Arts, Culture & Entertainment

Spotify Wrapped reveals personalized listener statistics

The end-of-the-year streaming data report excites some music fans while confusing others.

From wearing ugly sweaters to drinking eggnog, each December spells the beginning of unorthodox seasonal traditions. One bulk of data insight has become a new unusual staple that manages to routinely stall holiday fever and spark the social media stories of music lovers.

Spotify Wrapped is an annual report provided by the streaming service on the individualized listening tendencies of its users. Reports include details on a person’s top artists, songs, genres and time spent listening. The 2019 edition issues users with insights on both the past year and decade, allowing for a deep reflection from some and a slight outrage from others.

“I think it's fake news,” said Danielle Kuhler, an economics major, wearing a Tame Impala hoodie. “My top artist was Ariana Grande, but that’s false. I love Tame Impala, I listen to Tame Impala every single day all the time on Spotify, and then it was like Tame Impala wasn’t anything on my Wrapped.”

Not all students were against their Wrapped report. In fact, some saw it as an opportunity to gauge their music preferences as a metric of personal growth.

“It's a way that an app can wrap up your year,” said Teddy Williams, a communications major, whose top decade artist was Drake. “It lets people learn things about themselves and hear about themselves.”

Branching out from their Year in Music feature, Spotify Wrapped started in 2017. Since then, it has become a staple moment for music lovers every first week of December. The streaming platform encourages users to share their Wrapped report by formatting it in a colorful social graphic and directly telling users, “Be brave enough to share your listening history.”

“I think [Spotify’s Wrapped becoming a social phenomena] comes from people's self-absorption that other people care about what music you listen to,” said Tess Hagen Meister, a neuroscience major, whose top decade artist was Drake.

The annual Wrapped provides insight to more than just listeners, as the service delivers a report on streaming numbers for artists as well. The artist version includes the number of streams received, hours listened to, listeners and countries reached.

USC student-musician Kyle Tolbert appreciates the app’s “easy to read” data for self-reflection and the possibilities of developing marketing strategies.

Using Spotify Wrapped for the first time, Tolbert was not personally satisfied with his total reach, but appreciated knowing his fan base was primarily “18 to 24-year-old males and females heard in 79 countries, stretching out 11,682 miles.”

Knowing hs demographics, he now plans on“[doing] ads on social media targeting [this group]” to engage with fans listening the most.