Canadian Audio Consumption in 2017 – Is Streaming Still King?

This past week, Nielsen Canada released their comprehensive study of Canadian music consumption habits over the first half of the year.  The study, which documents a time period of January 1st to June 29th, looks at how Canadians are getting their music, finding new music and what music they’re listening to.

While audio consumption was up overall, album sales were down and decreases were seen on CDs, vinyl and digital downloads. So what’s responsible for the upward shift? It’s no surprise that audio streaming reigns supreme with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

It’s all about the streaming

This year, Neil Young made plans to move his beloved passion project, the Pono towards a database of high quality streaming and Taylor Swift released two more albums on all major streaming platforms.  It’s no surprise then, that the trend for the first six months of 2017 have shown that Canadians are streaming more and more, with a year over year increase of 87% since 2014.

According to Nielsen Canada, other major events in the Canadian sphere of online streaming include Drake breaking a record for most on demand streams in 1 week at 42.8 million, the song “Despacito” (Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber)  hitting 8.3 million streams in a week and Ed Sheeran getting over 127 million overall streams.  All that on top of the fact that in April, streaming in Canada passed the 700 million mark for the first time in history.

Old School isn’t Dead

Despite streaming being the clear means of audio consumption for Canadians, Nielsen’s study proves once more that old school is not dead.  Most people are still discovering new music on the radio (whether that be online or through traditional means).  Beyond that, album sales have decreased overall but vinyl showed the smallest margin of decline at a mere 1.7%. CDs showed a decrease of 12.3% and digital albums saw a decrease of 24.6% since 2016.

The Interesting Odds and Ends

Audio consumption is up (14.6% this year). Yet, when combined with video, that consumption has decreased overall by 0.3%. Streaming increased most significantly in children (shout out to Disney’s Moana for this one), world and rap genres with rock not even rounding out the top eight chart that Nielsen supplies.  Only time will tell how these stats will shift and change in the coming years but if one things clear, it’s full stream ahead.

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