Canadians Lag Behind in Consumption of Music, Adoption of Paid Services

A new report on music habits shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Canadian music fans aren’t devouring music at the same rate, or in the same ways, as fans in other countries.

The Paris-based research firm Ipsos and IFPI surveyed Internet users between the ages of 13 and 64 in 13 markets about their music consumption habits. On the one hand, “Canada stands out as lagging behind other major markets in the consumption of music and adoption of paid services,” particularly subscription-based streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music.

On the other hand, “2015 sales stats released by Music Canada in April show explosive growth in premium subscription services, largely as a result of new entrants into the Canadian market,” the report notes.

Some of the highlights from the international report include:

  • “Paid audio streaming is growing: 71% of Internet users aged 16-64 access licensed music. Paid audio streaming services are growing in popularity, especially among under 25s,” and a full third of 16 to 24-year-olds pay for a streaming service”
  • YouTube is the most popular music service, with 82% of respondents saying they use YouTube for music, mostly to access songs they already know than to discover something new (an interesting development considering many claims that YouTube is a prominent way to gain exposure for new bands)
  • No surprise here: “Copyright infringement remains a significant problem” as some 35% of online music fans reported accessing unlicensed content, with 49% of consumers between the ages of 16 and 24 admit using services to rip songs from streaming platforms to download music
  • It’s those young whippersnappers that are most engaged with the music they listen to, with 82% of 13 to 15-year-olds not only listening to music but willing to pay for it
  • That also explains why smartphones are becoming the dominant way in which music is enjoyed.

How does Canada compare?

  • Only 64% of respondents said they engaged with licensed music
  • Streaming services are only used by roughly 27% of the general population and a small portion, about 11%, are paying for those services. That’s up from 9% in 2015, an increase of 22%, but still well behind the populations of other countries like Mexico (64%) and Sweden (61%)
  • YouTube use is rampant in Canada with 86% of internet users frequenting the platform in the past six months and 76% of that group saying they use YouTube for music-related content. The report notes that 49% of users polled said they go to YouTube “as an alternative to paying for music…’because it’s free’”
  • As for piracy, “Almost one-third of all consumers continue to access unlicensed content. Half of all 16-4 year old consumers report stream ripping”
  • And, as in other countries, Canadian teenagers between 13 and 15 are more likely to use licensed audio services, roughly 55%, with 25% of that group paying for the service

Curious to learn more? Read here.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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