A gold record is awarded when an album reaches a certain sales threshold. This sales threshold varies from country to country and are generally set by the music industry certification body in that country. In the US, 500,000 sales equals a gold record - a number set by the RIAA. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) awards sales certifications in 70 countries.
Glenn Miller's Chattanooga Choo-Choo was the first gold record ever awarded. RCA, his label, awarded him the gold record in 1942. Until the RIAA took over awarding gold records, labels sometimes awarded them to their artists. Miller's album had sold 1,200,000 copies when he was awarded the gold record.
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