Spotify Wrapped was released this week. It’s one of the most anticipated campaigns of the year - a tool that enables premium Spotify users to view a summary of their listening habits from the past year. Based on data it reveals your top artists, top songs, top genres, top podcasts etc.. It even tells you how many minutes you’ve spent on the platform, and time spent with your favourite artists. Once it’s live, social media is full of people sharing their results with their followers. Each year it inspires discussion, memes and reflection on times gone by.
As always, the campaign is received excitedly by Spotfiy users - and leaves Apple music users envious.
“In general I think Spotify wrapped is a fun reminder of what you love! Some people don’t even realise how big a fan they are of certain artists or genres so it gives interesting insight. I think it’s a nice nostalgic look-back on the year, through music. To be honest, I’m not super interested in seeing other people’s, it’s kind of like someone telling you about their dream in detail. It’s only slightly entertaining made marginally better if it involves you somehow. It’s fun to see what friends you have common music taste with but that’s about it.” Finch, 22
This year, Spotify Wrapped included highlights from the past decade, as the 2010s come to a close. This ‘long-term’ view of listening habits was interesting for users, as they were able to reflect on times gone by - and how much their tastes had changed!
“I liked it a lot. Nothing I didn't know for the most part but its cool to see everything broken down into genres, countries, minutes played etc. The decade piece was cool ‘cause it shows how much my music taste has changed over the years as well as making me cringe at a few choices back a few years ago 😂” Jeff, 28
“It’s a nice way to go back over the last year and go back on the tunes you were listening to a few months ago that you might have forgotten about. I love the ‘genre fluidity’ language they used this year to display the different genres you listened to.” Siobhan 28
For those who shared a screen grab of their ‘Wrapped’ results publicly on social media, it was an opportunity for discussion and discovery:
“I like looking at the ones that other people put up and I wanted to share mine then. Why? Simply so that people have an insight into my music taste... I love looking at others because unless they are good friends you don’t know that much about what they are listening too, so I feel like getting to see their lists from Spotify deepens my knowledge of their personality.” Kathrin, 30
“I feel like it’s really good for the artists too, I’m discovering new acts from seeing people's lists. It’s like the new Top of the Pops. It’s nice to see artists thanking their fans for listening too.” Lyndsey, 25
THE NON SHARERS
There are those who use the tool and find it interesting and relevant to them, but don’t share their results publicly on the social ‘overground’ - the likes of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook:
“Spotify Wrapped definitely makes you think about the things you went through that year! Like oh yeah I listened to that on repeat for that week 😂 I enjoyed it, I like seeing the results. However I didn't share because mine was pretty basic. Taylor swift third year in a row most listened to artist…” Alwyn, 28
“Mine just related to concerts I went to during the year because I try to brush up before I go. My most listened to artist was the divine comedy but I don’t even really like the divine comedy all that much so it wasn’t an accurate reflection I feel.” Jen, 26
“So many people were sharing them. I shared mine in a Whatsapp group with my friends but I didn’t share it on Instagram where everyone could see it. It was fun to compare results with my close friends - we have a little group chat about music specifically, so it meant there were some crossovers… It was really handy getting that playlist that Spotify set up for you with all of your most listened to songs. I didn’t really look at other people’s, it’s much more interesting to see your own. But it was funny to see wildcards pop up in people’s lists - like 4 hip hop acts and then Ariana Grande...” Emma, 24
With this, off course, there’s also been criticism of the platform getting such incredible advertising for the campaign when artists don’t benefit hugely from being on the platform:
“These lists are free advertising for a company built on shitting on musicians. If you listened to hours or somebody's work, buy something from them. If you've made a career sharing other people’s work, do it with a bit of class and link to where there’s stuff for sale.” Dan Walsh
THE HACKERS AND PREMIUM ACCOUNT BORROWERS
A few Spotify users have been hacked (or - just as dramatically - been used by a friend or family member with contrasting music tastes), which means their Spotify wrapped is an interesting insight into someone else’s listening life:
“My Spotify has been hacked several times over the last two years (apparently it’s a common issue with lots of accounts) unfortunately this means that my Spotify wrapped is a beautiful round up of the music choice of my hackers. In 2018, they were listening exclusively to (hours and hours) of BTS and Spotify still thinks they’re my favourite artists. This year my hackers seem to be from South America and really keen on Brazilian music. They also like deleting my playlists and making their own ones which is a particularly dumb way to making your hacking obvious if you ask me. My 2019 artist of the year was Rosalia, who I’ve actually listened to a couple of times. My hackers are big fans. It makes me so sad to see everyone’s lovely curated Spotify wrapped playlists when I get a random mix of scroungers music! It’s a good reminder for me to change my passwords and not to log in on public wifi though - stay safe!” Eleanor, 27
“My Spotify wrapped got destroyed by my dad listening to exclusively country music on my account while building a deck for 4 months.” Sydney
Spotify Wrapped adds value to youth’s ‘brand me’ time and time again, while providing a unique connection opportunity. For the individual, the third party is adding value in shaping an accurate narrative, that helps them understand and tell their own story. This helps with ‘social proofing’ - through the data, young people are able to show accurately if they, for example, listened to the ‘right’ artists this year - or show how ‘underground’ or cool their history is. From the connection perspective, the value is in providing discussion-provoking insights and a common platform/channel through which both artists and fans can both relate.
Spotify Wrapped results are instantly shareable. This year they were optimised especially in vertical format and could be shared easily through the platform on to social media. The colours and creative were striking and easy to read - a brilliant example of how data can be presented in a digestible and fun way.
Furthermore, what is genius about this campaign is it a hugely efficient social multiplier - a user-generated campaign built on personalised data. Think about how you could unlock 'earned marketing' value with data. Can you think of any personalisation points that would be of interest to users - so much so that users would share the findings, and by doing so, effectively do marketing on behalf of the brand?
As 2019 draws to a close, it’s worth reflecting on the past decade for your brand or organisation. Are there obvious trends? Were their major milestones and cringeworthy moments? What efforts or campaigns did you give most time to?
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