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Nielsen's Mid-Year Canada 2019 Report Confirms Streaming's Dominance While Physical & Digital Sales Continue Their Decline

Nielsen Music Canada has released its 2019 mid-year report and, to no one’s surprise, it confirms that streaming continues to drive growth in music consumption while music ownership through physical and digital sales continues to decline.

Some of the big takeaways from the report are:

  • Total album-equivalent consumption is up 16%. This number combines album and track-equivalent album (TEA) sales plus on-demand audio and video streaming-equivalent albums (SEA);
  • On-demand audio and video streaming together are up 41.2%
  • On-demand song streaming via audio services is 35.3%
  • On-demand song streaming on video services is a staggering 66%
  • Album sales, combining physical and digital downloads, is down -25.1%
  • Physical sales alone are down -27.2%
  • The vinyl boom is maybe over as vinyl sales dipped -2.3%
  • Digital tracks sales are down -27.6%

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Nielsen, which has an official data partnership with the JUNO Awards, also showed evidence of the "JUNO bump." Following the 2019 televised JUNO Awards, performer Jeremy Dutcher saw a 67.5% boost to his catalogue. As well, pop superstar Shawn Mendes, who did not perform but won five awards, saw his single “In My Blood” get an 11.4% bump in total consumption, and his self-titled album experienced a 5.5% streaming increase.

It’s no surprise that music-focused movies led to a significant increase in the consumption of the artists they’re based on. After the release of the Netflix-original biopic The Dirt, Mötley Crüe experienced a 774% increase in consumption of their catalogue.

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Also, the report shows that bad press isn’t necessarily bad for business. After the release of two popular documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, its co-founder Ja Rule saw a 48% spike in streams of his music. Also, despite, or maybe because of, HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary, Michael Jackson’s music has seen a 56% year-to-date boost in on-demand streams. R. Kelley also saw a 10% boost despite a damning documentary and negative media attention.

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"The first half of 2019 saw a six-month record of over 43 billion on-demand streams, an exciting new milestone led by singles and albums by Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Halsey, Khalid, Shawn Mendes, BTS and Bad Bunny that span a wide array of genres, moods and even languages," the report states. To compare last year's data to this year's, Nielsen used a 24-week period running from Jan. 4 through June 20, 2019.

In terms of Canadians' genre preferences, Nielsen says "2018’s most popular music trend continued to gain ground in 2019’s first half. R&B-infused Trap & Mumble Rap was still the preferred musical style at a high margin over the second favorite, Contemporary Rhythmic Pop, thanks in part to popular songs from Post Malone, Lil Nas X and DaBaby, among many others. Other leading styles this year include Contemporary Pop Power Ballad, Pop Reggaeton and Urban Contemporary."

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A PDF of the full Nielsen Mid-Year Canada 2019 report can be downloaded HERE.

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Michael Raine is the Senior Editor at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Radio weekly podcast.