There was some head-scratching when Apple recently announced it was buying the headphone and music streaming company Beats in a US$3 billion deal.
But a Canadian report suggests Apple may be on to something, as audio streaming is on the rise and the use of online music services has doubled in a year.
Nearly two-thirds of the anglophone Canadians polled by phone by the Media Technology Monitor said they regularly streamed music online last year, which was up from 61 per cent in 2012 and 57 per cent in 2011.
The most popular source for listening to music for free online was YouTube, with 53 per cent of the respondents saying they streamed tunes that way.
About one in five said they streamed online feeds of AM or FM radio stations and a similar number used a streaming service like Deezer, Rdio, Songza or Slacker. The use of streaming music services in Canada doubled since 2012, according to the report. Of the regular audio streamers, one in three said they used at least one music service.
Perhaps surprisingly, respondents said the time they spent streaming audio was almost equal to how long they typically spent streaming TV shows, movies and other video clips.
Survey respondents said about a quarter of their online time was devoted to listening to music, about 29 per cent was spent watching video, and the rest was used for surfing the web and other web activities.
The average user who said they regularly streamed audio online estimated they typically spent a little over seven hours a week doing so.
The online survey was conducted with 2,653 Canadians from Jan. 10 through 22.