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Five Straight Years: Canadian Digital Music Sales Growth Against Beats the U.S.

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Thursday March 24, 2011
Nielsen Soundscan releases annual music sales figures for the United States in the first week of the new year and for Canada one month later. This year Nielsen released the U.S. figures, but nearly three months later, there has still not been a public release of the Canadian figures. However, a Globe and Mail story over the weekend included the data, which confirms that the Canadian digital market grew faster than the U.S. market in 2010.  Last year, digital music sales grew by 19.8% in Canada, while the U.S. market was basically flat, with just 1% growth.  As the chart below demonstrates, this marks five straight years in which the Canadian digital market has grown faster than the U.S.:

Year
Canada
United States
2010
20%
1%
2009
38%
8%
2008
58%
27%
2007
73%
45%
2006
122%
65%

The recording industry will no doubt point to decelerating growth and the fact that the Canadian digital market comprises a smaller share of the market than in the U.S.  Yet the reality is that Canadian market's global ranking is the same for both digital and non-digital sales - according to the Recording Industry in Numbers 2010, Canada ranks 7th worldwide on both counts. Moreover, the Canadian market includes additional sources of revenue for artists and record labels that do not exist in the U.S. such as the private copying levy.

None of this should be taken to mean that the industry doesn't face challenges. Like any media and entertainment industry, it obviously does, particularly as Canadians find alternate streaming sources for their music and different places to spend their entertainment dollars. However, the claims that Canada is a piracy haven where Canadians don't purchase digital music is undermined by the industry's own data, which again shows the Canadian digital music market growing faster than the U.S.
Comments (14)add comment

Napalm said:

...
UBB will take care of it. No more piracy but no sales either. :-)

Nap.
March 24, 2011

CndCitizen said:

I would like to see...
A comparison of Digital sales growth, vs CD sales decline for both countries...is that data anywhere? If would be a nice side by side comparison to show that most people moved from CD sales to Digital downloads from puretracks, or iTunes, etc.
March 24, 2011

Hephaestus said:

Forecast
If the trend continues in 2 years canadas online music sales will peak, and the year after will begin declining. UBB will accelerate that trend.
March 24, 2011

Crockett said:

Crockett
But what about ... Blame Canada ?!!
March 24, 2011

Laurel L. Russwurm said:

It is exactly why they need to Blame Canada
@ Michael Geist

I'm a little confused as to what is being looked at here.

Are these figures for the mainstream "Canadian Music Industry" or are the indie music industry being included (which made up 30% of Canadian recording industry last I heard)?

@Crockett

Either way, this is *why* Canada makes the USTR 301 'pirate haven' lists... it isn't piracy that;'s a threat, it's competition.
March 24, 2011

end user said:

...
From 2009 http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz...12d604f237

Digital album sales jumped 42.3% to 4.78 million units - a new record - up from 3.36 million units in 2008. Digital track sales were up 38.3% to 56.3 million units ? another new peak. Digital track sales were at 40.7 million units in 2008.

Soooo those starving artists are not starving after all unless you figure that they get very little money since they sold their copyrights and the record companies/distributors get most of the money. But why are those music artists still starving?
March 24, 2011

Napalm said:

...
@end user: "But why are those music artists still starving?"

That's just for tax purposes.

http://www.canada.com/montreal...bd1caee304

Nap.
March 24, 2011

Napalm said:

...
And, by the way, did anyone following the previously posted link see any parallels between Noah & Daniel Webster and Luc & Louis Plamondon?

History goes in circles.

Nap. :-)
March 24, 2011

cheap human hair lace front wigs said:

Why
SHOCKING.There are cheap lace wigs online.You can have a look.I have purchased one.
March 24, 2011

Napalm said:

March 24, 2011

Christian said:

IPR Communications
@ Michael - good post. I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog. This is exactly the kind of stuff I want IPR (Institute of Production and Recording) students keeping up with. Thanks for the news. I'm interested in learning more about Canada's "private copy levy" as an additional source of revenue - call me stupid, but I don't know anything about this.
March 25, 2011

Napalm said:

HMV
Will probably shut down:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/hmv-e...9-183.html

Nap.
March 26, 2011

Andrew said:

The economy
Clearly an effect of the recession. Notice the low growth rates for 2009 and 2010 in the US. If you are unemployed you won't spend money on digital music.
March 27, 2011

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