Time to Start Crunching the Year-End Numbers in Music for 2017, Including Sales and Streams of Those Who Died

The people at Nielsen Music Canada spend all their days monitoring how we consume music and teasing out facts and trends from the data. Their annual year-end report will be out soon, but they’re offering up these appetizers. I quote (with some annotations):

Audio On-Demand Streams are up 75% over 2016 so far this year. This past week marked the first week since Nielsen Music began tracking streaming in Canada that audio on-demand streams surpassed the 900 million mark. That number is only going to increase every week in 2018.

Many genres saw increases in audio on-demand streaming consumption over last year

  • Latin +163% (Gotta be “Despacito” that’s responsible for most of this.)
  • Children +102%
  • Rap +101%
  • R&B +86%
  • Country +75%
  • Hard Rock +68%
  • Pop +64%
  • Alt. Rock +52%
  • Dance/Electronic +52%

That’s all fine, but all forms of rock still aren’t being streamed in the numbers necessary for the labels to push more marketing money its way. Labels make more than 50% of their revenues from streaming now, which means they’re going to continue to invest in the genres that are hot–i.e. rap and R&B. Try to get any marketing money for any new band that dares plays guitars.

o   Streaming lifts help make up for the drops in physical and digital sales

  • Overall albums -16%
  • Digital Tracks -19%


Vinyl & Cassettes

  • Sales of vinyl LPs continued to grow, running 22% ahead of this time last year.
  • Vinyl sales have enjoyed year-over-year growth every year since 2011
  • Cassettes sparked new interest, especially with the two Guardians Of The Galaxy soundtracks. (Yeah, but only about 6,500 pre-record cassettes have sold in all of Canada so far this year. Fake news!)


In Memoriam

Chris Cornell (passed May 18)

The week of Cornell’s passing, the combined album sales of Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple Of The Dog and his solo work went from just over 100 units the previous week to over 3,000

On-Demand streaming increased significantly over the previous week:

  • Soundgarden +726%
  • Audioslave +389%
  • Temple Of The Dog +402%
  • Solo work +1380%


Chester Bennington (passed July 20)

Following the passing of the Linkin Park frontman, the band’s consumption increased 227%

Seven of the band’s albums were on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart, including One More Light at No. 4


Kenny Shields (passed July 21)

Consumption rose 870% the week following his passing. (I was such a huge Streetheart fan back in the day. If you came of age musically in the late 70s and live in Winnipeg, it was pretty much the law that you were required to own the first two Streetheart albums.)


Gord Downie (passed October 17)

The week of The Tragically Hip frontman’s passing saw the band’s overall consumption increase by 1000% over the previous week

Six of the band’s albums charted on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart, including their best of collection, Yer Favourites at No. 2

Two weeks later, Downie’s new solo album Introduce Yourself debuted at number one


Tom Petty (passed October 2)

Four of Petty’s albums charted the week following his passing, including Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits, which re-entered at No. 5

Total sales for Petty’s catalog, solo and bands, posted over a 1500% album sales increase

  • Digital track sales +1800%
  • Streams +1000%


Patrick Bourgeois (passed November 26)

Overall consumption of the band’s catalog rose nearly 3000% the week following his passing.


I’ll have more data from Nielsen Music Canada once their report is out.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.