Canada’s Digital Music Sales Rise in 2013 Unlike the U.S.; Eminem, Robin Thicke Among Top Selling Artists

Digital music sales for 2013 were up in Canada from the previous year, according to a year-end report released today by Nielsen SoundScan. Digital album sales rose 9% from 2012, moving 11.4 million units from 10.5 million, while digital track sales were up 2% with 116.1 million units from 114.3 million. The trend stands in stark contrast to the U.S. where for the first time digital sales declined as tracks fell some 5.7% in 2013.

The data is compiled for the 52-week period from Dec. 31, 2012 to Dec. 29, 2013.

Total album sales (CDs, CS, LP, digital), however, were down 6% with 29.3 million units over 31.3 million. Overall album sales (defined as all albums and track equivalent albums) were also down with a final tally of 40.9 million vs. 42.7 million, a difference of 4%. Not surprisingly, physical album sales also dropped a further 15%, selling 17.6 million units over 20.6 million in 2012.

Universal Music Group, in terms of label market share for catalogue and current titles, was the leader with 46.20% of the music market, which was up from 2012’s 37% following the label's acquisition and integration of EMI. Sony Music Entertainment followed with 22.31%, up from 20.08% and Warner Music Group with 13.48%, up from 13.35%, while “others,” meaning independent labels, made up the balance of 18.01% down from 19.96%.  The market share order is the same for current albums, catalogue albums, digital albums and digital tracks with UMG leading all categories.

Eminem had the year’s top selling album and was the year's best selling artist. His “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” led the Top Ten Selling Albums tally with 242,000 units sold; Celine Dion’s “Loved Me Back To Life” followed with 231,000; and Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” came in third with 179,000. The top three of the Top Selling Artists were Emnem with 365,000 units sold, Celine Dion with 304,000 and Michael Buble with 256,000.

Meanwhile Robin Thicke, much as in the U.S. year-end tally, had the top selling song of the year. His "Blurred Lines” was the top Digital Track selling 692,000 units followed by Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” at No. 2 with 519,000 and Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” which sold 499,000 units.

The top three artists on the Top Ten Selling Digital Songs chart — which combines all versions of the same song — were Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” with his record-breaking 706,000 units (the previous record for most downloads in a calendar year was Gotye in 2012 with 639,000 for “Somebody That I Used To Know”), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” with 554,000 and Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” at 523,000.

The Imagine Dragons had the Top Ten Selling Digital Album of 2013 selling 100,000 units of “Night Visions" followed by Eminem with 87,000 units sold of “The Marshall Mathers LP2” and The Lumineers with 80,000 units of their self-titled album.

The leading three artists on the Top Ten Physical CDs chart were Celine Dion for “Loved Me Back To Love,” which sold 208,000 units; Eminem who sold 150,000 units of The “MMLP2;” and Michael Buble who moved 116,000 units of “To Be Loved.”

Celine Dion’s “Loved Me Back To Life” was the year's No. 1 Top Ten Album by a Canadian Artists for 2013 with 231,000 units sold. She was followed by: Michael Buble’s “To Be Loved” with 139,000, Drake’s “Nothing Was The Same” at 108,000, Johnny Reid’s “A Christmas Gift To You” with 106,000, Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” at 101,000, Serena Ryder’s “Harmony” with 74,000, City And Colour’s “The Hurry And The Harm” with 66,000, Hedley’s “Wild Life” with 64,000, and Michael Buble’s “Christmas” and Justin Bieber’s “Believe Acoustic,” tied with 61,000.

Robin Thicke — who holds dual citizenship because his father Alan is Canadian — led 2013’s Top Ten Digital Songs by Canadian Artists for “Blurred Lines,” which sold the aforementioned 706,000 units. Not a close second was Classified feat. David Miles with 357,000 units of “Inner Ninja.”  Serena Ryder followed with 229,000 for “Stompa,” Drake moved 207,000 units of “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” Hedley sold 195,000 units of “Anything” and Armin Van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie sold 189,000 units of “This Is What It Feels Like.”

Other data collected: holiday season album sales (physical and digital) were down 9.5% with 7.2 million units sold vs. 8 million, calculated between Nov. 4 and Dec. 29.

The genre leader for 2013 album sales was alternative with 4,977,000, a dip of 8% from 2012’s 5,392,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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