December can mean very different things depending on the person. For some it may mean celebrating the winter holidays, for others it could mean preparing for the cold and maybe it means you’re preparing for finals.
But, if you are a Spotify user, the end of the year brings a much-celebrated occasion: Spotify Wrapped.
To someone who does not listen to music online or uses a service other than Spotify, the excitement and anticipation around this event may seem confusing, so here’s a quick explanation.
Music streaming services give their users a whole internet’s worth of songs and tunes to listen to, and Spotify is no exception. Most will keep track of the music played, usually to offer recommendations and adapt them to user preferences. Some, like Apple Music, will even give out a semi-detailed list at the end of the year to show which artists topped your listening preferences during that time.
But Spotify takes this idea and kicks it up a notch.
When it comes time to reveal the most listened-to artists, Spotify does not just hand the list out. No, it makes a whole presentation for it.
Not only does it show your top artists and the hours listened to them, but it also shows top genres, specific songs and percentiles. It even incorporates mini quizzes to see how well the listener knows themself.
It’s never quite the same every year, as Spotify will mix up the presentation and add different data. For example, this year they told viewers their “Audio Aura,” which chooses two specific moods of the year based on the viewer’s listening preferences.
So why all the excitement? In the social media age, everyone is closer than ever before. People want to stand out, and this tailor-made presentation becomes a distinctive piece of listener identity. No two people will have the exact same results, which makes it feel extremely personalized. Sharing this information is like sharing part of yourself. Comparing top artists, genres, songs or even your “Audio Aura” with friends and strangers is a fun way to put yourself out there.
There is also the benefit in the presentation itself. Spotify makes the recap feel very much like an event, and this can make people reminiscent. A lot can happen in the span in a year.
Friendships and romantic relationships come and go, classes start and finish and we experience personal triumphs and defeats. All of these changes are usually represented in Spotify’s larger playlist, which is the top 100 songs you listened to the most during the year. The recap is a good way to see how much things have changed since January as well as a good time to take a breath and reflect on the year as a whole through songs.
Spotify Wrapped can serve both as a fun social experience as well as a way to self reflect on what has lately been a tumultuous year.
So this year or next — if you are scrolling through social media and groaning at the tenth Spotify Wrapped post in a row — remember what makes it so fun and special to that person.