Canadians love holiday music, and they look forward to hearing it during the holidays at retail stores, restaurants, and public spaces. A recent Entandem Holiday Music Study1, conducted by Leger Intelligence Group, revealed a full third of Canadians stay longer in a store because of the music being played, strongly reflecting music’s role in bringing the holidays to life and influencing consumer behaviour.

The research, which surveyed more than 1,500 Canadians, also showed that 80 percent of Canadians feel music improves their holiday shopping experience, and about three-quarters are satisfied to hear holiday music at a store, on the radio, and at home. More than a quarter (27 percent) said a better selection and more variety of holiday music could improve their shopping experience, and only about one-in-ten Canadians report they actually dislike holiday music.

Noteworthy highlights from the Entandem Holiday Music Study include:

  • Few Canadians actually dislike holiday music. Only 13% said they’re not keen at all on a bit of musical merry-merry.
  • Music kicks off the holiday shopping season. Nearly a quarter of shoppers are reminded by music that it is the time to shop for the holidays, right after “a change in weather” and “holiday decorations.”
  • The gift of music keeps giving. More than a 75% of Canadians enjoy hearing holiday music when shopping, on the radio, and at home.
  • Music brings holiday shopping to life. Thirty-one percent of shoppers have stayed in a store longer because of the music played.
  • Quebecers are nostalgic about holiday music. More than one-third (34%) of Quebec residents said their favourite kind of music to shop to is traditional holiday carols (vs. 26% rest of Canada).

“People have an emotional connection to holiday music, and businesses can leverage this to create positive experiences for their customers during this festive season,” said Amadou Tall, director at Entandem. “The results from the Entandem Holiday Music Study show that Canadians enjoy holiday music, it motivates customers to stay longer in stores, and encourages them to start their holiday shopping when they hear it.”

When the holidays are near, a quarter of Canadians said that holiday music in stores is their first reminder that it is the time to shop, and 20 percent of Canadians aged 18 to 54 are significantly more likely to feel inspired to shop when they hear holiday music in stores.

Canadians were also definitive about when they want to hear holiday music: 52% said they want to hear holiday music only in December.

While a mix of traditional and modern music ranks high, 12 percent of those ages 18-34 prefer modern holiday songs, compared with those ages 45+ (4 percent). Further, 62 percent of respondents find it satisfying to hear holiday music in a restaurant, and those ages 18-34 are significantly more likely to want to hear a live DJ (10 percent) versus those ages 35 and older (2 percent).

Retail stores, restaurants and bars, among other types of businesses, can create unique experiences during the holidays by offering shoppers and patrons creative ways to enjoy music.

“A restaurant that typically plays recorded background music could offer live music during the holidays. Retail stores can do the same, with live carolers or a DJ to draw customers in and keep them shopping,” Tall added.

The Entandem research demonstrates how music plays an important role in holiday shopping and restaurant experiences. Businesses licensed with Entandem – a company created by well-established copyright collectives RE:SOUND and SOCAN – understand the true value that music can add throughout year. With the proper music licenses, businesses can play all the music they want legally and ethically, while ensuring music creators are compensated.

Businesses seeking more information about the music licenses they may require should visit

1 Survey of 1,537 Canadians was completed online November 8-11, 2019. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

SOCAN. Holiday Music, Infographic, Entandem, 2019