The Difference Between Canadian and American Music Listeners

Although we share a language and a giant land mass with the United States, there are some distinct differences between us Canadians and our neighbours to the south. One of the big differences is our relationship with music, such as how we listen to and discover it.

Nielsen 360 compared the differences between the two countries from the 2016 Canadian and US studies and the results are interesting.

From FYI Music News, Nielsen found that:

“NOT THIEVES!!! Compared to Americans, Canadians are 46% less likely to share or download music/audio files on any peer-to-peer site (such as Grooveshark or torrent sites) (12.3% of Gen Pop vs 6.6%, respectively)”.

Furthermore, Canadians are about a third less likely to listen to a smartphone in a typical week, but 29% more likely to use a tablet for listening to our tunes than our American counterparts. We’re more likely to casually browse online music stores like iTunes or Google Play to discover new music, more likely (+18%) to listen to Americana-based music than Americans, and have a higher listenership for folk (+46%), easy listening (24%), and blues (+23%).

When it comes to digital music, FYI Music News reports:

“Though the % of consumers that purchase digital forms of music –  both individual tracks (US:23%, CA: 22%) and albums as a whole (US:16%, CA: 15%)  – are relatively consistent across countries , more than a third (35%) of Canadians still purchase CDs while only a quarter (25%) of Americans do the same”.

For specific streaming services, Canadians are more likely to prefer Apple Music (+12%), VEVO (+16%), and TuneIn (+14%). Additionally:

“Though Millennials account for the largest portion of Paid streamers in both the US and Canada, there are differences in the age groups of millennials that are comprising these paid users across these two countries. Relative to American paid streamers, Canada’s premium users are 13% more likely to be younger millennials between the ages of 18-24 and 26% less likely to be older millennials between the ages of 25-34”.

These are some pretty big differences between Canadians and Americans for our music consumption habits and it’s fascinating.

One thought on “The Difference Between Canadian and American Music Listeners

  • Nothing feels better for this over 60 rocker than firing up the turntable and blasting some T.Rex. Streaming? Leave it for the millennials. I want to own my music, preferably on vinyl.


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