The Canadian Singles Chart was a chart compiled by the American-based music sales tracking company, Nielsen SoundScan, which began publication in November 1996. It was published every Wednesday and also published on Thursday by Jam!/Canoe. The chart also appeared in Billboard until March 2006, when Billboard stopped publishing the Canadian Singles Chart in favor of the Canadian Digital Songs Sales Chart. Billboard later introduced their own singles chart for Canada, the Canadian Hot 100, on June 7, 2007.
In the 1960s, the Canadian music industry was disparate and regionally focused, and English-speaking Canadian artists were often overlooked in favour of American acts. To encourage a more national focus and ensure that domestic artists were promoted across Canada, the Maple Leaf System (MLS) was set up in 1969. The MLS produced its own national singles chart, which Billboard magazine reproduced as Canada's entry in its weekly Hits of the World section. The MLS struggled to achieve widespread support in Canada, however, particularly as participating radio stations failed to give the nominated Canadian records the requisite national airplay.
In November 1996, Nielsen started compiling sales charts in Canada and introduced the Canadian Singles Chart. When the chart was started in 1996, there were 200 positions (with the top 50 being published by Jam! and the top 10 being published by Billboard). By the late 1990s, physical single sales in Canada had greatly declined. In April 1999, Billboard described Canada's singles market as "dire" and Doug Spence, Director of the Canadian operations of Soundscan, said: "there's no singles market here". Due to the limited amount of commercially available physical singles, singles began remaining on the chart for lengthy periods of time. Elton John's charity single "Candle in the Wind '97"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight" spent 45 weeks at number one despite selling only one million copies in its first two years of release in the country. It stayed in the top twenty for three years.
With of the growing popularity of digital music downloads in the mid-2000s, physical single sales in Canada declined further, and in March 2006, Billboard reported that most of the then-recent number-one singles on the Canadian Singles Chart had sold less than 200 copies. In March 2006, Nielsen Entertainment Canada created the Canadian Digital Songs Chart, which tracked sales of digital music downloads, and Billboard stopped publishing the Canadian Singles Chart in favor of the new chart. However, the chart continued to be published on Jam!.
Billboard introduced their own singles chart for Canada, the Canadian Hot 100, on June 7, 2007. It is based on digital download single sales and streaming data from Nielsen SoundScan and radio audience levels from Nielsen BDS.
Other Canadian singles charts
- CHUM Chart - Charted singles starting in 1957
- RPM Magazine – Charted singles from 1964–2000.
- CRIA Top 50 singles (September 1977 to 1980)
- CBC Singles chart (starting 1980)
- Canadian Hot 100 – Charted singles from 2007–present.
- Music Canada Top 20 Tracks
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- Green, Richard (February 2015). "RPM, 1964–2000: The Conscience of Canada's Music Industry". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- Yorke, Ritchie (15 May 1971). "From the Music Capitals of the World" > "Toronto". Billboard. p. 50. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
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- "BBC News | Entertainment | Elton's candle burns in Canada". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2023-08-24.
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- "Billboard Launches Canadian Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. June 7, 2007. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
- David Farrell (October 29, 1977). "Diversity is the Key to Maple Leaf Market". Billboard.