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For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
(H. L. Mencken)

Document T047

Importance de la musique à la radio en 2001: un sondage auprès des Canadiens

Report presented to the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency and the Société du droit de reproduction des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs au Canada, January 2002

The Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) and the Société du droit de reproduction des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs au Canada (SODRAC) retained Circum Network Inc. to conduct a study on the relative importance of music, as an element of radio programming, in attracting listeners to particular radio stations and to commercial radio in general.

Our mandate was to collect information that would essentially provide an answer to the following question: How important is music for radio stations? We took two approaches: first, music is an important factor in attracting people to radio and to a particular station; and second, music is an important factor in retaining those who listen to radio and to a particular station.

1. Music in Attracting Radio Audiences

The first approach aims to document the role of music in a person's decision to listen to the radio as a leisure activity, and in his or her preference for a particular station. The premise is this: if music is important in these decisions, then it is crucial to any radio undertaking that is seeking to attract an audience to its medium and to its particular station.

This study establishes the following facts:

From these facts, we can conclude that music is central to the radio offering and therefore to radio as a commercial undertaking.

2. Music in Retaining Radio Audiences

The second approach aims to inform what we call the counter-factual hypothesis: What would radio be without music (from the audience perspective)? Our premise is this: without its characteristic music, a particular station would lose a significant audience (while being able to develop another, although at a price) and, without music, radio as a medium would lose a share of its audience to other leisure activities.

This study establishes the following facts:

These observations lead us to conclude that, without music, it would be difficult for music radio to retain its listeners with a talk radio format, and it would be difficult for radio as a medium to keep its clientele from turning to other types of activities.


This study is based on an original telephone survey that reached a representative sample of 1,071 Canadians aged 12 or older. The estimates produced on the basis of these data have been adjusted for age, sex, language and region of residence.

The questionnaire was organized around six research questions. It has five sections (hours spent on various leisure activities, reasons for listening to the radio, reasons for choosing a particular radio station, hypothetical questions on the absence of preferred styles of music on the radio, sociodemographic data) and a variable number of questions based on participant characteristics. The questionnaire was pretested.

The telephone number sample was created by a specialized firm providing both numbers that are listed in the telephone directory and unlisted numbers. One person in each household was selected strictly at random using the "most recent birthday" method. No substitution was allowed.

The data were collected between November 13 and December 9, 2001. The refusal rate was 41%, while the response rate was 40%, calculated according to industry standards.

The maximum sampling error is ±3.1 percentage points for the whole sample, for estimating proportions; it is ±3.3 percentage points for the radio listeners sub-sample, and ±4.7 percentage points for the commercial music radio listeners group.

The tests performed justify the confidence we put in these data.

273 pages, 640k [PDF format]

To reach us:

General address : service@circum.com
Benoît Gauthier : gauthier@circum.com, @BGauthierCEEQ
Tel. : +1 819 775-2620, Fax : (no more fax; sorry)
238 Fleming Road, Cantley, Québec J8V 3B4