Weekly Music Sales Report and Analysis: 18 February 2015

How about that? I’m on time this week. Then again, it all depends on when the data comes in.

Now that we have a full week since the Grammys, we can analyze the results of that snooze-fest. Year-to-date album sales are now ahead of 2014 by 1% even as physical CD sales are down 5%. Digital albums are at +7% from and digital tracks are ahead by the same amount.

Drake is the big winner this week. His surprise record, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was on sale for just three days of the sales week yet it managed to sell 37,000 copies, an astonishing figure in this era and an easy #1 debut. In second spot is the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, which moved 18,000, the biggest-selling debut for soundtrack on the Canadian market since The Twilight Saga: New Moon in October 2009. The only other Top 10 debut comes from Quebecois artist, Pierre LaPointe whose Paris Tristess sold just under 6,000 copies, good for a #9 start.

On the digital side of things, the big song is Rihanna, Kanye and Paul McCartney with “Fourfivesecond,” moving a very healthy 34,000 downloads.

When it comes to streaming in Canada, four songs posted more than a million streams this week: “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson (more than 2 million), Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” (1.6 million), “Take Me to Church” from Hozier (1.3 million) and “Blank Space” from Taylor Swift (1.0 million).

On the US side of things, Drake blew everyone away with 495,000 copies of his album in its three days on sale. Using Billboard’s confused multi-metric system of incorporated streams into sales figures, If You’re Reading This sold the equivalent of 535,000 copies. That’s more than twice the number of Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack (210,000). I can’t help but wonder how pissed the Fifty Shades people are to have all their thunder stolen by a Canadian kid no one knew was in the studio.

As for US digital tracks, it’s Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” pushing “Uptown Funk”  out of the top spot–but just barely (303,000 to 301,000).

Finally, we have the US streaming figures.  Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” remains at #1 for the fourth straight week and fifth overall with 18.2 million streams. Two other songs posted totals over en million. The others are Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” (14.2 million) and Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” (11.7 million.)

All figures 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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