How Do Canadians Listen to Music? Let Us Count the Ways.

Nielsen Canada has released the final version of their musical state-of-the-union for the mid-point of 2016. Here are some highlights, beginning with music consumption trends.

  • 93% of Canadians listen to music. It makes you wonder what the other 7% are up to.
  • 96% of Millennials listen to music. Again, what’s going on with that last 4%?
  • About half the population (53%) listens to music via a smartphone in a typical week. When it comes to Millennials, that number jumps to 79%.
  • Millennials listen to about 32 hours’ worth of music every week, up from 24 last year.
  • People who stream listen to the most music: 44 hours a week. That takes up one-quarter of all the hours in a week.
  • About 26% of us stream, up from 20% in 2016. Millennials’ rate is 42%, vs. 34% last year.
  • 45% of Millennials are all over getting music on video sites like YouTube and Vevo compared to 30% of the general population.
  • How big is streaming becoming? People are accessing their personal digital libraries–i.e. music they own–less. Listening is down to 35% from 38% in 2016.
  • A quarter of us still listen to CDs.

Okay, so all this must mean that radio is taking a beating. Well, no.

  • AM/FM radio is used by 64% of the population. That’s up from 61% a year ago.
  • Online radio is big, too. 62% of Canadians have listened to radio that way while the Millennial rate is 83%.
  • If you look at all radio, it reaches 70% of the population every week.

Let’s move on to live music.

  • More Canadians (59% more) are going to live events over last year. Millennial attendance is up 70%.
  • Most of us (57%) go to a concert with a headliner. If it’s a club to see a band or two, the number is 45%.
  • 22% of us went to an event with a DJ. That number increases to 34% for Millennials.

Any questions?





Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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