Music recording certifications are typically awarded by the global music industry based on the total units sold or shipped to the retailers. These awards and their requirements are defined by the various certifying bodies representing the music industry in various countries and territories worldwide. The standard certification awards given consist of Gold, Platinum, and sometimes Diamond awards, in ascending order; the UK also has a Silver certification, ranking below Gold. In most cases, a "Multi-Platinum" or "Multi-Diamond" award is given for multiples of the Platinum or Diamond requirements.
Many music industries around the globe are represented by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The IFPI operates in 66 countries and services affiliated industry associations in 45 countries. In some cases, the IFPI is merely affiliated with the already operational certification bodies of a country, but in many others countries with lesser-developed industries, the IFPI acts as the sole certifying body servicing the country or region's music industry. Still other countries not represented by the IFPI have certifying bodies operating independently, such as individual record companies which service the country or region's music industry as a whole.
Though all certifying bodies give awards for album sales or shipments, many also certify singles, paid digital downloads, music videos, music DVDs, and master ringtones. Additionally, some certifying bodies have separate threshold scales for works of domestic or international origins, varying genres, lengths, and formats. From the 2010s digital streaming was included in some territories.