Canadian record music sales continue to tank as a result of COVID-19, but…

Weekly figures released last night by Nielsen Music Canada show that sales of recorded music continue to take a beating during the pandemic.

Let’s start by comparing things year-upon-year. Here’s where things stand compared to where we were at this point in 2019.

  • Total album sales, -36.5%
  • CDs, -46.5%
  • Digital albums, -25.2%
  • Digital tracks, -28.1%
  • Vinyl LPs, -29.7%

But not all is lost. Last week, sales of CDs actually increased by 37.7% from the week before. Yes, that means only 20,088 units were sold across the country in those seven days, but that was way better than the previous week.

Same thing with vinyl. After tanking below 4,500 units, things rebounded to 8,454 copies, an increase of 88.2%.

If we look at on-demand audio streams, there was an increase of 2.7% over the previous week to just under 1.6 million streams. For the year, audio streaming is up 16.8%.

Interestingly, on-demand video streams are cratering. In just seven days, streams dropped by 23.9%. Year-over-year, access has dropped by 41.8%. The one-week drop was 57.6%.

Interesting. I wonder what we can read into that?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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