Chart Beat

Drake Tops Canada's Year-End Charts

Drake performs in 2016
Harmony Gerber/Getty Images

Drake performs at The Forum on Sept. 27, 2016 in Inglewood, Calif.

Mirroring his 2016 success in the U.S., Drake’s Views has been named the most popular album of the past year in Canada, according to Nielsen Music. The set earned 457,000 equivalent album units during the tracking year (which ran from Jan. 1-Dec. 29, 2016). Next in line was Adele’s 25 with 266,000.

(Equivalent album units are traditional album sales combined with track equivalent album units, where 10 tracks sold from an album equals one unit, and streaming equivalent album units, where 1,500 streams from an album equals one unit.)

Views shifted 196,000 in album sales, 194,000 in streaming equivalent album units and 67,000 in track equivalent album units. Views was by far the album with the most streams for its tracks in 2016, with 291 million on-demand audio streams earned for the set in Canada -- twice as many as the No. 2 most-streamed album, Justin Bieber’s Purpose (137 million streams for its songs).

At No. 2 on the year-end overall top albums list is Adele’s 25, with 266,000 units (196,000 in traditional album sales). Justin Bieber’s Purpose is No. 3 (240,000 units; 92,000 in album sales), followed by Twenty One Pilots’ Blurryface (172,000 units; 73,000 in album sales), The Weeknd’s Starboy (171,000 units; 79,000 in album sales) and Rihanna’s Anti (170,000 units; 59,000 in album sales). Rounding out the top 10: Sia’s This Is Acting at No. 7 (169,000 units; 63,000 in album sales), Celine Dion’s Encore Un Soir at No. 8 (140,000 units; 134,000 in album sales) Beyonce’s Lemonade at No. 9 (138,000 units; 101,000 in album sales) and The Chainsmokers’ Collage at No. 10 (136,000 units; just 6,000 in album sales).


Views and 25 also finish at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on Canada’s year-end top 10 best-selling albums list (Views edges out 25, though rounded figures give each title 196,000 sold). With Drake at No. 1 on the top sellers list, he is the first Canadian to lead the list since 2004. 

The country’s top 10 best-selling albums includes six Canadians: Drake’s Views at No. 1 (196,000); Celine Dion’s Encore Un Soir, No. 3 (134,000); Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker, No. 4 (106,000); Justin Bieber’s Purpose, No. 7 (92,000); The Weeknd’s Starboy, No. 8 (79,000); and The Tragically Hip’s Yer Favourites, No.9 (75,000).  Non-Canucks Adele’s 25 sat at No. 2 (196,000); Metallica’s Hardwired…To Self Destruct at No. 5 (103,000); Beyonce’s Lemonade at No. 6 (101,000) and Twenty One Pilots’ Blurryface at No. 10 (73,000).

“2016 was an exciting year for Canadian artists and the overall Canadian music industry,” said Paul Shaver, head of Nielsen Music Canada, in a statement issued with the Canada year-end report. “From the increased popularity of streaming to the total consumption growth, the music landscape continues to evolve at an incredible speed, and we’re looking forward to tracking the industry trends for the year ahead.”

In line with the U.S. which showed a two percent increase in total audio consumption, in Canada the figures confirm an even greater upswing of 5.3 percent, driven by a 203 percent increase in on-demand audio streams when compared to 2015.  Total audio consumption -- 43.8 million -- encompasses traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA), and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). 

Following behind Drake’s Views and Adele’s 25 in the Overall Top 10 chart are Justin Bieber’s Purpose with 240,000; Twenty One Pilots’ Blurryface with 172,000; The Weeknd’s Starboy with 171,000; Rihanna’s Anti with 170,000; Sia’s This Is Acting with 169,000; Celine Dion’s Encore Un Soir with 140,000; Beyonce’s Lemonade with 138,000; and The Chainsmokers’s Collage with 136,000. 

Overall album sales were down 21 percent to 21.1 million in 2016. Notably, catalog album sales were 51 percent of total album sales, surpassing current album sales for the first time.  Figures for overall current were 10,349,300 versus 10,788,700 for overall catalogue. Both were a drop from 2015, which was 14,555,500 and 12,344,400 respectively.
The Tragically Hip -- whose singer disclosed his diagnosis with brain cancer earlier in the year -- sold more than 250,000 units of their album catalogue and totaled more than 67 million streams. The band’s latest album, Man Machine Poem, and 2005 best of, Yer Favourites, both reached No. 1 on the weekly Billboard Canadian charts.

As for digital song sales, the format’s sales fell 23 percent to 73.7 million downloads. The top selling digital song of the year was Sia’s “Cheap Thrills,” with 367,000 downloads sold.