2020 Canada Year-End Report Highlights
Here's the lowdown on trends and key successes on Canada's music charts in 2020. All stats courtesy of MRC Data.
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THE YEAR IN GLOBAL
On Sept. 14, Billboard and MRC Data unveiled the first two authoritative rankings of the top songs globally: the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excluding U.S. charts. WAP by Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion led the inaugural Billboard Global 200 chart, while the first Billboard Global Excl. U.S. list was ruled by Maluma’s Hawái. In November, Ariana Grande’s Positions became the first song to debut simultaneously atop both charts, with Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez’s Dakiti becoming the first non-English track to top both charts just two weeks later.
In the global recorded-music market, audio on-demand streaming finished the year with a 16.1% increase in Canada, but adoption worldwide tells a slightly different story, with a 22.6% increase in total audio streaming. This year’s growth was led by territories like Japan, Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, Turkey, Spain, Brazil and Germany, which saw the biggest gains in weekly audio streaming growth since the start of the pandemic and accounted for a combined 22.8% of total audio streams in 2020.advertisement
THE YEAR COVID CHANGED EVERYTHING
Before the world shut down, on-demand audio streaming was growing steadily through early March, up 21.3% over the same period in 2019. Total audio consumption was up 10.8% in the first 10 weeks of the year.
As behaviors evolved and the majority of Canadians spent 2020 working from home, audio streaming finished the year with a 16.1% increase in year-over-year activity.
New albums from The Weeknd, JustinBieber, Drake and ShawnMendes were also among the year’s most-consumed across all genres, capping off a busy year for hometown acts.
Toronto native The Weeknd, whose After Hours finished 2020 as the No. 2 most- consumed album, led among all Canadian artists in total streams and sales, followed by London, Ontario-born Justin Bieber at No. 2 with Changes and fellow Torontonian Drake at No. 3 with mixtape Dark Lane Demo Tapes.advertisement
The Weeknd also dominated Top Songs and Radio Songs by Canadian Artists with Blinding Lights, as did Bieber at No. 2 with Intentions (featuring Quavo). Vancouver’s Powfu scored the No. 4 most-consumed song by a Canadian act with Death Bed, while Toronto’s JP Saxe scored the No. 5 most-consumed song and No. 3 at radio with the Julia Michaels duet If the World Was Ending.
RAP: The genre was led by a number of new as well as posthumously released titles from some of the industry’s biggest names. Leading the year-end rap album chart is Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, which was also the most- consumed across all genres in 2020 with 247,000 equivalent album units earned. The year-end top rap song in consumption was DaBaby’s Rockstar, which also finished 2020 as the No. 4 most- consumed song across all genres. 24kGoldn took top honours among rap songs at radio with Mood.
COUNTRY: Luke Combs finished the year with the genre’s two most-consumed albums, including What You See Is What You Get (No. 1, with 138,000 equivalent units), while Morgan Wallen’s album If I Know Me wrapped the year at No. 3 two years after its initial release. Female artists, who had been underrepresented in the top ranks of the Country charts for years, finished 2020 strong with two of the year’s five most-consumed Country songs and three of the top five most popular songs at Country radio — including Medicine Hat, Alberta, native MacKenziePorter (No. 4), the highest-ranking Canadian act on the list.advertisement
R&B: The Weeknd ruled consumption across the board in R&B this year, as his album After Hours and single Blinding Lights were the most popular across all categories for the genre by a considerable margin.advertisement
Dance/Electronic:Lady Gaga’s first fully dance/electronic album since 2013’s Artpop dominated the genre this year, helping set an optimistic tone for an eventual return to enjoying dance music in public. Gaga’s album Chromatica capped off a year that also saw highly anticipated new albums from DJ-producers Kygo and London, Ontario, duo Loud Luxury rank among the genre’s top five most-consumed.
ROCK: 2020 was a transitional period for rock, as a global pause on touring caused many of the genre’s biggest acts to sit out the year for new releases. Concurrently, the growth of catalogue rock continued to accelerate as heritage acts like Elton John, FleetwoodMac and The Tragically Hip helped the genre increase its piece of the streaming pie, finishing 2020 as the No. 3 most-streamed genre (behind Pop and R&B/Hip-Hop).
MUSIC’S BIG WINNERS
Genres that saw streaming increases:
Children’s music and Country were the first two big genre winners during lockdown. Families turned to YouTube videos to keep their away-from-school kids entertained, prompting a 4.6% increase in Children’s music during the first week of lockdown that sustained growth through the week ending May 7.
Country, previously one of the slowest genres to convert fans to streaming services, saw accelerated growth in share of on-demand streams, rising 10.5% above the baseline through the week of May 7, and ended the year with a surge in share of on-demand audio streams, from 5.5% pre- COVID-19 to 6.5% post-lockdown.
The artists who outperformed a crowded marketplace:
The Weeknd – The Canadian pop/R&B star broke several chart milestones with his album After Hours and blockbuster single Blinding Lights. After Hours scored the highest single-week album consumption and album sales in 2020. In November, Blinding Lights broke the record for the most weeks spent in the top 10 of the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. With seven of those weeks spent at the summit, it also matches Starboy in 2016-17 for The Weeknd’s longest stay at No. 1 among his five career leaders. It is the highest-streamed song in 2020 by a Canadian artist (fourth overall).advertisement
Taylor Swift – Released with just 24 hours notice on July 24, Taylor Swift’s folklore scored the second-biggest consumption week of 2020 with 47,000 equivalent album units in the week ending July 30 (led by 31.3 million streams for its songs). Evermore, the surprise follow-up to folklore released with 24 hours notice on Dec. 11, achieved the fifth-highest sales week for any album in 2020, with 30,000 equivalent album units sold the week ending Dec. 17.
Justin Bieber – The Pop singer’s comeback album, Changes, his first in five years, scored the third-highest one-week consumption total of 2020 with 40,000 equivalent units earned the week ending Feb. 20 and 19.1 million streams for its songs. A quartet of follow-up singles released after Changes all debuted at No. 1 on the Canadian Hot 100: Stuck With U, with Ariana Grande; Holy, featuring Chance the Rapper; Lonely, with Benny Blanco; and Monster, with Shawn Mendes.advertisement
Harry Styles – The U.K. singer-songwriter built off the success of his solo debut with even bigger hits in 2020. Styles’ Watermelon Sugar became the pop star’s highest-charting song on the Canadian Hot 100, peaking at No. 3 (Aug. 15) with a 10% increase in downloads (2,000) and a 17% increase in radio reach (11.2 million in audience impressions). The song also spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the All-Format Spins chart.
Social Media’s Impact On Breaking (And Re-Breaking) Hits
Roddy Ricch: The rapper’s viral hit The Box' became the second non-holiday song to top the Canadian Hot 100 in 2020. Buoying the song’s popularity was a viral TikTok meme. The track finished 2020 as the No. 5 most-consumed song, with 105.1 million on-demand streams and 12.3 million in audience impressions at radio.
BENEE: The New Zealand singer-songwriter’s song Supalonely (featuring Gus Dapperton) became one of the first unofficial anthems of the quarantine era after TikTok memes helped the song peak on the Canadian Hot 100 at No. 10.
Jawsh 685 And Jason Derulo: New Zealand producer Jawsh 685’s Savage Love (Laxed — Siren Beat) featuring pop-R&B singer Derulo was the No. 1 most popular song on TikTok thanks to its viral dance challenge. Savage Love became the first Canadian Hot 100 No. 1 for the 18-year-old producer, as well as for pop veteran Derulo, when it rose from No. 2 to No. 1 on the chart dated Aug. 15.
Fleetwood Mac: Forty-three years after Dreams became the group’s sole Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, the song returned to the chart when a popular TikTok video started to reach mainstream audiences. The song eventually rose to a 2020 chart peak of No. 9 on the Canadian Hot 100 and accumulated 28.9 million on-demand streams, 12 million audience impressions at radio and 16000 downloads this year.
– Link to Report HERE. All the above courtesy of MRC Data.