There’s some good news about Canadian music sales and streams during the pandemic

Nielsen Music Canada has published its mid-year report and the news is surprisingly good. According to their analysis, Canadian music consumption is up 5.7% year-over-year despite the pandemic. The hero in all this is streaming.

  • Canadians streamed 42.5 billion on-demand audio streams, which is up 16.7% from 2019.
  • Album sales are down a whopping 38.4%.
  • Digital tracks are down 26.6%.
  • And vinyl–which was struggling before the pandemic–is down 26%. Only 311,000 units were sold across the country in the first half of the year.

Another interesting stat: 62% of all music streams were to what the industry calls “catalogue” music, which means songs more than two years old. It’s not just about the current hits. People are going back in time for their streams.

Meanwhile, here the week-over-week stats. Given the dearth of big-name releases over the last couple of weeks, I’m not surprised at these declines.

  • Total album sales: -6.7% from a week ago.
  • CDs are essentially flat (-0.9% from last week)
  • Digital albums, -7.6%
  • Digital tracks, -11.1%
  • Vinyl albums, -21.2%

Alberta continues to the hardest-hit province when it comes to album sales. Things are down 50.3% from this point in 2019.

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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