abroad. “But now that international audiences can access the music as easily as domestic audiences, we are seeing an increased demand to bring our acts overseas,” he told Parton.
Which brings us back to the article written by Rich Hall for the Sunday Times in London, England. American-born Hall is a comedian who has become popular in Britain and is frequently featured on BBC TV shows.
“Behind Lower Broadway stands the mecca of country music, the Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ole Opry. Giants walked here. Stand on the center-stage circle and channel the ghosts of Hank Williams, Chet Atkins and Tammy Wynette. The Opry still broadcasts from there on weekends from November to January. Do not, however, confuse this with Opryland, a Disneyfied tourist hellhole on the outskirts of town, designed to separate rubes from the contents of their wallets.” – Rich Hall
In addition to mentioning Nashville’s music venues, Hall recommends Brit visitors sample Nashville hot chicken, country ham, grits, Goo Goo Clusters and hash browns slathered in Cheez Whiz – though not necessarily all on the same plate.
Nashvillians are ‘just genuinely nice’
Hall’s article closes by mentioning that Nashville is exceptional because it is so friendly. In fact, Travel & Leisure magazine named Nashville one of ‘America’s friendliest cities’. Nashvillians, says Hall, are: “Just genuinely nice. So much of America runs together these days. Nashville stands out. After a short time here, you start wondering why the rest of the world can’t be this pleasant.”
British Airways’ new direct flights between London and Nashville are scheduled to begin in May 2018, so expect to hear even more Brit accents at this year’s CMA Music Festival, June 7 – 10. You can reach Rich Hall at offthekerb.co.uk/rich-hall
You can read the entire ‘Boom (Chicka-Boom) Town’ article and more about what’s happening in Music City in the January edition of Nashville Lifestyles, now at newsstands or go to www.nashvillelifestyles.com
Preshias Harris is a music journalist and music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at www.collegeofsongology.com Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com
Proactivity is part of a singer or songwriter’s “Pod of Seven P’s”
Being proactive is not the same as merely being active. When you are proactive, you take action in advance of a situation. That might mean taking action to make a good situation even more beneficial to you, or taking action to prevent or minimize the effects of a bad situation.
Note: this is one part of my seven-part series “The ‘P’ Pod: Seven characteristics shared by the most successful people in the music industry.” It is currently being serialized atMusicStartsHere.org
Here are two scenarios:
You’ve been asked to open for a fairly well-known act in a nearby town, and, although the money isn’t great, it could be an opportunity to make more people aware of who you are and what you do….
Continue reading the ‘Proactivity’ chapter (and another chapter, ‘Positivity,’ in the same post) atMusicStartsHere.org MusicStartsHere is the go-to place for news and information for artists, songwriters and anyone interested in the music.
When it comes to music, everyone has their own opinion about what is ‘best.’ Below are some links to “Best 2017 Album” lists, plus important news about legislation that will affect songwriters’ income… and a Justin Timberlake video you just gotta see! But we’ll start with an item about a company creating laminates that deliver complete albums, videos and photos to your fans.
Check out these interactive souvenir laminates from iDitty
Artists looking for something that’s both nifty and original might want to check out a neat product from iDitty, a state-of-the art tech company that manufactures digital, interactive souvenir laminates. They offer a customizable, fan-oriented “All-Access” laminate designed to make artist happenings and music accessible in real time at the swipe of a finger.
Since its formation in 2014, award-winning country music entertainers, legends and chart-toppers (Big & Rich, Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Young, Charlie Daniels and Tracy Lawrence), along with some of today’s hottest newcomers (Lee Brice, Justin Moore and Joe Denim) have aligned with iDitty to move full album sales. Collectively, iDitty claims $2.5 million in music sales to date, and Music Row Influentials validate the one-of-a-kind merch item as “the CD replacement.” For more information, visit iDitty.com or contact Hugh Kirkpatrick here: email@example.com.
Best albums of 2017
Question: What were the best albums of 2017? Answer: Depends on who you ask. You can find Rolling Stone’s ’50 Best Albums of 2017’ here. Meanwhile, NPR (National Public Radio) have prepared their own Top 50 album list here. When it comes to Country, there are several lists to pick from. Start with Taste of Country’s ’10 Country Albums That Stood Above the Rest in 2017’ here. and then check Billboard’s ‘The 10 Best Country Albums of 2017: Critics’ Choice’ at the magazine’s website. No doubt, with every list, you’ll say, “What?! How could they leave out [insert your favorite album name here]!”
“Songwriters are the lifeblood of Music City”
In late December, Congressmen Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) introduced “The Music Modernization Act Of 2017” (HR 4706), legislation designed to improve songwriter royalty rates from digital streaming companies while making the music licensing process more efficient.
In a story published at musicrow.com, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) says, “Songwriters are the lifeblood of Music City, and their paychecks ought to be based on the fair market value of their songs – so that when they write a hit heard around the world, you can see it in their billfolds.” Alexander continued, “We intend to introduce legislation that we have been working on for months to help songwriters receive fair market compensation early next year, and we will be including in our legislation many of the same provisions that were in the House bill introduced today.”
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch were noted as guiding forces throughout this process, years in the making. A Senate version of the legislation will be introduced in early 2018. Read the full Music Row story here.
Justin Timberlake – way before NSYNC
Some people muttered “He ain’t Country,” when Justin Timberlake appeared onstage with Chris Stapleton during the 2015 CMA Awards for their “Tennessee Whiskey” duet. But Justin’s country roots go w-a-y back to when he was just a tyke growing up in Shelby Forest, Tennessee.
If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at a young Timberlake performing an Alan Jackson song on Star Search here.
Troy Gentry, Glen Campbell, Don Williams, Mel Tillis and more
Sadly, 2017 saw the world of music lose so many great talents. Every year, we have to say farewell to some of our favorite musicians, but in 2017, we seemed to experience more than the usual number of passings.
Among those we are mourning…
Mel Tillis, 85, who wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs and recorded more than 60 albums, overcoming a speech impediment to give us so many hits such as “Coca Cola Cowboy, “I Ain’t Never” and “Good Woman Blues.”
Troy Gentry, 50, tragically killed in a helicopter crash on September 8. With Eddie Montgomery, as part of the duo Montgomery Gentry, he recorded more than 20 charting singles that showed the early influence of Southern Rock on these Kentucky boys.
Glen Campbell, 81, who found steady work as an in-demand session guitarist in Los Angeles (on cuts by Elvis, Nancy Sinatra, Dean Martin and many Phil Spector tracks), before finding fame as a singer with worldwide pop/country hits including “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Gentle On My Mind” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.”
Tom Petty, 66. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was also known as a staunch advocate for artist control over music. With his band, The Heartbreakers, he had scores of pop hits and was also part of The Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne.
Gregg Allman, 69, a Nashville native who was a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. Despite setbacks and tragedies (including the death of Duane Allman in 1971) the band continued playing, on and off until the 2010s. (Drummer Butch Trucks, another founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, died in January 2017, aged 69.)
Don Williams, 78. A 2010 inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Williams’ career included 17 number one Country chart toppers, including the Roger Cook & Sam Hogin-penned crossover hit “I Believe in You.” He was also seen in movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit II” and “WW and the Dixie Dance Kings.”
Robert Knight, 72. The R&B/pop singer and Franklin, Tenn., native was discovered singing at a Vanderbilt frat party and immediately signed to a record deal, resulting in the smash hit “Everlasting Love,” described as “one of the most enduring songs ever to come out of Nashville” by Michael Gray, the Country Music Hall of Fame historian.
Chuck Berry, 90, the rock and roll pioneer whose songwriting and guitar playing influenced generations of pop, rock and country artists. Almost until his death on March 18, 2017, Berry was performing and even recording one final album. His massive hits include “Maybellene,” “Little Queenie” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”
And so many others, including…
David Cassidy, 69, teenage heartthrob singer who found fame as part of TV’s Partridge Family… Della Reese, 86, the phenomenal R&B/Soul singer who later became a move & TV star… Fats Domino, 89, the unique New Orleans rock and roll pianist and singer… Al Jarreau, 76, the multi-Grammy-winning singer of bluesy pop hits such as “We’re In This Love Together”… Walter Becker, 67, the singer/songwriter who, with Dan Fagen, formed Steely Dan… Malcolm Young, 64, guitarist, singer and co-founder (with brother Angus) of the hard rock band AC/DC… Johnny Hallyday, 74, known as the ‘French Elvis,’ he released an astonishing 79 albums, selling more than 80 million records worldwide… Wayne Cochran, 78, the ‘blue-eyed soul’ singer whose flamboyant stage performance influenced Elvis, wrote and recorded the original version of the teen tragedy (‘splatter platter’) hit, “Last Kiss.”
Yes, there were more, and all will be missed. As The Righteous Brothers sang in 1974: “If there’s a rock and roll heaven, you know they’ve got a hell of a band.”
Perseverance: part of a singer or songwriter’s “Pod of Seven P’s”
By Preshias Harris
In many ways, Perseverance is the first cousin of Passion. When one has passion, perseverance must inevitably follow as the means of realizing one’s passion.
Note: this is one part of my seven-part series “The ‘P’ Pod: Seven characteristics shared by the most successful people in the music industry.” It is currently being serialized atMusicStartsHere.
Perseverance has sometimes been called persistence or “stick-to-it-iveness.” Whatever happens to knock you off course, you just keep going toward your goal. This doesn’t mean that, if you come to a ravine, you simply walk straight ahead and over the edge. By perseverance, you find another path, a way around the obstacle, and continue on to your goal.
Don’t let the naysayers discourage you
Your music career will, without doubt, run up against various obstacles as you proceed. There’ll be people who will tell you that you should forget about music and get a ‘real’ job. There will be meetings with music executives that you feel certain will bring about your big break, only to see those hopes crumble. And there will be promises made to you that turn out to be nothing but smoke and mirrors.
A career in music – just like careers in many other areas – can be filled with heartache and disappointment. But that doesn’t mean you’ve made the wrong career choice. Simply that you have to recognize the obstacle and find a way to get past it and back on track.
Continue reading the ‘Perseverance’ chapter atMusicStartsHere.org.MusicStartsHere is the go-to place for news and information that artists, songwriters and anyone interested in the music scene need to know.
December is often a quiet time around the music industry, but this year there are a number of news items that can affect the lives of songwriters and recording artists. Here are some you might want to check out.
BMI Songwriters Win 100% Licensing Ruling
On December 19, NSAI posted the following news bulletin: Today the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals put the issue of 100% licensing to rest by affirming an earlier ruling by BMI rate court Judge Louis Stanton.
“The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is thrilled and relieved that BMI songwriters no longer have to be concerned about the U.S. Department of Justice’s misguided ruling on 100% licensing,” said NSAI President Steve Bogard. “We congratulate BMI CEO Mike O’Neil and his team on this important victory and hope the DOJ now releases ASCAP from their ruling that was delivered in 2016. The time has come to discuss sun-setting or updating the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees so that songwriters can earn fair performance royalty rates from streaming services.”
HAAWK –that tracks revenue for rights holders – buys Royalty Claim and TuneRegistry
From a report at Billboard.com:HAAWK, a rights management and content monetization firm started by Ad-Rev co-founder Ryan Born, has acquired RoyaltyClaim and TuneRegistry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed although Haawk had previously raised $2.5 million in seed venture capital from Rincon Venture Partners.
Prior to this current acquisition, HAAWK bought certain assets from Dart Music, which specialized in cleaning up music rights metadata, among other rights management services. That company filed for bankruptcy last summer and its assets were sold in separate deals to HAAWK and Core Rights LLC this fall. Continue reading the Billboard story here.
Songwriters: Support H.R. 3945, a bill to create a Small Claims Court
An email sent out by The Copyright Alliance urges creators (including songwriters) to support a bill in Congress that would establish a way for individuals to fight infringement of their rights. The text of the email reads:
Join the copyright community in asking your Congressional Representative to cosponsor H.R. 3945, the CASE Act of 2017, a bill that would create a copyright small claims court for creators and small businesses (It’s quick and easy to do!)
For many photographers, illustrators, authors, songwriters and other creators who own copyrighted works, enforcing their rights is not feasible. Litigation is expensive and many creators simply can’t afford it. In effect, the U.S. copyright system currently provides creators with rights but no effective remedies.
Among all the recording studios in Nashville, probably the most famous has to be RCA Studio B. In many ways, it was where the ‘Nashville Sound’ developed, mainly under the direction of the legendary Chet Atkins. But the microphones have not been mothballed just yet, according to a story broadcast on WPLN.
For 20 years (1957 to 1977), Studio B was the birthplace of hundreds of hit records that impacted both the Country and Pop charts. The list of stars who stepped up to the microphone in that studio includes Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton and so many more. My cousins, the Everly Brothers, were there from the beginning, cutting their first Studio B session in November 1957.
Now, Studio B is a must-see stop for visitors to Nashville and the tour buses pull up every hour across the street from my office on Music Square West. But although Studio B is now a tourist destination, operated and maintained by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, some musicians still find a way to capture the unique sound that only this studio can create.
WPLN-FM, Nashville’s Public Radio station, recently aired a story about musicians and artists who find a way to record songs today in Studio B, keeping that signature sound alive. As an example, JD McPherson recently topped the Americana charts with ‘Lucky Penny.’ He recorded it at the famed studio 60 years after Don Gibson recorded his version of the song in the same studio.
You can hear the audio of that WPLN story and read the text here.
If you want to know more about the amazing history of RCA Studio B, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum published a book, full of stories and pictures, that’s available in the book shop and online.
Garth Brooks will likely remember Saturday, December 9, 2017 for a number of reasons. When he and wife Trisha Yearwood picked up their mics at the afternoon press conference, he told us it was something of a homecoming for them: the first time they had played Nashville since the fundraiser following the ‘great Nashville flood’ of 2010.
As Trisha said, after three years on the road, it was pleasant to realize they didn’t have to pack a suitcase. After each of their Nashville shows, they could simply drive to their home in Goodlettsville. Garth smiled at said, “Welcome to the end of the journey.”
December 9 also marked the official announcement that Garth’s latest single, ‘Ask Me How I Know,’ reached Number One on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. It was his first Number One since 2007’s ‘More Than A Memory.’ To add poignancy, December 9, 1989, was the date that Garth reached the Number One spot for the first time with ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes.’
Oh, and Saturday was the eve of Garth and Trisha’s wedding anniversary: they were married December 10, 2005. A memorable weekend in so many ways.
Garth’s pre-show celebration
At a backstage party prior to Saturday’s show at Bridgestone Arena, Garth and Trisha celebrated their return to Nashville following an incredible tour that shattered every record for attendance and ticket revenue. Awards were presented to Garth, one after another, marking so many milestones in a unique career. Among his astonishing achievements: he is the best-selling solo artist in the United States with over 148 million domestic units sold, and over 160 million records sold worldwide.
He is also the only artist to have released seven albums that reached diamond status, according to RIAA. (This is an even greater achievement when you remember that he took a hiatus from recording between 2001 and 2009 to focus more fully on being with his family.)
At the pre-show party, it was also announced that Garth also tops the Nielsen BookScan chart with the Number One non-fiction book, ‘The Anthology, Part One: The First Five Years.’
And then it was showtime. A packed Bridgestone Arena was treated to a superb show that opened with a solo set from singer/songwriter Mitch Rossell who wrote Garth’s current chart-topper, ‘Ask Me How I Know.’ That song is Rossell’s first commercially released cut as a songwriter, making it a memorable night for him, too. Rossell was followed by a set by Karyn Rochelle, a fine songwriter who co-penned ‘Red High Heels’ with Kelly Pickler.
Two+ hours of high energy
When Garth finally hit the stage, the sold-out crowd erupted as he roared into ‘Let’s Lay Down and Dance,’ the beginning of more than two hours of faultless high energy. Garth is a master of handling a crowd. At one point, without saying or singing a word, he virtually ‘conducted’ the audience like a mime. For several minutes, he urged different sections of the crowd to compete in the volume of the noise they could produce, building to a deafening crescendo.
As he had pointed out at the press conference, he understands an audience’s desire to hear the familiar hits and he knows how to finesse the performance of lesser-known or current material into his set. He didn’t disappoint, performing a string of crowd favorites, including ‘The Thunder Roars,’ ‘Rodeo,’ ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes,’ and many more. Trisha joined him onstage with some of her own hits including ‘She’s In Love With the Boy’ and ‘Memphis.’
With all the records that Garth has already broken, he isn’t done yet. Although the current World Tour is finally coming to an end, there’s no end in sight to his unique and remarkable career, as much a tribute to his mastery of marketing as to his amazing musical talent. There’s more to come.
Footnote:Mitch Rossell, who opened for Garth and also wrote the current Number One, may be finding his first taste of chart success as a writer, but he is no newcomer to the music business. As he told the audience during his set, he’d been playing music and writing songs as long as he could remember. He’d been in Nashville for about five years, determined to make music his career. He looked around the packed arena and said that before these tour dates with Garth, “I was playing Tootsie’s bar at the Nashville Airport.” Aspiring artists and songwriters need to remind themselves that ‘Nashville is a five-year town’ – or maybe a ten-year town for some. Patience and perseverance win out in the end.
Garth Brooks is undeniably one of the most enduring artists in Country music with a career that continues to set and break records.
This week, he is once again celebrating a chart-topper as his poignant ballad, “Ask Me How I Know,” hits Number One, landing the top spot on Billboard and Country Aircheck/Mediabase Country Airplay charts. The track is Brooks’ 20th No. One and the first songwriting cut by newcomer Mitch Rossell. The feat also marks a full-circle moment for Brooks, as this week is the 28th anniversary of his first No. One with “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” which summited the charts on Dec. 9, 1989.
First cut for Mitch Rossell
Brooks expressed his congratulations to the team at his record label and to songwriter Rossel. “I’m so proud of the Pearl Records team for working so hard for this No. One,” said Brooks. “Congrats to Mitch Rossell on his first cut…so happy for you, pal! And to country radio…four decades later, thanks for still believing. I’m humbled and very grateful.”
Brooks is on the final run of the Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood this week. He starts a seven-show run at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on December 9 to mark the end of the tour. (Personal note: I will be in the audience for the Saturday show, December 9th!) In a little over three years, the tour has sold over 6.4 million tickets, making it the biggest North American tour in history and the biggest American tour in the world. For tickets, click here.
Six-time CMA Entertainer of the Year
Garth Brooks just won Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards for a sixth time, a first for any artist. He is also the first artist in history to receive 7 Diamond awards for the now seven albums certified by the RIAA at over 10 million album sales each and remains the #1-selling solo artist in U.S. history certified by the RIAA with over 148 million album sales. He has received every accolade the recording industry can bestow on an artist.