The Music We Love

Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson

Often Canada is described as a hockey country, and with some reason. But even more Canadians share a passion for music. Fully 11.5 million Canadians say they “love music” and another 8.5 million “like it a lot”. In total 87% say they love, like music a lot, or like it quite a bit.

Appreciation of music is pretty universal, and is fairly consistent across regions. But women show greater passion for music than men, and younger people are more enthusiastic music lovers than older people.

Of course, like sports, not everyone likes exactly the same thing when it comes to music. Pop music claims an enthusiastic 11 million adult fans (love it, like it a lot, like it quite a bit), dominated, as has likely always been the case, by younger people. No doubt the audience for pop music grows significantly if one includes the passions of adolescents and teens, who are not included in our survey.

But what is maybe more interesting is that a wide variety of other genres of music all have fan bases numbering in the multi-millions. Even the genre with the smallest fan base, opera, finds 3 million fans.

Other some other interesting findings:

• Country is the third most popular genre of music in Canada, tied with classical music.
• Hip hop & rap has the youngest audience, and fans of that genre also enjoy reggae & R&B.
• Instrumental jazz has a slightly larger fan base than vocal jazz music.
• Traditional country music enjoys almost as big a fan base as modern country music.
• In Quebec, 59% say they like or love Quebecois or francophone music. 9% of Canadians outside Quebec share their passion for that kind of music.
• Among those who like classical music, 1/3 enjoy opera.
• However, among those who like opera, 86% enjoy classical music.
• Bluegrass lovers tend to stand out for their enjoyment of a wide range of music genres.


Bruce Anderson: “In the coming months we’ll document the passions that Canadians have for a variety of cultural products, from books to films, to TV programming genres. With this opening look at music, the first thing that jumps out is that the demand for music is very broad and the passion runs pretty high. And, while pop music draws the biggest audiences, Canadians show plenty of interest in a wide array of other musical styles too.

What’s more, there’s a good deal of crossover interest – some of it perhaps unexpected. There are generational differences as one might expect, but in many cases these are smaller or more muted than might have been expected. Almost as many people under 40 as over 40 love jazz vocalists as one example.”


Our survey was conducted online with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over from October 7 to 12, 2016. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 1,500 is +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Abacus Data Inc.

We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value-added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, Ph.D.

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