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Ludwig Van
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REPORT | New Report Documents Canadians’ Changing Music Listening Habits

By Anya Wassenberg on July 21, 2022

Girl listening to music on her phone
CC0C Public Domain image

Research Co. and Glacier Media have just released a report that looks at the way Canadians consume music. The yearly report shows a clear trend away from radio and physical media, led not surprisingly by younger Canadians.

Changes…

Listening to radio

  • Listening to radio regularly at home or in the car in the past week: 60% in July 2022; 66% in January 2021; 69% in February 2019;
  • That overall trend is bucked by Atlantic Canada, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where radio listening inched up slightly;
  • It fell most dramatically in Ontario, Alberta and BC.

How did Canadians find their favourite songs?

  • In 2019, Canadians aged 18 to 34 preferred radio to streaming by 62%;
  • In 2021, they preferred streaming to radio by 62%;
  • In 2022, 59% preferred streaming, where 45% said they’d use radio;
  • The number of Canadians aged 35 to 54 listening to the radio fell from 68% to 62%, while streaming went up from 45% to 48%;
  • Of Canadians aged 55 and over, 67% preferred radio, a drop of three points over 2021, with only 27% finding songs via streaming, down one point.

While the increase in listening preference for the middle group from 35 to 54 is still small, it marks a continuing shift away from radio and towards streaming. In 2019, only 35% of Canadians in that age bracket were listening to music on a streaming service at all. In 2022, that figure jumps to just under 50%.

The medium is the message…

  • 7% of Canadians said they bought a CD or LP in the last month, down from 10% in 2021
  • Overall, 24% said they paid for a music streaming service in the last month, up from 20% in 2021 and 19% in 2019.

The age gap

Current subscribers to streaming services were divided along demographic lines.

  • Ages 18 to 34: 47%, with a gain of seven points over 2021;
  • Ages 35 to 54: 26%, up one point;
  • Ages 55 and over: 10%, down one point.

Interesting differences emerge as well when it comes to perception. Do Canadians think that musicians are making an appropriate amount of compensation for what they do?

  • Canadians aged 18 to 34: 55% say yes;
  • Ages 35 to 54: 45%;
  • Ages 55 and over: 30%.

It’s perhaps not a coincidence that the generation who most actively subscribes to streaming services believes that the level of compensation is fair.

According to the 2022 Midyear Report by Luminate, streaming continues to take over the music world, and single tracks dominate over album sales. The figures below represent the change over 2021.

  • On-demand audio streams +24.7%
  • Total digital music consumption +12%
  • Total album sales (physical and digital) -10.4%

Brands

According to a study by Edison Research, there is still one clear king of the streamers in Canada.

  • Spotify still the favourite at 42%, with YouTube at 25%, and Amazon at 8%.
  • Canadian streamers CBC Music and Stingray together brought in 9%, a strong showing that’s up from previous years.

The changes in listening habits follow trends worldwide.

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