Spotify & AM/FM both win in Canada: Infinite Dial

Edison Research and Triton Digital presented The Infinite Dial Canada 2021 yesterday, revealing listening trends up north, and frequently comparing them to the same questions asked in the flagship Infinite Dial research conducted in the U.S. (Get it HERE.)

Spotify is the clear and dominant leader among online audio brands used by Canadians, doubling the second-place YouTube:

What do drivers listen to in the car? Podcasts and online audio are marginalized, squeezed into minority percentages (79%), owned music, and CDs.

Note that podcasts and online radio are represented poorly in the graphic above, with 2021 usage lower than 2020 usage, among Canadians who have driven in the last month. One possible reason — only 24 percent of respondents drive cars equipped with in-dash infotainment systems.

Worth noting: In Canada, as elsewhere, car driving has been reduced by Covid. To put a number on that, the percentage of respondents who drove in the past month reduced from 92% in the previous year to 77%. The reduction is notably steep in the young 18-34 cohort (from 89% to 66%).

Canadians are as familiar with podcasting (the actual word “podcasting”) as Americans — 78% for Canadians. Fifty-seven percent of Canadians have ever listened to a podcast; 38% listened within a month. (Gender and age splits are unremarkable.) Weekly listening is where the rubber meets the road in our view; that pace of listening indicates a podcast routine. In Canada that weekly number is 23%. Within that population, the average number of consumed shows is five. Twenty-one percent of weekly listeners consume six or more.

Here’s an eye-opener: The trend of podcast listening is moving away from smartphones to computers, among people who have ever listened to a podcast:

One of the report’s key observations explains it this way: “Covid-19 related lockdowns, working from home, and decreased commute times likely drove an increase in people listening to podcasts most often on a desktop/laptop.”

Edison asked Canadian podcast listeners whether they have ever listened to a public radio podcast, prompting them with a mention of CBC, Radio Canada, and NPR. Only 39% said Yes.

Publishers and advertisers will  be interested in knowing how much of an episode is usually heard. Only 39% of the “ever listened” group claimed to hear the entire thing, and another 36% claimed “most of the podcast.” So that’s 75% who typically hear pre-rolls and mid-rolls, at least.


Brad Hill