Canada set a vinyl sales record in 2017

According to Nielsen Music Canada's year-end report, both streaming and vinyl soared while record sales in general went down

Toronto is having a record store renaissance. HMV may have shuttered all of its stores, but indie shops like Female Treble, Pop Music and Antikka continue to open. And Sunrise Records swooped in on most of HMV’s storefronts, with a business plan that focuses on vinyl. Clearly, even as streaming becomes the primary format for music, there’s still a big market for vinyl.

It turns out the trend is not just anecdotal, and it stretches across the country. According to Nielsen Music Canada’s year-end report, 2017 set a record for the highest vinyl LP sales in the 20 years the measurement firm has been collecting those stats. Last year saw a 21.8 per cent sales increase to 804,000 units, marking the seventh straight year of growth for the format.  

It was a good year in general for the music business, according to the report. Though there were decreases in total album sales, streaming topped 39 billion and increased a whopping 70.9 per cent compared to the previous year. 

As expected, the genres that benefit most from the switch are R&B and hip-hop, which increased by 86.2 per cent in streaming from 2016. Seven out of the 10 most-streamed artists in Canada work in those genres. Streaming is largely responsible for the breakout success of local stars Daniel Caesar and Nav.

It’s a totally different story for vinyl, where old music (“catalogue sales”) outsold new by 59 per cent – the most ever. The only new albums to appear in the year’s top 10 highest sellers were Ed Sheeran’s Divide (at number one on both the streaming and vinyl lists), Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. and Arcade Fire’s Everything Now. The list otherwise includes titles by the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Amy Winehouse and soundtracks to Guardians Of The Galaxy and La La Land. 

Nielsen vinyl.png | @trapunski

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