Nielsen Canada Mid-Year Report: Total Music Consumption Up 20%

Nielsen mid year chartNielsen Music today released its Canadian Mid-Year Report for the six-month period ending June 28, 2018.  Included in the report are the Nielsen Music Mid-Year charts, presented by Billboard, as well as key insights into important industry trends in sales, music streaming, radio, and consumer engagement across today’s most popular platforms.

The Nielsen Music Canada Mid-Year Report confirms that streaming volume is still on the rise, with weekly on-demand audio streams surpassing the one billion mark for the first time ever, during the week ending March 1, 2018. On-demand audio song streams peaked at 1.2 billion during the week ending June 28th and have reached 26.8 billion so far in 2018, up from 17.5 billion a year ago. This 53% year-over-year increase in on-demand audio streaming volume has helped alleviate a 17% decrease in album sales and 22% decrease in digital track sales.

Total album audio consumption continues to rise in 2018, surpassing 2017’s record figures at the same time last year. Overall album audio consumption (albums + track equivalent albums (TEA) + on-demand audio streaming equivalent albums (SEA)) increased 18% to 27 million units, up from 23 million during the same period in 2017.

“Music in Canada continues to flourish, with fans listening to their favourite artists at unprecedented levels,” said Paul Shaver, Vice President Nielsen Entertainment Canada – Music & Sports. “Access to music has never been easier, with a diverse array of channels and technologies for engagement, and we’re seeing these factors drive record consumption year over year.”

Drake made a triumphant return to the chart with singles “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What,” which have spent a combined 14 of the first 26 weeks of the year at No. 1 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, with 98 million and 49 million on-demand streams, respectively. The singles previewed Drake’s blockbuster album Scorpion, which kicked off its first weekend of release on June 29 with a combined 33 million streams for its tracks.

Canadian superstars The Weeknd’s *My Dear Melancholy *and Shawn Mendes’ self-titled album each debuted at the top of the Billboard Canadian Albums chart in the first half of 2018, with 19,000 album equivalent units and 32,000 album equivalent units, respectively. It is each artist’s third consecutive No. 1 album. Tory Lanez scored his first No. 1 album with Memories Don’t Die. Three other Canadian artists, Jim Cuddy, Éric Lapointe and Coeur De Pirate, each picked up the top selling album sales total during each album’s first week of release.

Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys set a one-week record for on-demand audio streams from an album, with 43.4 million streams, surpassing the previous record of 42.8 million held by Drake for his album, More Life. Drake’s “God’s Plan” is the top-streamed song so far this year (on-demand audio) with 73 million streams. Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys leads in total audio album equivalent consumption so far this year (albums + TEA + on-demand audio SEA) with 206,000. beerbongs & bentleys is followed by Ed Sheeran’s *Divide *and the soundtrack Black Panther: The Album.

Canadian artists also topped the radio airplay format charts in the first half of the year. At CHR, The Weeknd’s team up with Kendrick Lamar, “Pray For Me” spent two weeks at No. 1, marking the singer’s third chart-topping hit at the format. With “Body,” dance duo Loud Luxury became the first Canadian act to top the CHR format chart with their first charted song since Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” in 2002. The Sheepdogs picked up their third No. 1 song on the Mainstream Rock chart with “I’ve Got A Hole Where My Heart Should Be.” At Modern Rock, Arcade Fire’s “Creature Comfort” gave the band their third chart-topper at the format, while breakouts Black Pistol Fire scored a No. 1 hit with their first charted song, “Lost Cause.”

The 2018 Juno Awards, which aired March 25 on CBC Television, marked Canada’s biggest celebration of its homegrown artists. The ceremony prompted double-digit gains for many of the night’s biggest winners, including: Daniel Caesar (R&B/Soul Recording Of The Year), whose album sales received a 160% increase; Shawn Mendes (Fan Choice, Single Of The Year), who saw a 134% increase in on-demand streams; Jessie Reyez (Breakthrough Artist Of The Year), who posted a 129% lift in on-demand streams and the late Gord Downie (Artist Of The Year, Adult Alternative Album Of The Year, Songwriter Of The Year) whose catalogue saw an 111% boost in on-demand streams.

Now in its 11th year, Record Store Day exclusive releases helped vinyl sales for the week of the celebration (April 20-26) total over 27,000 units. The total accounted for a 96% increase in vinyl sales over Record Store Day in 2017. Neil Young’s Roxy: Tonight’s the Night Live, Prince’s 1999, The Doors’ Live At The Matrix Part 2, David Bowie’s Bowie Now and Arcade Fire’s EP were among the top album sellers, while titles from Led Zeppelin, The Sheepdogs and Bowie were popular among single releases. Record Store Day continues the growth of vinyl sales, which are up 67% compared to the first six months of 2017.

See the Nielsen Music Canada Mid-Year Report HERE

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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