Streaming is king, but radio still has a place with Canadian teens

The latest MTM Jr. report dives into the audio habits of kids and teens, showing that YouTube is a major player while podcasts have yet to take off.

Digital platforms are the go-to source for young Canadians seeking out music, but while traditional radio’s popularity has taken a steep dip in the last two years, AM and FM stations still connect with a significant portion of the population.

The latest MTM JR. report, a series of research the company has conducted looking at Canadians under 18, explores how kids under 18 consume audio – both terrestrial radio and streaming audio.

Youth are consuming online audio across several different platforms, with more than three-quarters of young Anglophones listening to some form of audio in the past month.

Streaming services are the most popular audio platform for those aged 12 to 17, though it’s not just those focused on audio: Spotify (53%) is the top music service for all Anglophone children, followed by YouTube (43%). Radio is also popular with children of all ages, with 45% reporting listening either terrestrially or online in the past month, although that number is
down from 2019 (66%).

Use of music streaming services is slightly higher among kids in Atlantic Canada (69%), Alberta (69%) and British Columbia (70%).

Despite its popularity rising among adults, podcasting remains a niche activity among younger Canadians, with just over one in ten children listening. But among those Anglophone podcast listeners, almost two-thirds are listening on a weekly basis. Young boys and teens are slightly more likely to listen to podcasts than girls – 21% of boys aged 12 to 17, versus 16% of girls. Geographically, podcasts are most popular among youth residing in British Columbia.

While still popular, AM/FM radio listenership declined among youth in the last two years. A tally of those aged 12 to 17 reporting that they listened in the past month show that radio is more popular with youth residing in Atlantic Canada (53%) and British Columbia (52%) than the rest of Canada – 48% in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan; and 43% in Ontario.