Canadian Teens Increasingly Paying for Music Downloads

Despite Moral Ambiguity Over Use of Peer-To-Peer Sites, 76% Use Fee-Based Download Websites

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Vancouver, BC – The online music downloading behaviour of Canadian teens suggests that a combination of stricter policies and a greater appreciation of copyright is having an impact on how and where teens access their music. According to a recent issue of the Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report, Canadian teens aged 12-17 years old are increasingly choosing to pay for music downloads, while fewer are "pirating" music for free.

Results of the study show that 76% of Canadian teens have used a fee-based website, such as iTunes, to download music. This is significantly greater than the 52% who downloaded paid music back in 2009. At the same time, far fewer teens are downloading music for free. Four in ten (40%) have used peer-to-peer service websites, such as torrent sites, to download music files for free, which is a significant decrease compared to the 74% who downloaded music for free in 2009.

"Legal takedowns of popular peer-to-peer sites in the past few years has made it increasingly complicated for all but the most tech savvy to download free music content, which may be the cause for this shift in behaviour," says Catherine Dawson, Senior Vice President with Ipsos Reid in Vancouver. "The use of torrent websites is not easily understood by many users and may be leading teens to paid download sources that are quick, simple and relatively affordable."

When asked about their feelings towards downloading music through peer-to-peer services, one in five teens (21%) indicate they feel guilty about it, while a greater proportion (35%) don't; the largest group (44%) feel neutral on the matter. This ambiguity is likely the result of uncertainty about the current laws around downloading copyrighted content in Canada. In a related question, fully half (52%) of teens are unsure how they feel about the current laws, while one third (34%) believe the laws are fair. Only 14% feel the laws are unfair.

"Given the current debate over Bill C-11 in Canada close on the heels of the SOPA/PIPA debate in the U.S., the increases we are seeing in paid downloads among the teen population is particularly interesting," adds Dawson.

This release is based on the findings of an Ipsos Reid syndicated study, The Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report, fielded December 14th to 20th, 2011 and released in 2011-Issue 5. This online survey of 416 Canadian teens aged 12-17 years old was conducted via the Ipsos Online Panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

For more information on the Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report, please visit

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Catherine Dawson
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid
(778) 373-5003

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey- based market research group.

To learn more, please visit

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world's third largest market research company. With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,363 billion ($1.897 billion U.S.) in 2011.

Visit to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.

Canadian Teens Increasingly Paying for Music Downloads


Karen Beck
Associate Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Marketing