With 2015 a little more than half-done, the music industry statisticians at Nielsen have now shared their mid-year report for sales here in Canada.
Unsurprisingly, the stats are marked with the explosion of streaming. There have been an incredible 10.5 billion songs streamed in the first six months of 2015; this includes Spotify, Tidal, Rdio, YouTube/VEVO, Google Play and Xbox. Given that Apple Music launched on June 30, that number is likely to get a whole lot higher in the second half of the year.
“The biggest story of the year continues to be the growth of streaming,” said Nielsen’s David Bakula in a statement. “With over 10.5 billion on-demand streams in the first six months of the year, streaming is becoming the primary choice of consumption for many music fans.”
Beyond that, vinyl’s rise in popularity is showing no signs of slowing down, as LP sales are up 40 percent (with a total of 207,000 sales) compared to the same period last year. Digital album downloads have gone up by nearly 10 percent (to 5.7 million), although digital song downloads have sunk by 10 percent (to 51.6 million), and CD sales are down 9 percent (to 6.3 million).
All told, there have been 17.4 million total album sales, which is down 1.1 percent compared with the first half of last year.
So which albums have been selling the most units? Taylor Swift’s 1989 leads the way with 172,000 sales (combining both album sales and so-called “track equivalent albums,” meaning 10 individual tracks sold), although Ed Sheeran’s X has sold the most stand-alone albums with 117,000. Other strong performers include the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, Sam Smith, Yoan, Hozier, Maroon 5, Meghan Trainor and Mumford & Sons. The only Canadian to make the list is Drake, who has 89,000 total albums sold (or 101,000 when combined with track equivalent albums); his If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is the top digital album.
As for songs, Mark Ronson’s Bruno Mars-featuring “Uptown Funk” rules every category (radio plays, digital downloads, audio streams, video streams). Other big songs include Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again,” Maroon 5’s “Sugar” and Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney’s “FourFiveSeconds.”
For more on the year so far in music, check out Exclaim!’s list of the top 27 albums of 2015 so far right here.