‘Spotify Wrapped’ challenges students perceptions of one another

Hadley Hoskins
Junior Editor

phoebe bridgers
Art by Lily Musgraves

December is always busy for students, between finals, the holidays and the beginnings of winter sport seasons, but one beacon of hope shines in the middle of it all: Spotify Wrapped.
Spotify Wrapped is a marketing campaign from the streaming platform Spotify. It was first released in 2015 with the intention of highlighting users’ most listened to songs, artists, genres and podcasts from the past year.

This year, Spotify Wrapped was released on Nov. 31, but the day changes every year. In 2021, Wrapped was released on Dec. 1. The timing of Wrapped’s release coincides with the beginning of other end-of-year activities, like the end of the semester.

Data for Wrapped is recorded from Jan. 1, to some point in the middle of November. The exact date that Spotify stops recording is unknown. Despite rumors that it stops after Oct. 31, Spotify denied the claims in a Tweet, saying, “The only thing that we end on Halloween is eating candy corn. Stream (and snack) all through the year, and we will see you in Wrapped season.”

Art by Norah Rohlfing

Other streaming platforms have also released similar end-of-year recaps, such as Apple Music’s “Apple Music Replay” and YouTube Music’s “Recapped,” but students said they preferred Wrapped.

However reviewing the top tracks of the year is only part of what students find exciting about Wrapped. It’s also unique in that it takes the data and adds graphics and pop culture references to keep it exciting and unpredictable. This year’s Wrapped included “Listener Types,” and “Into the Genre-Verse,” which seemed like references to MBTI Personality Types and Marvel, respectively.

All of this accumulates into a list that is shared all over social media. Students said their favorite part of Wrapped was seeing their friends’ Wrapped and sharing their own.
“It’s one of my favorite parts of the year. It tells me a lot about what I need to change, mostly,” junior Lily Naert said.

“I think it’s really fun to see what everybody is listening to,” junior Rose Mossinghoff said.
This year, songs such as “She” by Tyler the Creator, “this is me trying” by Taylor Swift and “Garden Song” by Phoebe Bridgers were top songs for students, according to a survey done on the Echo’s Instagram page.

For all Spotify users, Drake, Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, Kanye West and BTS were the top artists.

Sharing music taste isn’t always a consequenceless activity, though. Some students said seeing what others are listening to could completely re-shape their opinion on someone.
“Sometimes there are people that listen to really different music than their vibe. It can be really surprising,” Mossinghoff said.

“I think that people’s Spotify Wrappeds can change my perspective. Like, if I see someone’s Wrapped, and it’s not what I expected, then I’m like, ‘Hm, do I really like this person, based on the stuff that they’re listening to?’” Naert said.

Art by Tania Perez-Landerio

“I think someone’s music taste can say a lot about how willing they are to try new things,” sophomore Norris Baker said about what music taste means to them.

“I think sometimes music taste can say something. If you listen to a bunch of Taylor Swift or a bunch of Playboi Carti, that can be kind of telling,” senior Quinn McCartie added.
Mossinghoff added she thinks this has changed a lot in the past 20 years, and this might be due to the introduction of streaming platforms like Spotify. Rather than having to go out to buy CDs or vinyls or even go on the iTunes store to buy music, all it takes to listen to music is access to the internet.

“Music is so readily available, and there’s so many options, so it definitely says a lot about you as a person,” Mossinghoff said.

“I also think that it’s so much easier now to dissect the music and understand what it means and why people are listening to it,” Naert said.

In fact, some students said fear of being judged for their music taste or not being considered to have “good music taste” can result in them trying to change the results of their Wrappeds. Sometimes, this looks like listening to specific songs or artists. Other times, this can take the form of not listening to certain songs or artists. In fact, three out of four students said they had tried to change the results of their Wrapped in some way.

“Once the Spotify Wrapped deadline is getting close, I’ll start listening to artists that I want people to see me listening to, so that they’ll think I have good music taste,” Mossinghoff said.

“I do kind of try to change it. If I’m like, ‘I’m listening to this person way too much, and it’s gonna be embarrassing if that’s on there.’ Like Kanye,” Naert said.

Despite this, Wrapped remains a relatively unbiased perspective of what users are listening to most, which can result in some students being hesitant to share the true results of their Wrapped.

“I like sharing [my Spotify Wrapped], but I’m scared people are going to judge me for it, but I’m not ashamed of the music I listen to, so I think it’s fun, especially because I like seeing other people’s,” Naert said.

Not all students feel that there should be such an emphasis on what kind of music someone listens to, though.

“I don’t really see the point in trying to change your Spotify Wrapped. Your Spotify Wrapped is what you listened to, and I think you should be able to listen to what you like, and I don’t think you should be judged for it,” McCartie said.

Featured Graphic includes Art by Lily Musgraves


Hadley Hoskins- Junior Editor

This will be Hadley Hoskin’s first year on ECHO Staff, but she also made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.

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