When did Spotify Wrapped get so talkative?


“In 2021, you did what you had to do. “

“You have always understood the mission. “

“You deserve a reading list that’s as long as your skincare routine. “

No, those phrases weren’t spoken by a TikTok star or a cool mom. Instead, these are idioms that appear in the annual data-driven marketing campaign known as Spotify Wrapped.

The feature, which released on December 1, shows users of the streaming music service which songs and artists they’ve listened to the most throughout the year. Her arrival reliably inspires a number of screenshots and memes on social media. In 2020, for example, people posted how depressing (or calming) some of their most-listened tracks were.

This time, much of the commentary revolved around the campaign’s use of Internet slang (“living rent-free in my head”, “ambience control”, “main character”) and its references to popular topics (NFT, skin care regimens). In a meme, a Twitter user joked about personal finances using the tone of the Spotify campaign: “Your checking account balance was in the bottom 0.003%. Strange flex but ok!

Some users have also noticed surprising revelations about their listening habits. (Who knew they were in the 0.05% of Doja Cat’s top listeners?) Others have found something akin to self-knowledge in the “aura” reads that Spotify generated based on moods suggested by their musical tastes. (Someone on Twitter reported jokingly that Spotify had deemed their audio aura to be “fertile and reproducible.” “)

After the feature was released on December 1, the #SpotifyWrapped hashtag was trending for a few days and the memes were endless. In short, Spotify has collected a lot of data and is now reaping the benefits.

Kelsey McGarry, 28, who lives in Los Angeles and works as a grants writer and coordinator for the city’s homelessness services, has spent virtually an entire day poring over her own Spotify Wrapped. She said the results appeared to be an accurate reading of who she is.

“My Spotify Wrapped is very gay,” said Ms McGarry, who added that her best artist of the year was Charli XCX. She enjoyed looking back on her year in music, but noted that the language in this year’s Wrapped was distracting at times.

“My skin care routine isn’t even long,” Ms. McGarry said. “Like, what are you talking about?” “

Rajat Suresh, a 26-year-old comedian and writer, was one of many people online to joke on Spotify about playful language and buzzwords.

“In 2021, you haven’t been canceled,” Suresh wrote in a same he posted on Twitter. “Goodbye Felicia! You have your Fauci Ouchie, and it’s rocked the whole world. In addition to the image, he added a question: “Why is Spotify talking like this?

Ms McGarry said that for her, those ‘cringe’ moments, where the app seemed to pull phrases out of a cloud of slang words and popular search terms, reminded her that Spotify was a business and that sharing excerpts from his Wrapped campaign on social media was “free advertising”.

According to Taj Alavi, Global Head of Marketing at Spotify, the company is always on the lookout for new and creative ways to connect with Spotify listeners, who number more than 381 million worldwide.

“We often look at playful language and user experiences – that’s a critical part of who we are as a brand,” Ms. Alavi wrote in an email. “When we consider what the user experience will include, one of the most important factors is the connection with the culture, and not just with Spotify. So you’ll notice playful references to the cultural trends of 2021 reflected in the interactive user experience.

Mr Suresh said he uses Spotify a lot, making him “one of the know-it-all companies” about him. For him, however, this year’s roundup has gone a bit too far.

“It looked like a classic thing on Twitter when the brand is trying to look like a human or something,” he said in a phone interview from his home in Brooklyn, noting that he just preferred to see the data.

That’s not to say he hasn’t checked out his Spotify Wrapped with genuine curiosity. His best artist, he said, was Elliott Smith.



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