Spotify is my favorite social media platform.
Want to get to know someone better? Skip Instagram and Facebook, where images are handpicked and captions planned out hours in advance, and head right for their public playlists. You’ll know far faster if you’ll click with someone after scanning their running or studying playlist than skimming through tagged photos — I promise.
With the live Friend Feed, you can see what your friends are listening to throughout the day, and be the first one to learn about their breakup (“Stay” by Rihanna, over and over) — or that they’ve fallen in love (“My Favorite Part” by Mac Miller on every playlist). It even allows you to invite friends to add to your playlists through the collaboration feature.
The music people choose to listen to says a lot about them — from the lyrics and production style to the artists themselves. I’m incredibly curious about the music other people like, especially if it’s the same as me. It’s fun to see an album I recommended to a friend top their “On Repeat” playlist or an artist that I love pop up on their listening history.
The Spotify Wrapped phenomenon started in 2015 with the launch of “Year in Music,” the first go at a summary of a listener’s top artists, songs and podcasts. Since then, the program has grown significantly, morphing into a digital storytelling package presented to each listener in early December. Spotify users get a little notification that their “2020 Wrapped is ready,” and are taken through a visual presentation about them.
Even though I’m the one who listened to all the music, created the playlists, queued the songs and discovered the artists, Spotify Wrapped season still has me clambering for my phone to see what I loved this year and ultimately wanting to show it to literally everyone I know.
Unlike other music streaming platforms, Spotify caught on to the community-building capabilities of a streaming service. Large parts of its audience wanted to talk about what they were listening to, see what their friends were up to, and start a conversation. Spotify took this and effortlessly turned it into free marketing. The proof is in the Wrapped — a giant collection of our data throughout the year we’ll willingly share to all of our other social media, text to our friends, and write articles about. It even gets a few Apple Music users (bless their souls) to switch jerseys.
You’ve probably noticed this if you’ve logged on to Instagram, or any platform, really: the flood of screenshots and Spotify links, people congratulating themselves for a year of impeccable music taste or being humbled by the amount of top 40 songs in their rotation.
In a time where the distrust of tech companies is high, where we’re so afraid of our data being stolen or sold without our knowledge, we really jump at the chance to tell everyone that we streamed blackbear’s “me & ur ghost” over 100 times this year. I think a big part of it is that we love to talk about ourselves and think Spotify Wrapped can offer special insight into who we are. It’s a chance to take a walk through a challenging, scary, strange, and frustrating year through the songs that calmed us down, hyped us up and made us feel safe — even if it’s just for a little bit. But I think the bigger piece — especially this year — is the connections. Sharing your Wrapped lets other people take a glimpse into your year, and figure out that you actually have a lot more in common than you thought. I’ve reconnected with old friends over our same top songs (seriously) and found new ones, too. You might be rolling your eyes and skipping through all the posts, but I think Wrapped season is a special one.
To see your Spotify Wrapped 2020, open the Spotify app on your smartphone and click the “2020 Wrapped” banner on the home screen. I want to see your favorite songs!