Chart Beat

Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X & Bryan Adams Top Nielsen Music Canada's Mid-Year Charts

Billie Eilish
Heather Hazzan

Billie Eilish photographed on April 18, 2019 at SunLight Studios in Los Angeles. 

TORONTO -- Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" and albums by Billie Eilish and Bryan Adams topped Nielsen Music Canada’s 2019 mid-year charts.    

In Canada, the top 10 artists are Eilish, Ariana Grande, Drake, Post Malone, Queen, Khalid, Eminem, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Ed Sheeran and juice WRLD. The top Canadian artists "by consumption" are a mix of genres -- pop, hip hop, adult and rock -- Drake, Shawn Mendes, Bryan Adams, The Weeknd, NAV, The Tragically Hip, Tory Lanez, Michael Buble, Avril Lavigne, and Nickelback.   

On 2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 Albums (based on Overall Equivalent Album Units) tally, Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? lands at No. 1 with 174,000 in sales, followed by Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next with 159,000, Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born Soundtrack at 123,000; Khalid’s Free Spirit with 113,000; and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s Hoodie Szn at 98,000.  

The data in the mid-year report covers a 24-week period -- Jan. 4 to June 20 -- and provides key insights into industry trends in sales and streaming, social media, and consumer engagement by Canadian music consumers, including the charts presented by Billboard. Last year’s report covered Dec. 29, 2017 to June 14, 2018.

"Also, due to the fact that at mid-year 2018 Nielsen adapted different weighting for album consumption units for paid audio streams (1250 streams per unit), ad-supported streams and video streams (3,750 streams per unit), last year’s album consumption unit numbers were updated to reflect the current ratios for this report, in order to present an apples to apples comparison," it states in the introduction to the comprehensive 30-page report.

Nielsen defines the term "total album equivalent consumption" as the number of physical and digital albums that were sold and the total number of album equivalent songs from downloads and song streaming volume. For the sake of clarity, the definition of album equivalent consumption does not include listening to music on broadcast radio or digital radio broadcasts. Unless otherwise noted, all numbers are volume.

In the pole position on The Top 10 Selling Albums is Bryan Adams’s Shine A Light (57,000), followed by Backstreet Boys’ Dna (56,000), Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born Soundtrack (50,000), Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (47,000) and Jonas Brothers’ Happiness Begins (32,000). In the tenth spot is Khalid Free’s Spirit (21,000).

Nielsen Music Canada also determined 42.9 billion on-demand streams (audio and video), by such acts as Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Halsey, Khalid, Shawn Mendes, BTS and Bad Bunny "that span a wide array of genres, moods and even languages," it states in the intro. Lil Nas X’ "Old Town Road" leads the pack with 121,114,000; Ariana Grande’s "7 Rings" follows at No. 2 but with 84,008,000 -- a difference of over 37 million. Post Malone holds both the No. 3 and 4 spots with "Sunflower," the track with Swae Lee, at 81,044,000 and "Wow" at 68,372,000. Number 10 belongs to Meek Mill feat. Drake with "Going Bad" at 47,644,000.

While low in sales, the LP Vinyl Albums chart is an interesting assortment with the various artists compilation Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 at No. 1 (5,000) and Greta Van Fleet’s Anthem Of The Peaceful Army (1,000). In between is old and new: No. 2 Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (4,000) and No. 5 her EP don't smile at me (2000); three Queen releases -- (No. 3) Greatest Hits (3,000); (No. 7) Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack) (2,000) and No. 8 Night At The Opera (2,000), and at No. 9 Bob Marley’s Legend (2000). The Canadian punk band Single Mothers takes No. 4 with Our Pleasure (3000) and No. 6 with Through A Wall (2000).

Genre-wise in Canada, the report says the "most popular music trend continued to gain ground in 2019’s first half. R&B-infused Trap & Mumble Rap was still the preferred musical style at a high margin over the second favorite, Contemporary Rhythmic Pop, thanks in part to popular songs from Post Malone, Lil Nas X and DaBaby, among many others. Other leading styles this year include Contemporary Pop Power Ballad, Pop Reggaeton and Urban Contemporary."

Despite this trend, it points out that Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish were "two of 2019’s top 10 most-consumed artists," "with their own diverse styles of rhythmic and moody pop music."

After achieving record consumption in 2018, K-Pop reached a critical mass in Canada, thanks to releases from BTS and Blackpink -- 18,000 equivalent album units sold for BTS’ Map of the Soul: Persona, during the week ending April 12, "a career best for the K-pop group," according to the report. Blackpink’s "Kill This Love" achieved 3 million first week on-demand streams, which Niesen states "broke the band’s own record for highest-charting single by a K-Pop girl group on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, during the week ending April 20."

The findings also relay that Canadian artists achieved more No. 1s on the Country Airplay chart than any other year in the Nielsen BDS era. 

Top 5 albums by Canadians -- based on album + TEA + on-demand audio SEA -- are Drake’s Scorpion (77,000), Bryan Adams’ Shine A Light (58,000), Nav’s Bad Habits (44,000), Shawn Mendes’ self-titled (38,000), and Tory Lanez’ Love Me Now (34,000); the top 5 songs -- with SES on-demand -- are Loud Luxury feat. Brando’s "Body" (139,000) , Drake’s "Nonstop" (133,000), Shawn Mendes’ "If I Can’t Have You" (131,000), Drake’s "In My Feelings" (124,000) and Shawn Mendes & Zedd’s "Lost In Japan" (100,000).

Among the highlights, determined by Nielsen, are total album equivalent consumption (album + total album equivalent + on-demand audio video streaming equivalent albums) of 33.3 million, up 18.8 percent from 2018’s 28.1 million.  On-demand song streaming – audio was 33.2 billion, up 35.3 percent from 2018’s 24.5 billion; and total album equivalent consumption - audio (album + TEA + on-demand audio SEA) was 30.7 million, a change of 16 percent from 2018’s 26.5 million.

On the down side, total album sales (physical + digital) are 4.7 million, down from 2018’s 6.2 million; digital album sales to 1.9 million from 2.3 million, and physical albums alone, down 27.2 percent to 2.8 million from 3.8 million. Digital tracks sales are also down 27.6 percent from 23 million to 16.7 million.

To clarify, track equivalent albums (TEA) is the ratio of 10 tracks to 1 album and streaming equivalent albums (SEA) a ratio of 1,250 streams to 1 album and 3,750 ad-supported streams to 1 album.

For the full report, go here.

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 Albums (Based on Overall Equivalent Album Units**)
1 Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go 174,000 
2 Ariana Grande Thank U, Next 159,000
3 Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper A Star Is Born Soundtrack 123,000
4 Khalid Free Spirit 113,000 
5 A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie Hoodie Szn 98,000 
6 Post Malone Beerbongs & Bentleys 79,000 
7 Queen Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack) 78,000 
8 Drake Scorpion 77,000
9 Various Artists Spider-Man: Into The SpiderVerse 71,000 
10 Travis Scott Astroworld 68,000

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Albums
1 Bryan Adams Shine A Light 57,000 
2 Backstreet Boys Dna 56,000 
3 Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper A Star Is Born Soundtrack 50,000 
4 Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? 47,000 
5 Jonas Brothers Happiness Begins 32,000 
6 BTS Map Of The Soul: Persona 26,000 
7 Queen Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack) 26,000 
8 Passe-Partout Coucou Passe-Partout 23,000 
9 Ariana Grande Thank U, Next 21,000 
10 Khalid Free Spirit 21,000 

1 Various Artists Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 5,000 
2 Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go 4,000 
3 Queen Greatest Hits 3,000 
4 Single Mothers Our Pleasure 3,000 
5 Billie Eilish dont smile at me 2,000 
6 Single Mothers Through A Wall 2,000 
7 Queen Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack) 2,000 
8 Queen Night At The Opera 2,000 
9 Bob Marley Legend 2,000 
10 Greta Van Fleet Anthem Of The Peaceful Army 1,000

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 On-Demand Song Streams (Audio and Video Combined)
1 Lil Nas X Old Town Road 121,114,000 
2 Ariana Grande 7 Rings 84,008,000 
3 Post Malone & Swae Lee Sunflower 81,044,000 
4 Post Malone Wow. 68,372,000 
5 Halsey Without Me 60,829,000 
6 Marshmello & Bastille Happier 60,305,000 
7 Travis Scott Sicko Mode 59,992,000 
8 Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper Shallow 56,911,000 
9 Billie Eilish Bad Guy 51,787,000 
10 Meek Mill feat. Drake Going Bad 47,644,000

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Songs
1 Lil Nas X Old Town Road 113,000 
2 Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper Shallow 108,000 
3 Post Malone & Swae Lee Sunflower 55,000 
4 Ariana Grande 7 Rings 49,000 
5 Halsey Without Me 47,000 
6 Panic! At The Disco High Hopes 45,000 
7 Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber I Don't Care 44,000 
8 Post Malone Wow. 44,000 
9 Ava Max Sweet But Psycho 42,000 
10 Jonas Brothers Sucker 41,000