Uptick in Canadians streaming music is giving a boost to playlists: report


TORONTO — A growing number of Canadian listeners are playing their favourite tunes on streaming music platforms — and the shift in habits is giving a boost to playlists.

Nielsen Music Canada’s latest survey of how people listen to songs and albums found that seven in 10 Canadians say they stream music using platforms like Spotify, Apple Music or Google Play.

And of that figure, about 84 per cent of respondents dig into playlists on those services.

It’s the first time the annual Nielsen “Canada Music 360” survey has examined how playlists are reshaping the way people access music in an era of growth for streaming companies.

About 98 per cent of teen respondents — 13 to 17 years old — said they throw on playlists, which is two per cent more than people aged 18 to 34.

Many in the music industry suggest playlists — often curated by streaming companies — are eclipsing radio as the way people discover and share music.

But Nielsen found that despite those assumptions, radio still holds the strongest overall influence when it comes to launching a new artist or song to Canadian audiences.

About 66 per cent of the survey’s respondents say they discovered new music on the radio, while a lesser 43 per cent heard it through streaming music services.

Those radio habits appear to be shifting, however, as the number of respondents who said they listened to “over-the-air” radio at least once a week dropped six percentage points from last year’s survey, down to 58 per cent.

Radio listenership is also heavily weighted in the older demographics, with 70 per cent of people 45 to 54 listening on a weekly basis.

Nielsen conducted the online survey of about 1,500 adults over 13 years old between March 29 and April 10. They also conducted an additional survey of 100 people aged 18 to 34 to “bolster analyses” of the key demographic.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.


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David Friend, The Canadian Press