It's not unheard of for bands to get gold or platinum awards before a single copy has been sold. That's because they're based on the number of copies of an album shipped into stores, not sold.
What's unusual about "Telephantasm" is that its platinum award is based on the 1 million discs that are included in packages for the video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, released Tuesday at the same time as the album's 2-CD plus DVD deluxe edition.
Isn't that cheating? Not quite, because the music discs technically have been shipped into stores. But more significantly, Soundgarden is getting an undisclosed licensing fee from the game's publisher, Activision Blizzard Inc.
The Seattle grunge band's promoters are billing the release as a "groundbreaking partnership" because it's the first time the RIAA has recognized a sale of "non-returnable units from a music label to a gaming company."
And to some in the embattled music industry, cold, hard cash can be, in Soundgarden's words, "louder than love."
-- Alex Pham
Photo: Soundgarden's "Black Rain" as played on Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. Credit: Activision.