In November 1996, Nielsen started compiling sales charts, before that, sales figures were provided by The Record from a sampling of retailers. Originally, when the chart was started in 1996, there were 200 positions (with the top 50 being published by Jam!). However, because of the reduced singles market in Canada, only the top 10 positions now appear on the SoundScan chart (SoundScan has a policy that at least 10 copies have to be sold in order to make its singles chart).
Since the early 1990s, single sales in Canada have decreased dramatically, and most songs were not available as commercial singles. As a result, the chart rarely reflected the listening habits of Canadians. In perhaps the most notorious example, Elton John's charity single "Candle in the Wind '97"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight" stayed in the top twenty for three years. By 2004, sales in Canada declined even further, because of the growing popularity of digital downloading of music. As a result, Canadian sales are not as substantial as they had been before in the 1990s and early 2000s, and singles remained on the chart for even lengthier periods of time. In 2006, most Canadian number-one singles sold less than 200 copies.
Billboard introduced their own singles chart for Canada, called the Canadian Hot 100, on June 7, 2007. It is based on digital download single sales data from Nielsen SoundScan and radio audience levels from Nielsen BDS.
Other Canadian singles charts
- 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.
- "Hits of the World: Canada (IFPI/Nielsen Marketing Research) 06/24/00". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 112 (26): 98. 24 June 2000. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Canadian Business Has Troubled '96 12/28/96". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 108 (52): 52. 28 December 1996. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Chart Beat 09/2/00". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 112 (33): 102. 2 September 2000. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Canadian Digital Chart Bows; Jaheim's Third Charms 03/04/06". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 118 (9): 47. 4 March 2006. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "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.