Let’s check the health of Canadian music sales and streaming, shall we?

As more of the country starts to slowly open up and lockdowns ease, what will be the effect on music consumption? Will people go back to buying physical music? Will streaming patterns be altered? No clue. That’s why we’re paying extra-careful attention to these stats from Nielsen SoundScan.

  • Total album sales vs. last year are still disastrous, but that’s to be expected. Year-to-date sales are down 38.6%.
  • CDs sales have taken the worst hit, down 53.1% from this time last year.
  • Digital albums? Down 22.2%
  • Digital tracks? Softer by 27.7%.
  • Vinyl? A big drop of 28.0%.
  • Meanwhile, on-demand audio streams are up by 16.5% from where we were a year ago.

Fine. That things are bad are a given. But have we bottomed out? Maybe not. Here are some week-over-week numbers

  • Total album sales dropped 4.1% over the last week.
  • CDs slipped by 7.9%
  • Digital album are close to even (-1.5%)
  • Digital track sales actually gained 1.8% over the last week.
  • Vinyl is still struggling (-4.3%)
  • Streaming is about the same week-to-week (-0.8%)

Alberta still leads with the greatest drop in album sales over last year: -48.8%.

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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