Nielsen Soundscan has just released the Canadian music sales figures for 2009. Notwithstanding the regular claims that the Canadian digital music market cannot develop without copyright reform, the Canadian market grew faster than the U.S. market for the fourth consecutive year. As the chart below demonstrates, digital music sales have grown faster in Canada than in the U.S. in every year since 2006:
While this does not suggest that the market is thriving – a down economy with more competition for the entertainment dollar it is a tough market – it does confirm yet again that attempts to link copyright reform to the development of a Canadian digital market are not borne out by the facts. Indeed, Canada has consistently grown faster than the United States (from an admittedly lower starting point given that digital music stores arrived later in Canada).
Moreover, as I pointed out last summer, the IFPI's global data further supports the conclusion that the Canadian digital music market is not the laggard that some would have the public believe. As of last year, Canada's digital market stood 7th worldwide, while ranking 6th for all recorded music – in other words, about what you would expect. Of the top 20 global markets for recorded music, the IFPI said that Canada ranked 5th for the percentage of digital sales.
Indeed, digital music sales as a percentage of total sales in Canada is ahead of every major European country. The U.S. may lead Canada (though growing at a far slower rate), but the IFPI reported that Canada is ahead of France, Britain, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and Russia. Canada also leads countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa. The global music market may be facing difficult times, but the industry's own data confirms that placing the blame on Canadian copyright laws is quite clearly misplaced.