Did Spotify Wrapped Ruin the Way We Listen to Music?

The anxiety is real

It’s almost that time of year again: Spotify is set to release its annual “Spotify Wrapped” any day now. Spotify Wrapped is basically a snapshot of your listening history over the past year, or in the streaming giant’s own words, it is a “deep dive into the music and podcasts that defined your 2022.” What began as a viral marketing campaign a couple of years ago has now turned into a feature that music lovers look forward to each year. For at least a couple of days, everyone’s timelines are filled with Spotify analytics as users proudly share their results online to show off their impeccable music taste to their family and friends. 

Indeed, a person’s music taste can tell a lot about them and we live in a society where others tend to judge us for the kinds of songs we listen to. Because of this, there is a sense of dread that comes with the streaming platform’s annual wrap-up, leaving many users anxious about being judged or made fun of over the kind of songs that defined their year, potentially leading them to be extra conscious of the music that they consume  before Spotify stops collecting listening data on Oct. 31. 

In fact, one friend recently disclosed to me that she curated a whole playlist that she listens to on mute while she sleeps in an effort to manipulate her results with “less embarrassing music” and appear less “unhinged” when time comes to screenshot her wrap-up for Instagram. Another revealed that she created a new Spotify account in July to start over fresh. And they’re not alone. The number of people who have admit to adjusting their entire music taste for Spotify Wrapped online is alarming, to say the least. I guess no one wants their mutuals to know that they’re the top 0.01% of Crazy Frog listeners. 

Powered by AI, Spotify Wrapped showcases your genre-listening habits, five-most streamed artists, and a blended playlist of your best 100 songs of the year after analyzing hours of data. Considering that the music we listen to is often an authentic reflection of  what we are going through or feeling during a particular moment, it tends to fluctuate throughout the year, which can lead to a chaotic mix of Gregorian chants and Taylor Swift songs that have no business being on the same list as each other. 

But, that’s also what makes it so fun. It’s cool to have a summary of your daily life when you’re not thinking about being analyzed. Music shouldn’t be carefully curated. If I went through three situationships in 2022, I want my Spotify Wrapped to reflect that. If listening to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack on repeat helps you focus better, then play it all you want. How about when you’re feeling nostalgic? Surely you need to revisit songs from your childhood that you’d rather not name. No one should feel that they have to change their listening habits to have a “less embarrassing” or “cooler” Spotify Wrapped to post on social media for just 24-hours. Most of your followers aren’t even going to remember it the next day. So our advice? Listen to whatever you want, whenever you want. Spotify stopped counting the data a month ago, so it’s too late to get the Glee cast out of your top five most listened-to artists, anyways. 

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