Weekly Music Sales Report and Analysis: 09 September 2015

It’s back! After a few weeks of end-of-summer vacation where the data was slow in coming (if at all), we’re back to examining how music fared on the charts over the previous week. Let’s start with music sales in Canada.

Overall album sales are flat from 2014, which is certainly better than being down–plus we still have the entire fourth quarter ahead of us.  Physical CD sales are down 8% year-to-date over 2014 with digital album showing the exact same tick to the upside. Digital track sales continue to fall and are now down 3% from this point last year.

The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind The Madness debuts at number one on the albums chart with 35,000 units sold, a rather healthy number. In fact, that’s the third biggest one week sales total so far in 2015.  Only albums by Mumford & Sons and Drake sold more in their first weeks. And if you’re counting, he’s the fifth Canadian artist to reach # 1 in 2015. The other four are Shawn Mendes, Yoan, Drake and Jean Leloup. That brings us equal to the number we had last year.

Another Canadian artist, Coeur De Pirate, debuts at #2 with 12,000 copies of Roses. Then at #3, it’s self-made Internet phenom Halsey with Badlands, which sold 10,500 units. The fourth and final Top 10 debut goes to Motorhead’s Black Magic.  That’s the first time in the history of the Canadian SoundScan era that Lemmy’s had at Top 10 album in Canada. Okay, so they only sold 2,000 records, but they’ll take any Top 10 finish they can get. (By the way, all you have to do to make the Top 200 in this nation of 35 million is sell 154 records.)

No surprises on the digital songs chart this week with Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean” debuting at #1 with 48,000 downloads. That’s the biggest one-week total for all of 2015 and the most sold in a week since Eminem released “The Monster” in 2013 when it was purchased 54,000 times.

Looking at streaming in Canada, the Biebster was at #1 with 3.1 million listens, an all-time record for streams since these services were launched in Canada. No one has even come close to that number. That’ll tell you something about streaming services and who’s using them, right?

Canada ruled the US album charts, too, with The Weeknd selling a pure 326,000 copies of Beauty Behind the Madness. Halsey came in at #2 with 97,000 units with Beach House’s Depression Cherry showing up at #5 (26,000), Ben Rector at #6 with 25,000 copies of Brand New and Maddie & Tae’s Start Here at #7 (24,000).

The top digital track in ‘Murcia was Bieber (no surprise) with 337,000 downloads. He didn’t make it to #1 on the streaming chart, though. “What Do You Mean?” had 23 million listens but Silento’s “Watch Me” had 25.7 million. Looking down the chart, the first nine songs all had more than 10 million streams. The first 34 were streamed at least 5 million times.

All numbers courtesy Nielsen SoundScan.


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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