English singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran was the top-selling artist in Canada in 2017, according to the Nielsen Music Year-End Report. “Divide” was the top-selling album of the year, and his single “Shape of You” spent 16 weeks at number one on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. It stayed in the top 20 for 50 weeks.
The year in music in Canada was also defined by increased attendance at live music events as well as growing record consumption and a proliferation of emerging artists.
“The past year demonstrated that it’s an exciting time for the music industry in Canada,” Paul Shaver, vice president/head of Nielsen Music Canada, said in a statement. “Streaming continues to evolve and mature in the market, becoming a key source of music discovery for consumers. Streaming, physical sales, downloads, airplay and live attendance are all driving music consumption to new heights. The music landscape is evolving at a rapid pace and we look forward to tracking and identifying industry opportunities for the year ahead.”
Over the past year, interest in albums, songs, and on-demand streaming increased 13.6 percent. This helped balance a drop in track and album sales. On Dec. 3, 2017, audio on-demand streaming surpassed 900 million per week for the first time ever.
Canada’s fastest growing music genre was R&B/Hip-Hop with a whopping 86 percent increase in streaming over 2016. New artists in the genre include Canadians Daniel Caesar and Nav, who performed well on the charts both in the country and out. In total, seven of the year’s 10 most-streamed artists in Canada were from this genre.
In a first, a Latin single, Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” reached number one on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. It was the year’s second most-streamed song.
Six Canadians had number one albums: The Weeknd (Starboy), Drake (More Life), Arcade Fire (Everything Now), Shania Twain (Now), Pierre Lapointe (La Science Du Coeur) and Gord Downie (Introduce Yourself).
After Downie died, interest in his band The Tragically Hip increased over 1000 percent from the previous week. In addition, six of the band’s albums appeared on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart.
Even though Justin Bieber did not release a new album, he collaborated with several other artists. Four of the songs made the top five of 2017.
Meanwhile, sales of vinyl records continued to grow as they have been for the past seven years.