Spotify Wrapped. If you haven’t seen it all over Instagram, you would’ve seen it all over LinkedIn. It’s that time of the year when our Spotify Wrapped has officially been released. Whilst many of us can usually remember the year we’ve had, whether that be a successful one or a disastrous one, it’s usually Spotify that will sum it up for us in music form.
Every year the music platform, Spotify, will release an energetic summary concluding a users yearly listening. It mirrors Instagram’s story feature, allowing users a blast from the past and insights into who their ‘top artists’ were this year, ‘what song was their #1 stream’, how many ‘minutes of music’ they listened to and more!
This year saw a story-like edition to our Spotify Wrapped, with exacerbated graphics all over our screens and our top songs to accompany us as we tap through. So why has the marketing world, as well as the general population, gone absolutely crazy for it?
It’s been 10 years since we first saw Spotify release a ‘wrapped’ session called ‘Year-In Review,’ which from looking at the image below, you can see how far it’s come versus today’s seamless design.
Since its debut feature 10 years ago, Spotify has continued to develop and improve the feature, with its first milestone change in 2016 when the name of the feature changed to the more commonly known name of ‘Wrapped’. More interactive and unconventional additions were introduced throughout the years. 2023 saw a new bit of data “assigning users a ‘Sound Town’ which matches users to a city based on their listening and shared artist affinity.” – Time Magazine
This year, we’ve truly seen how much of a cultural indentation Spotify Wrapped has on its users simply by the amount of noise surrounding the topic.
One of the reasons Spotify has continued to develop its end-of-season wrap is due to the plethora of UGC (user-generated content) the year wrap-up provides. With most users taking to platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat to share their top artists and songs, it’s free advertising which has turned into a cultural tradition for many, this time of year. Time magazine reports that in 2021, more than 120 million people were given a Spotify wrapped, and half of that proportion (60 million) shared their ‘Wrap’ on social media.
UGC CapCut templates have been a huge hit for 2023, and quickly enough users were jumping onto CapCut to make their own videos utilising Spotify wrapped to poke fun at their results and tie in with trending videos and sounds. For example: Video 1 . Alongside this, brands have taken Spotify’s outlandish looks and have taken a spin on this year’s wrap-up in a still media form. The example on the left has been taken from @pinpoint_media and the example on the right has been taken from the popular Instagram account @secret.london
But why is this worth mentioning? Tailored reactive content such as this helps to keep your brand relevant. Whilst not all of your content has to be reactive, a post following this trend, can help grow engagement, show personality and boost performance.
On the flip side, many users claimed they would be avoiding social platforms for the next couple of days in order to escape the cacophony of Spotify users plastering their music choices everywhere and anywhere. Whilst it’s negative towards consumers sharing their Spotify, it is not actually directly negative towards the music platform itself.
Despite all of this we have to keep in mind that not everyone has Spotify. With half of the Spotify go-ers sharing their ‘music personality’ on social media, what do non-consumers of the platform have? Well… nothing, really. Apple Music does create their own ‘wrapped version’ however it does not have the same effect that Spotify has managed to create.
So what does it create? Fomo. Fear of missing out. The reason Spotify has continuously stood out over Apple Music is simply because of its UX and the ability to cross-platform post across grossly better than its competitor.
However, can we question if there is a deeper, more psychological meaning behind why everyone feels the need to share their music personalities?
Social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok shout about their objectives to make their platforms a place for community. A place to be your true self, which many try to identify within their music. Whilst many people curate their feed with content that resonates with them, people also curate their followers to be people who are a part of the same communities as them. The fundamental human need for belonging can be linked to the sense of community fostered by features like Spotify Wrapped.
Whilst most of us have enjoyed seeing our top songs and top artists, will Spotify Wrapped be a cause for concern within the next coming years? I have managed to come across a perspective that identifies one of the cracks for Spotify Wrapped. Data usage.
We’ve seen it everywhere this year with many social media platforms coming under fire for their data usage and how they store and sell our data. With fines being handed out left, right and centre, we can only question why Spotify hasn’t come under fire for their data usage yet or are they one of the few businesses that are sticking to the rules?
Many do state that their individualised data for Spotify Wrapped is wrong and that it’s untrue to what they’ve listened to that year, however, I feel like that takes the joy out of this music sharing season. The majority of Spotify consumers agree with their end-of-year results and have not found an issue. Maybe those who disagree just don’t want to admit they really like Taylor Swift!
Will Spotify be one of the companies where their data wrong-doings will catch up with them?
In 2023 it was recorded that global streaming revenues hit the $20 billion mark which suggests there will be some longevity to Spotify and further growth one of Spotify’s best features. As data becomes more accessible and people find ways to identify themselves within their music, Spotify Wrapped will continue to grow and become even more addictive for the following year. Will this be too much for Spotify’s users?
Furthermore, could we see Apple create a more rivalrous year in review for next year? I highly doubt it but the thought of 2024 is too far ahead to think about right now!
In summary, there is no denying that Spotify has excelled this year and is a market leader in terms of personalisation for consumers, and how to create a marketing campaign that is awaited for all year round.
Written by Emily Parr
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