Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

Students are the main character in their Spotify Wrapped

Users are enjoying their ‘audio aura’ evaluation and other new additions to Spotify Wrapped

Spotify Aura of blue and green.

Each December, Spotify users anticipate the release of Spotify Wrapped to see and relive the music that defined their year. After scrolling through their own musical playbook of the year and discovering the artists and songs they loved the most, many users share their Spotify Wrapped results on social media, allowing them to connect with others who share similar musical end-of-year recaps.

The concept of Spotify Wrapped began back in 2015 when the feature was known as the ‘Year in Music,’ and listed the biggest songs of the year streamed on Spotify as a whole as well as an individual user’s top 100 songs. It wasn’t until 2017 that the app transitioned to the Spotify Wrapped that users know today, with personalized listening statistics and comparable interactivity, according to Screenrant.

The music and audio streaming service released its Spotify Wrapped on Wednesday, offering even more features than it had in previous years.

Spotify’s Global Head of Brand Design, Rasmus Wangelin, said in a statement that “every year has a slightly different theme.” The team works to create a design that not only tells a story about the shifts in music and audio culture but also brings together the community on common ground.

“This year, people around the world started to embrace the unknown in many ways, so we wanted every piece of creative to feel unique,” Wangelin wrote.

Some users look forward to the Spotify Wrapped release date so much that they’ve begun referring to it as a “holiday.”

“I think it’s one of the best times of the year, getting to see my Spotify Wrapped,” said Isabelle Vu, a senior majoring in human biology. “I thought it was really accurate.”

“It’s always exciting, come December 1st, to go into Spotify, look to see what’s up and compare it to all your friends to see what their genres, top artists and top songs are,” said Jose Torres, a freshman majoring in astronautical engineering.

Spotify is always evolving, according to Wangelin, and it seeks new ways to push and expand the brand. One way they accomplished this within the 2021 Spotify Wrapped was through the addition of Audio Auras, a feature that analyzes users’ listening habits and assigns a weight percentage to the two audio “moods” that best represent their listening, according to Spotify.

A blue and green Spotify aura.

“It was fun to see other people’s [Audio Auras] because it’s similar to genre,” Torres said. “You get a taste of what they want to feel like when they’re listening to their music.”

“I like that they’re doing something new with Spotify Wrapped,” Vu said. “It can get kind of lame and repetitive if they keep doing the same thing.”

While Spotify users only have access to their own analytics, it is a popular practice to share those statistics with friends and followers on social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat stories. For some, sharing their music tastes can bring people together, and it becomes something they can bond over.

“Sometimes I’ll have someone reply to my story saying, ‘Oh, you listen to them too?’ Then you realize that someone you thought no one listened to, other people do,” said Tree Solano-Navarro, a freshman majoring in business administration. “I think that’s cool because you can get a conversation started.”

For some users, deciding which aspects of their Spotify Wrapped to post is a difficult decision.

“I don’t want to be that girl who is posting every single thing from my Wrapped, so I picked three things I really liked and thought were funny and posted them,” Vu said. “But, there’s definitely that weird in-between where you want to show everybody, but you also don’t want to be part of the hundreds of other posts.”

In 2019, Apple Music created it’s ‘Replay’ feature, which is the Apple Music version of Spotify Wrapped. The biggest difference between the two is that Replay updates weekly and is available to view all year. But because Spotify boasts 165 million listeners on its platform compared to Apple Music’s 88 million, the former seems to be far more popular.

“I started using Apple Music, but then I actually switched over to Spotify,” said Audrey Lotspeich, a freshman majoring in cinema and media studies.

One USC student made an interesting discovery upon viewing her Spotify Wrapped. For Vu, her statistics revealed that her love for her school extends all the way into her music choices as one of her top five artists of the year was our very own Trojan Marching Band.

USC Trojan Marching Band was Isabelle Vu's most binge-listened artist.

“I love the Trojan Marching Band, I’m not embarrassed at all,” she said. “If I saw somebody else like[s] the Trojan Marching Band, I’d be like, hell yeah.”

While it’s a wrap on Spotify Wrapped for this year, users can expect an array of new features for 2022. And maybe if we’re lucky, even more USC students can add the Spirit of Troy to their artists of the year.