December 19, 2023

How Spotify’s “Wrapped” Spoke to Me

December means lots of things. End of the year, colder weather, the holiday season, and another edition of the “Wrapped” playlist that Spotify curates for its premium subscribers.

Spotify aggregates the listening data it has on you to present your very own year-end listening recap with a delightful, animated accompaniment. In previous years, even though data is data, for whatever reason I’ve felt Spotify missed the mark on how I used the platform.

Spotify Wrapped

But this year, they nailed it.

Spotify confirmed my wildly diverse tastes by indicating I’ve listened for 24,350 minutes to 1,081 artists in 51 genres in 2023, with Rock, Pop, and Hip Hop at the top. My recent obsession with Noah Kahan and Brandi Carlisle apparently puts my listening tastes in sync with those residing in Burlington, Vermont. “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus was my most played song. What can I say? I can love me better than you can.

My most played artist was Crowded House with a peak listening month of May, which makes total sense since that’s when I saw them play live in my town.

My favorite part of the Wrapped video is a new feature, introduced with “Hold up, someone’s on the other line”. It was Crowded House lead singer Neil Finn thanking me for being a fan and announcing a new album is coming out next year.


Neil Finn Crowded House

Crowded House’s Neil Finn sent me a video message on my personalized Spotify “Wrapped”. Photo credit: Ben Houdijk/Shutterstock

The Wrapped section of my Spotify dashboard has an already curated and personalized Top Songs of 2023 playlist, other artist video messages, which of those artists are coming next year, and some available merch to buy for the holidays. It isn’t 100% perfect…my colleague David tells me his Wrapped alerted him to an upcoming concert by one of his top five artists…who died in early September. Oops.

“Wrapped” is intensely personal, intentionally viral, and a powerful motivator of brand loyalty.

It’s easy to dismiss how applying the lessons of Wrapped could work for your brand. Of course, you don’t have Spotify money. You don’t have the resources to create gorgeous content at a Wrapped level of graphics.

But, you may have access to a robust database of consumers. Hopefully, you’ve collected some information on these consumers. At a basic level, you may have some demographic information, but hopefully you’ve conducted some surveys to learn more about them. If you work at a radio station, do you have information about who your listeners’ favorite artists are or what shows they like or what contests they’ve played? Do you know what they do for a living and when they listen most often?

Knowing you probably don’t have the access or algorithms that Big Data provides like Spotify does, 1) what information can you glean from your database and 2) what can you do with it?

One thing most radio stations do have is talent access, including the artists played on the station and the talent on-air. What personalized content can you generate for your audience to help build brand loyalty and encourage sharing via social channels? Local radio stations also have the power of community, focusing on elements germane to that specific audience.

What are some other ways you can make the listening experience more experiential and less transactional?

As you consider planning for 2024, think about ways your radio station or other media brand can deepen bonds with your audience, often in ways that are low or no cost, with data you already have or are easy to obtain just by asking.

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