Here’s your year-end report for music consumption in Canada in 2019 (There are a lot of fascinating facts here.)

Nielsen Music Canada has just released a summary of how we Canadians hoovered music in 2019. Here are the highlights:

  • We listened to 75.8 billion songs as streams between January and December 2019. That’s up 31.2% from the year prior and a new record.
  • The most-streamed song was “Old Down Road” by Lil Nas X (244 million)
  • We watched a lot of music, too: 22.4 billion streams, up 59.7%.
  • Interesting fact: Most of that number–72%–was for catalogue content (i.e. releases at least two years old.)
  • Album consumption (sales + streams ) was 75.4 million, up 18.1% over 2018.
  • Physical album sales (physical + digital) were down 23.3%, led lower by a 26% drop in CD sales.
  • Vinyl ended the year ahead 2.2%. Most of those sales came from catalogue content. A total of 1.03 million new vinyl records were sold, accounting for 16% of all music sales. The top-selling record of the year was Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix (13,000). It was also the top-selling vinyl record of the decade (49,000 units).
  • The biggest artists in Canada this year: Shawn Mendes, Post Malone, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Celine Dion and Drake.
  • Post Malone was streamed the most (575,255,000 times). Drake was in second place (572,780,000) while Billie Eilish was third (479,181,000)
  • Teens spend 44% of their music listening time with streams. The rest of us spend 33%.
  • The most popular genre of podcast? Music.
  • The most popular song on Canadian radio in 2019: “Some You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi.

Focusing on rock, we have these figures:

Best-selling Rock Artists of 2019

  1. Queen
  2. Beatles
  3. Imagine Dragons
  4. Elton John
  5. Metallica

Top 5 Rock Albums of 2019

  1. Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack (131,000)
  2. Elton John, Diamonds (92,000)
  3. Tragically Hip, Yer Favourites (66,000)
  4. Bryan Adams, Shine a Light (63,000)
  5. Imagine Dragons, Origins (62,000)

Top 5 Rock Songs on Canadian Radio (This requires discussion, methinks)

  1. Panic! At the Disco, High Hopes (78,000 spins)
  2. Billie Eilish, Bad Guy (49,000)
  3. The Strumbellas, Salvation (35,000)
  4. Panic! At the Disco, Hey Look Ma, I Made It (26,000)
  5. Portugal. The Man, Feel It Still (25,000)

Now let’s look at the entire decade.

  • The top-selling albums of the decade? Adele’s 21 (1,582,900) and 25 (1,093,000) for a grand total of 2,966,000.
  • Taylor Swift sold the most individual songs (6,591,000)
  • No one streamed more songs than Drake (3,065,000,000 audio + video, 2,610,926,000 audio only)
  • Most-streamed (audio + video) song of the decade: “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee (300,890,000).
  • The most-streamed song (audio only): “Shape of You” from Ed Sheeran (147,120,000)
  • Canada is still a rock nation. Five of the most-played songs on the radio in the 2010s were rock artists including three Canadians: Bryan Adams (1), Tragically Hip (6) and Nickelback (7).
  • The most-preferred genres in Canada: (1) Classic rock (2) Oldies (3) Pop/Top 40/Hip-hop (4) Contemporary/alt-rock and (5) Easy listening.
  • The most-played artist on Canadian radio was Bryan Adams (2,747,000 spins for the decade). Other rock artist in the top 10 include U2 third place, (2,362,999 spins), Tragically Hip (sixth, 2,254,000), Nickelback (seventh, 2,073,000) and Aerosmith (tenth, 1,883,000).
  • The most-spun mainstream rock song for the decade was Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (41,000) followed by “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by GNR (39,000) and Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” (38,000).
  • The most-played alt-rock song of the decade was “Do I Wanna Know?” by Arctic Monkeys (22,000) followed by AWOLNATION’s “Sail” (21,000) and “Pumped Up Kicks” from Foster the people (21,000-ish
  • The most-played rock song on Canadian radio through the 2010s: “I Got a Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas (283,000) followed by Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” (276,000)

There’s much more, but I think you get the picture.

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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