How are Canadian music sales and streaming rates holding up amid COVID-19? Let’s look at the numbers.

Every Monday, Nielsen offers up music sales and stream stats for the prior week across Canada. Needless to say, the news from the last 10 weeks or so has been pretty grim. Here’s where things stand today.

  • Total album sales are down 38.3% from this point in 2019.
  • CDs are performing the worst, with a year-over-year drop of 51.8%. Could COVID-19 accelerate the CD’s fall to niche status? It’s sure looking like it.
  • Digital albums are down by 22.9%
  • Digital tracks are down by 26.7%.
  • Vinyl is down by a full 30.1%
  • Meanwhile, on-demand audio streams sits at 1.691 billion streams, which is up over 2019 by 16.6%.

That things are worse than a year ago is not a surprise. But how about sales and streaming within the pandemic era itself?

  • Album sales have dropped 4.9% over the last week.
  • CD sales are down 18.5% during the same period.
  • Digital albums are down by 2.8%.
  • Digital tracks are down 1.2%.
  • Vinyl is up by 20.7%.
  • And on-demand audio streams are up by 4.7%.

I shall keep you posted.

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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