CD sales just keep getting worse and worse

With all physical retailers shuttered because of the coronavirus, it should come as ZERO surprise that people have stopped buying physical music.

According to Nielsen Music Canada’s weekly streaming and sales statistics, a grand total of 14,585 compact discs were sold across the entire country last week, representing a drop of 14.3% from the week before. Compared to where the same week 2019, sales are down 86.9%. Wow.

Vinyl is hurting, too, with only 4,491 units sold in all of Canada over those seven days. That’s a 21.5% drop from the week before and an 83.0% drop from the same point in 2019.

Here’s what else we learned:

  • Total album sales, -35.8% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2019
  • Physical albums, -42.3%
  • Digital albums, -26.1%
  • CDs, -44.7%
  • Vinyl, -28.6%
  • Digital tracks, -28.6%
  • On-demand audio, +16.8% (1.797 billion streams in the country last week, up 1.9% from the previous week).
  • And this seems strange: On-demand video streams are running -40.7% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2019.

This is not normal.

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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