Spinning Canucks: A look at Canadian vinyl behaviour

It’s not uncommon to see bands selling their music on vinyl after concerts and there is no denying that many Canadians have created a new relationship with vinyl…or at least a relationship that has come full circle.

Vinyl Consumption is Growing

According to Nielsen Canada’s 2017 Year End Music Report, the past year saw an increase in vinyl sales once more.  In its 7th consecutive year of growth, vinyl sales made up 804k of music sales in Canada.  That’s a 21.8% increase over 2016! That’s pretty impressive when you consider physical album sales and digital track sales were down overall.  While it doesn’t touch the growth that streaming is currently making in Canada, it’s certainly nothing to balk at either.

Moreover, we’re listening to vinyl differently in the new age. Rather than going out and buying a single album, catalogues are now where it’s at according to the same study. In fact catalogue sales made up for 59% of vinyl sales in 2017.

The Vinyl Albums that Sold Big in 2017

Onto the good stuff though—what albums were selling big in the past year?  You might be surprised to know that only one Canadian band made the top ten.  According to Nielsen, Arcade Fire set in at number 7 for their album Everything Now.  Topping the chart was Ed Sheeran’s Divide, old favourites Dark Side of the Moon and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band and Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. among others.  While hip hop made up much of music consumption for 2017, that was not reflected as cleanly across the vinyl category where rock albums made up the majority of the consumption and Kendrick Lamar stood alone in the R&B/ Hip Hop category.

What It All Means

While we can’t be sure vinyl will continue to grow through out 2018, Canadian trends over the past year would certainly predict that would be the case. Despite the rise of streaming platforms and the ability to easily curate your own playlist for yourself and others to stream, it’s clear that not all Canadians are ready to trade in the tangible music platforms quite yet.



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