Sound recording sales down in 2016

Québec, April 6, 2017. – Sound recording sales measured in equivalent album units totalled 6.6 million units in 2016, down 23% from 2015. This decline affected CDs (–24%), digital albums (–25%) and digital tracks (–19%). This 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.

Québec’s share up in a falling market

In 2016, the market share of Québec products stood at 46% (41% in 2015). This share varied by medium: 57% for CDs and 26% for digital products. The rise in Québec’s share between 2015 and 2016 was partially due to the 15% drop in Québec album sales, while non-Québec album sales dropped by 31%. Digital track sales were down for both Québec (–18%) and non-Québec products (–19%).

Drop in digital music sales

With sales maintained at roughly two million units since 2013, digital album sales were down 25% in 2016 compared to 2015. Digital tracks declined for the third consecutive year, a cumulative drop of 33% since 2013. According to external sources, the popularity of streaming was partially responsible for eroding digital product sales.

Francophone music maintained its market share

Standing at 32% sales in 2016, the market share of francophone albums was similar to that in 2015 (30%), as well as to the average for the last five years (31%). In 2016, it was 39% for CDs and 18% for digital products (albums and tracks). For Québec album sales, the francophone market share remained relatively stable: 68% in 2014, and 66% in both 2015 and 2016.

This information is drawn from Optique culture no. 53, 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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