Only two debut albums went Gold in the US in the first half of 2016. Guess who?

The RIAA certified just two debut artist albums as Gold sellers in the first half of this year – and they both came from the same label.

Nine Track Mind by Charlie Puth and Islah by Kevin Gates (pictured) both reached Gold in the US in Jan-June.

The records have something in common: they are signed to Warner’s Atlantic, but come through Artist Partners Group (APG) – the imprint founded and run by Warner Creative Officer Mike Caren.

Artist Partners Group received a renewed multi-million dollar investment from Warner Music Group earlier this year.

Based in Los Angeles, the company is home to both a label and publishing operation, in addition to a number of state-of-the-art studios on site.

Artist Partners CEO Mike Caren first joined Warner in 1995 as an A&R for Atlantic.

Mike Caren

“I like to think of artist partners as an indie major label.”

Mike Caren

Speaking in February, he said: “I like to think of Artist Partners as an indie major label that offers its talent the resources of a major with an independent’s entrepreneurial spirit and urge for experimentation.”

He added: “Our goal is to amplify and execute their ideas without being beholden to any traditional industry rules.”

The RIAA Gold certification recognises albums which have ‘sold’ over 500,000 units.

However, these ‘sales’ aren’t only made up of traditional purchases.

In the US, ten permanent track downloads from each album also counts as a ‘sale’.

In addition – and most controversially – an ‘album equivalent sale’ is achieved every time 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video streams are played from an LP… even if they’re all just of one track.

Since the midway point of the year, one more new debut artist record – ZAYN’s Mind Of Mine – has achieved Gold status in the US.

Kevin Gates’s Islah now looks odds-on to reach platinum status by the end of 2016.Music Business Worldwide

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