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Final thoughts: Spotify Wrapped

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When it comes to days the internet collectively anticipates, none quite measure up to Spotify Wrapped Day. (Yes, “day” does deserve a capital.)

Watching your slew of Instagram followers unveil their top songs and artists for the year and offer you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives is exhilarating. No, it’s not super sophisticated, but there’s something surprisingly intimate about seeing someone’s music tastes summarized in a single square of Spotify’s PR campaign — I mean, Spotify Wrapped.

Unlike the standard Instagram post, Spotify Wrapped lacks the shiny veneer of perfectionism. Yes, they’re made up of eye-catching visuals, but there are no filters or witty captions to hide behind; your music tastes are entirely laid bare. You’re either in Taylor Swift’s top 0.01 per cent of listeners, or you’re not. (And somehow, it seems like most people are. Who’s crunching the numbers on this?)

Spotify is well aware of (and has capitalized on) our desire to know ourselves. We all want to know who our top artist is, the main genres we listen to, and the top five songs we play on repeat all year long. This hunger for self-exploration is especially evident in last year’s adaptation of the Myers-Briggs personality test that breaks down your “listening personality.”

For the record, I’m “The Adventurer,” a “seeker of sound” who “(ventures) into the unknown, searching for fresher artists, deeper cuts, (and) newer tracks.” Riveting.

And what do we do once we have this information? Shamelessly brag about it on social media, of course. But you know what? It’s fantastic.

Do I care how many minutes you spent listening to Doja Cat? No. But I want to see it, and I will judge you for it.

For once, it’s nice to be able to tap through Instagram stories and know that there isn’t any subtext: I know it’s self-indulgent, you know it’s self-indulgent, and there’s no pretending otherwise. You may as well be standing at the top of a really tall cliff and shouting, “My taste is impeccable, I am unique, I am the most important person online.”

But what happens next?

How do you look your cousin in the eye knowing he was in the top one per cent of Nickleback’s listeners? How do you have a conversation with the friend you make fun of, knowing that they actually do have better taste in music than you? And most importantly, how do you carry on with your life when Spotify Wrapped has classified your listening moods as “Pastel Goth/Pumpkin Spice/Chipper”?

The answer? You keep feeding the algorithm. And when Spotify Wrapped rolls out again at the end of 2023, you’ll be ready to show your followers just how special you are.

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