Survey: Canadian Teens Stealing Less Music

A new Ipsos Reid survey suggests that more Canadian teens are choosing to pay for music downloads rather than just grab them free from someplace.  Why?  “[A] combination of stricter policies and a greater appreciation of copyright.”

The study showed that 76% of Canadian teens (12-17) have used a legal music download site (like iTunes) to get their music.  Compare that to the 52% who said they downloaded paid music during a survey conducted in 2009.  

Other findings:


  • 40% have used P2P sites, compared to 74% in 2009.
  • 21% say they feel guilty about pirating songs.  35% don’t feel guilty while 44% don’t have an opinion on the matter.


My take?  If you provide legal, hassle-free and, above all, reasonably-priced access to digital media, it’s worth spending the money rather than going through the trouble of finding what you want through torrents or P2P sites.  

But beware:  the Internet views any blockage, censorship or denial of access as damage and will route around it.  That means governments, rightsholder organizations and collectives in Canada and around the world still need to get their shit together when it comes to offer access to digital material while securing reasonable protection for their clients and constituents.

Survey results courtesy the Ipsos Canadian [email protected] Reid Report.


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.

2 thoughts on “Survey: Canadian Teens Stealing Less Music

  • March 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Another thought on the matter from my own observations, Alan. Many teens and young adults have simply forgotten how to pirate music. Either they were too young to remember the novelty to Napster, Audiogalaxy and its ilk or unwilling to jump from program to program as they started to be shut down in the early 2000's.

    The ubiquity, relative ease of iTunes as a platform, and its subsequent stability has made it the default option for digital music consumption. For example, my teenage cousin equates music downloading with iTunes and when I had explained to him that when I was his age a decade ago I would simply download it for free. He then asked me to show him how to get free iTunes credits.

    As a branding excersise, Apple has the up-and-coming generation hook, line and sinker. Music companies don't need to beat piracy, just be patient and outbreed them.

  • March 7, 2012 at 3:20 am

    Hmm… I wonder what the results would be if people aged 18-23 were polled instead. Most people aged 12-17 live at home and don't have to worry about real expenses yet, so they might not care as much about value for money as people 18-23. They're also quite young so they might not care about region locking or lossy quality yet, for example. It seems hard to conclude from this that there is more respect for copyright in that age group.


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