Music consumption continues to shift online (Nielsen)

Traditional radio remains a key discovery vehicle, but streaming will gain in importance

Canadians spend an average of 24 hours each week listening to music, according to the latest Nielsen Music 360 Canada report, with consumption increasingly shifting towards mobile devices, particularly among teens and millennials.

Ninety per cent of Canadians – and 93% of millennials – listen to music every week, with 34% listening on mobile devices and 70% listening online (those numbers rise to 56% and 87% respectively among millennial audiences).

The good news for Canadian radio programmers is that radio still remains the primary music discovery method, with 65% of Canadians listening to radio in a typical week.

While the number of Canadians listening to traditional over-the-air radio fell from 61% in 2015 to 52% in the most recent study, online AM/FM listening increased from 11% to 21%.

Friends and relatives are the primary method of music discovery for teens, with more than half (58%) finding new music this way. One third of teens and millennials discover new music via streaming sources and/or social media.

The report said more than half of all music-related expenditures now go towards a combination of live experiential events – such as concerts, music festivals and DJ events – and online streaming services.

Physical sales haven’t completely disappeared, however, with 13% of teens and 14% of millennials still purchasing music via vinyl or even CD (compared with 16% of Canadians).

However, the report said streaming services would continue to gain in stature as music consumption migrates to mobile. The report said people who used paid streaming services spend more than 2.7 times as much on music as non-streamers.

Between 75% and 81% of music streamers said cost and ease-of-use are the most important factors in which service they selected; while 9% of people who do not currently pay for a service of this type indicated they are likely to subscribe in the next six months.

Price is the most often cited reason for not subscribing, though for those that are willing to pay for a streaming service, the song library is a key determinant in which service they choose – with the report predicting that exclusivity will become important in converting young listeners.

The findings are based on an online survey of 3,519 Canadians 13+ between March 26 and April 14.


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