Music in Canada - Statistics & Facts

The United States is often seen as the global hub for music, but over the years Canada has quietly produced some of the biggest stars in the industry. Canada’s ‘old guard’, musicians like Celine Dion and Neil Young, have passed the torch on to a new generation of Canadian superstars in artists such as Drake and Justin Bieber. Similarly, classic mediums of music consumption like physical albums and radio have given way to new technologies, namely streaming and digital music downloads. Regardless of the medium or the artist, music remains a big part of Canadian culture and the country boasts one of the largest music industries in the world.

Although music album sales dropped from 29.3 million units in 2013 to just 17.5 million in 2017, total music market revenue has increased by over 100 million Canadian dollars in the same time frame. These rising revenues serve as a strong indicator that the Canadian music industry isn’t suffering, but simply evolving and adapting to changes in consumer habits and preferences. Canada’s digital music revenue is expected to reach 310 million U.S. dollars in 2018, with an increasing portion of that revenue coming from streaming services rather than downloads.

Music streaming services such as Spotify have experienced steady growth in recent years, with Spotify’s weekly active user penetration in the country standing at around 18 percent. One of the keys to the success of streaming platforms is the growing demand for on-the-go music access, illustrated by the fact that 34 percent of consumers use their smartphones to listen to music compared to 19 percent who listen to the radio, and just 14 percent via home stereo. The number of Canadian music streaming users is expected to surpass 10 million by 2020, which will likely amount to over a fourth of the country’s population.

But don’t let the numbers fool you: there is more to the Canadian music scene than just streaming services. Live music remains a big part of the industry as well; consumers estimate that over 50 percent of their total spending on music each year goes towards admission for live music events. Additionally, around 81 percent of Canadians reported attending a live musical performance in 2017. The widespread popularity of live music options along with the growing amount of digital music consumption, mostly in the form of streaming, serve to confirm that the nation’s music scene will remain among the most important in the world for years to come.

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