Sales of CDs and digital tracks continue to drop

Québec, May 3, 2016 – Sound recording sales measured in equivalent album units totalled 8.5 million in 2015, down 3% from 2014. That was revealed in a study released today by the Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.  

Sales of Québec products down

In 2015, the market share of Québec products stood at 41%, down slightly from 2014 (42%). This decline was partly due to a drop in the number of units of Québec products sold: -4% for CDs, -6% for digital albums and -7% for digital tracks. Among Québec CDs, French-language CDs posted the largest decline 
(-8%). The decrease in sales of foreign products was less pronounced (-1%).

Digital music sales

Following strong growth, sales of digital albums leveled off at about two million units, and sales of digital tracks declined (-17% over two years). Under these circumstances, digital product sales as a percentage of total sales plateaued at 36% in Québec, 60% in the rest of Canada and 56% in the United States. Part of the explanation for these results is music streaming, a practice that is growing rapidly in North America.

Francophone music: carving out a place remains a challenge

Standing at 30% of sales in 2015, the market share of francophone albums was similar to the average of the past five years (31%). It was 37% for CDs and 18% for digital products (both albums and tracks). Among Québec albums, the market share held by French-language albums is on a downward trend, as it declined from 76% in 2012 to 66% in 2015.

This information comes from the publication Optique culture No. 47, which is available on the website of the Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec.


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for carrying out all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.


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