Music History

Weekly Music Sales Report and Analysis, 7 May 2014

Yes, yes, I’m late.  But with Canadian Music Week madness in full effect, well, that’s my excuse.

With the industry concentrated into one hotel this week, there’s much talk about the future of the music industry, especially since sales continue to founder.  Overall Canadian album sales are down 8% year-over-year, led by the accelerating decline in CDs (also down 8%) and not helped by an 8% drop in digital albums and a 12% fall in year-to-date sales of digital tracks.

Still, it could be worse.  Wait until we get to the US numbers.

There are six debuts in the Canadian Top Ten this week, but nothing did well enough to dislodge the Frozen soundtrack from the #1 spot, thanks to 6,600 fresh sales.

Jann Arden’s Everything Almost pulled up in second spot (4,400 units), followed by Jerome Couture’s self-titled record (#3, 4,500), Ray Lamontange and Supernova (#4, 3,500), Shatter Me from Lindsay Stirling (#5, just under 3,500),Brigitte Boisjoli and Sans Regret (#6, 3,000) and the hits collection, Just the Hits (#7, 2.600).

The biggest single?  Ariana Grande’s “Problem” with 24,000 downloads.  FYI, Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” debuted at #3 with 19,000 downloads.

Now to the US. It’s bad.

Year-to-date album sales are down 16% while CD sales hit an important psychological milestone: -20% year-over-year.  Digital album sales aren’t helping (down 13%) nor are digital tracks (down 12% from 2013).

The Frozen soundtrack seems, er, frozen in the #1 spot, selling 106,000 copies this week.  That’s all find and good, but reaching #1 with just over sales of a hundred grand? That should tell you how dire things are.  Oh, and that’s thirteen non-consecutive weeks that Disney has held the top spot on the album charts.  And it’s the tenth week in which it’s sold more than 100,000 copies.

Lindsay Stirling debuts at #2 (56,000) followed by Ray Lamontange (#3, 40,000).  At #5 is something called the Passion collective–no idea, don’t care–with Passion: Takes It All (30,000). Timeflies’ debut full album, After Hours, rolls in at #8 while Whitechapel grabs the #10 spot.

The biggest download of the week also goes to Ariana Grande and “Problems” (453,000 downloads) with Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” ended up at #5 (139,000).  Finally, the most-streamed song in the US–a stat we still don’t get in Canada–is bloody Pharrell Williams and that bloody “Happy” song with 8,660,467 listens.

An interesting point of trivia: Rush’s debut album from 1974 is back on the Top 200 charts.  You’ll find it at #127. Not bad for reissue, huh?

All numbers courtesy Nielsen SoundScan.




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.

Alan Cross has 38413 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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