The RIAA's ongoing quest to most accurately determine just how much music we're consuming has reached another milestone, with the much-maligned trade association taking the controversial step of incorporating streaming data into its sales certifications.

The change in methodology has had an immediate effect on a wide variety of artists, including Journey (whose 'Don't Stop Believin'' has been certified quintuple platinum as a result) and Kansas (whose 'Dust in the Wind' is now a platinum record). It marks the most drastic expansion of sales data since the Nielsen SoundScan system was implemented in 1991.

Saying that the change "reflects the wide spectrum of ways consumers enjoy music from their favorite bands," RIAA chairman Cary Sherman announced the news in a press release, explaining, "The music business, along with its incredible array of digital service partners, is offering fans more access to music than ever before. We’re thrilled that our awards will now more fully recognize artists’ commercial success today."

The new data will be pulled not only from paid or "freemium" audio services like Pandora and Spotify but also from video sites like Vevo and YouTube.

But as any recording artist who's taken a hard look at his royalty statements could tell you, a stream doesn't count for as much as a download or a physical sale, and it's no different for certifications. In fact, an artist has to accrue 100 streams to count for a single sale. Still, the next time you click on a link from a co-worker or a relative, you could end up helping someone earn a platinum record.