TORONTO - Almost half of all Canadian Internet users say they now stream music online, according to the results of a newly released survey.
About 43 per cent of the 1,000 Canadians polled online by Google in October said they sometimes streamed music, and nearly half of them said they typically used their smartphone to do so.
About four in 10 of them said they sometimes used their computer to stream music and just six per cent said they sometimes used a tablet.
When asked how much time they spent streaming music, six to 10 hours a week was the most common reply, cited by 28 per cent of the users. Almost 20 per cent of them said they typically spend more than 20 hours a week listening to streaming music.
In May, Google launched its streaming service Google Play Music in Canada and Spotify followed suit in September, joining a long list of services already competing for the attention of digital music fans.
Some, like CBCMusic.ca and Songza, offer free ad-supported streaming of playlists and radio stations (CBC's service also allows a la carte streaming of a limited number of albums).
Google and Spotify joined the likes of Deezer, Rara, Rdio and Slacker in offering Canadians access to large catalogues of music that can be accessed on an unlimited basis with a monthly subscription. Most of the services have free trials or limited plans to entice users into upgrading.
According to a telephone poll conducted late last year by the Media Technology Monitor, Google's YouTube was far and away the most popular source for streaming music online.
Half of the anglophone Canadians who told MTM that they listened to music online said they used YouTube for streaming, while only about 20 per cent said they used a specialized music streaming service.
Google is looking to capitalize on YouTube's popularity among music fans with its new YouTube Music Key service, which launched in beta in the U.S. and some European countries last month. The subscription service removes ads while streaming music on YouTube and allows for offline listening and viewing of music videos. No Canadian launch date has been released.
For their study on streaming music trends the Media Technology Monitor commissioned Forum Research Inc. to speak with 4,009 anglophones by phone between Oct. 7 and Dec. 1, 2013. The survey results are considered accurate within 1.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys such as the one conducted by Google cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.