Let’s Spice Up Spotify Wrapped



Spotify releases Spotify Wrapped each year in late November or early December.

A.J. Fezza, Opinion Editor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Spotify Wrapped season.

Every year in early December, the music streaming giant releases a highly-personalized slideshow of statistics and listening habits for each of its users. This year, Spotify Wrapped arrived on Nov. 30, its earliest release date ever.

It provides an excellent opportunity for people to show off their taste to their friends and social media followers. Even those who typically never post come out of their shells and post on their Instagram stories to let the world know that they do, in fact, listen to very cool and niche music. 

One sophomore finds fault with this.

“Even though I use Spotify, I think Spotify Wrapped is just another way for Spotify users to flex on people who use other music streaming services like Apple Music,” Kai da Luz said. “It’s a really cool thing Spotify does, but when they encourage people to share it on their stories at the end, it turns it into more of a status thing.”

Despite this connection with status, Spotify Wrapped still brings people together in a spirit of joy that is fitting for Christmas time. Two people who presumably had little in common suddenly discover that they are both major fans of The Strokes and form a new bond.

With all that said, there is still room for improvement for Spotify Wrapped.

First of all, Spotify Wrapped comes out too early each year. The release dates for the past few years have been: Dec. 6, 2017, Dec. 6, 2018, Dec. 5, 2019, Dec. 2, 2020 and Dec. 1, 2021. Clearly, the release date has been creeping backwards, but now it has crossed a line by bleeding into November. People should not be thinking about their year in review while they are still recovering from Thanksgiving dinner.

Spotify Wrapped data is based on listening habits from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 of each year. The fact that two whole months are omitted from the review yields a skewed representation, which is retrospectively justified by rushed release dates. 

Instead, Spotify should collect data from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30 and release Spotify Wrapped in mid-December. Yes, the month of December would still be left out, but 11 months of data is still better than 10 (and December is typically filled with Christmas songs that would skew data more than anything else). 

Speaking of data, despite all the statistics that Spotify throws at us each year, it never includes statistics for top albums. While we may be in the streaming era in which singles can be appreciated independent of album purchases, albums are not obsolete and are still significant as cohesive works for music lovers. Not including them in Spotify Wrapped implicitly sends a bad message about the meaning of albums in the 21st century. 

Also, a good portion of users discover that they are in the top 0.01% of listeners for their favorite artist. While it is nice to be notified of this fact, it would be much nicer if these users were actually rewarded for their dedication through free merchandise.

Senior Jake Saunders would be satisfied even with just a discount.

“I was the top .001% of listeners for my favorite artist in my 2021 Spotify Wrapped,” Saunders said. “I think when you have quantifiable proof of supporting an artist that much, it would be great to receive something even as small as a discount towards their merch.”

It could be argued that it would make more sense for artists to be rewarding their top fans rather than Spotify, since Spotify is simply a mediator. Even so, Spotify should work with artists to encourage this practice, as artists are what make Spotify great.

Thankfully, Spotify has adopted a limited version of this practice by offering Artist Messages to top fans of certain major artists in which the artists thank them for their support. However, these video messages are not even personal — they are sent out en masse to fans. Besides, if Spotify truly wants to do right by its users, it would promise more than mere messages. 

Spotify could reward its most avid users in general with Spotify merchandise. As a billion dollar enterprise that relies upon algorithms to do the bulk of its work, Spotify certainly has money to spare. 

Finally, Spotify Wrapped should also extend its analysis to the community level.

How great would it be to see a Spotify Wrapped playlist or slideshow for Villanova University as a whole at the end of each year?

This would require Spotify to collect geographical data from users or to ask about university enrollment. However, given the lack of privacy that is pervasive in the modern media landscape, Spotify is likely collecting this data anyway.

It would be fascinating to see both the musical variety and the commonalities of the student body. While there inevitably would be a good chunk of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles on Villanova’s Spotify Wrapped, as expected, some of the results would be bound to subvert expectations and offer deeper insight into the community.