With Canadian artists dominating the U.S. charts, the JUNO Awards, Canada’s most important night in music, will have more than enough talent to keep the competition lively.
Nielsen music data shows that five homegrown artists—Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Drake, Yoan, and Jean Leloup—all had albums among the 10 best-sellers in Canada in 2015; this is the highest share of local talent since 2006. These musicians, as well as teen favorite and Canadian Shawn Mendes, also did well on charts around the world, and a strong case can be made for each coming away a big winner from the show on April 3.
So who has the inside track to take home the evening’s top trophies? Based on nominations, The Weeknd has certainly earned it. The R&B phenomenon has the most nods in the major categories (six), including Fan Choice, Single of the Year and Album of the Year.
Data from the Nielsen 2015 Canada Music Year-End Report shows The Weeknd had four of the top 10 most streamed songs performed by a Canadian artist; he also had the top two digital songs in 2015 by Canadian artist (“Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills”).
This success maps to larger Canadian music consumption trends, Nielsen data shows. R&B and rap had a big 2015, posting the largest sales increases of any genres compared with 2014 (rap was up 23%; R&B was up 9%). Moreover, in the second half of 2015 on-demand digital streaming in Canada jumped by 114% compared with the second half of 2014. According to previous Nielsen research, young Canadians are driving the digital shift, with these young consumers spending twice as much time streaming music as the general Canadian population.
While The Weeknd clearly tapped into the spirit of the times and had a breakout year in 2015, he still faces stiff competition at the JUNO Awards from fellow nominees who also had an impressive year.
Justin Bieber had the top selling album in 2015 of any Canadian artist and came in second overall to Adele. In fact, Justin Bieber has sold 1.57 million albums release-to-date in Canada. The Biebs also had the most streamed song of 2015—“What Do You Mean?” and it’s nominated for Single of the Year—and he is the most streamed JUNO-nominated artist, with 242 million streams release-to-date.
Finally, don’t forget about Drake. Data from Nielsen’s Homescan Panel shows that the pride of Toronto has more fans in Canadian households than any other Album of the Year nominee.
So, which artist will come out on top? That remains to be seen. One thing is clear, though: Canadian music artists—and their fans—have already won big over the past year.