News & Insights

Music as an escape: New research on streaming trends in Canada this year

Key takeaways for advertisers to remember as you connect with Canadian listeners in the current landscape.

In a year of constant strangeness and uncertainty, music has played an important role as a source of escape for Canadians. On Spotify, over 11M people use Spotify to soundtrack their moments in the country — and we teamed up with Mindshare to research how they’ve been listening during this time.

“As audio continues its path as the fastest-growing and most creative space in media, we partnered with Mindshare Canada to build on its recent Media and Culture Report," said Ivan Pehar, Head of Ad Sales Canada, Spotify. "Specifically focusing on the intersection of streaming audio and how Canadians are turning to Spotify during these times, our study is especially relevant for brands trying to understand how their audiences are engaging with content and culture right now. By providing them the insights to show up on audio in meaningful ways, we’re giving them the keys to unlock the potential of this powerful medium.”

Here’s what we found — and what brands can do to resonate with these listeners now.

  • 65%

    of Canadians say they stream music during the week.

One thing that’s clear: Canadians are definitely listening. In our July 2020 research, 65% said they have been streaming music in an average week, and of those who stream, half are streaming for over 3 hours weekly.1
  • 49%

    of streamers are deliberately choosing media to help them relax and de-stress.

“Canadians are tuning into audio to chill out and zone out [as shown by the Mindshare and Spotify research]," said Devon MacDonald, CEO, Mindshare Canada. "With more stress and strain in the world, audio is becoming the de facto escape for individuals.”

It’s been a challenging year — and many streamers told us they’re worried (47%) and stressed (44%) as a result of COVID-19.2 We found that nearly half of the people we spoke to say they’re turning to media sources to help them relax in these moments.3 This pairs with what we’ve seen on our platform: As COVID-19 took hold, we saw Spotify listeners adding mellower-than-usual songs — acoustic, instrumental, lower BPM, etc. — to their playlists.4

  • 34%

    of streamers said they listen while playing with their kids.

    Spotify x Mindshare Audio Impact During COVID-19, July 2020, in an average week

Listeners are finding more moments to listen while staying engaged with their families. We’ve seen this take shape globally on the Spotify platform this year — in the first half of 2020, as people began to self-quarantine, Kids playlist streams rose by 19% and Spotify Free users collectively hit 21 million monthly minutes of family and parenthood playlist listening.5 It’s key for brands to make sure they thoughtfully integrate themselves into these screenless moments, rather than interrupting them. We found that 25% of Canadian streamers prefer audio ads because they’re trying to avoid screens while spending time with family and friends.6

The other top listening moments for streamers in Canada? Housework (33%), and shopping online (33%).7

  • 42%

    of Canadians agree — when an ad is relevant to them and the creative matches their mood, the message feels more personal.

    Spotify x Mindshare Audio Impact During COVID-19, July 2020

For brands, it’s crucial to make sure your message fits in with your audience’s moment. Canadians agreed that the message feels more personal when it matches their mood, and 36% said they wish brands understood their moods when they come across ads.8

With all these insights in mind, here are the top 2 takeaways for advertisers to remember as you connect with Canadian listeners in the current landscape:

  1. Canadians are looking to music as an escape. While Canadians are feeling worried, anxious, and stressed, music and audio content is a way to escape and de-stress from all the news in the world today. Music streamers are more likely to say that they haven’t run out of content to listen to and are seeking audio content out.
  2. Music stays with us in more activities and moments than ever. Music is with us through so many different activities (exercise, cooking, playing with our kids) and this has only accelerated with restrictions in place around COVID-19. Canadians are turning to music content while they participate in at-home activities more than ever before.
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  1. Spotify x Mindshare Audio Impact During COVID-19, July 2020
  2. Spotify x Mindshare Audio Impact During COVID-19, July 2020
  3. Spotify x Mindshare Audio Impact During COVID-19, July 2020
  4. Spotify For the Record, “How Social Distancing Has Shifted Spotify Streaming,” March 2020
  5. Spotify First Party Data, free users, global, April 2020
  6. Spotify x Mindshare Audio Impact During COVID-19, July 2020
  7. Spotify x Mindshare Audio Impact During COVID-19, July 2020
  8. Spotify x Mindshare Audio Impact During COVID-19, July 2020 Methodology: Utilizing the Mindshare New Normal COVID-19 tracker, this study conducted online interviews with 999 Canadians (699 English Canadians and 300 French Canadians) and was in-field July 10 to July 12, 2020.

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