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The Explorer

The Student News Site of Hudson High School

The Explorer

The Student News Site of Hudson High School

The Explorer

Spotify Wrapped: How listening turned into leaderboards

Sophomore+McKenna+Kiewatt+posing+by+her+Spotify+Wrapped+on+the+day+it+was+released.+She+has+participated+in+Spotify+Wrapped+for+two+years.+Used+with+permission%2FMcKenna+Kiewatt.
Sophomore McKenna Kiewatt posing by her Spotify Wrapped on the day it was released. She has participated in Spotify Wrapped for two years. Used with permission/McKenna Kiewatt.

December is a celebratory month packed with holidays and celebrations of the past year. Since 2016, Spotify has contributed to the joy of this season with Spotify Wrapped.

Spotify Wrapped is a program that collects the listening data of Spotify users over the course of a year starting on January 1st and ending in late November. Spotify tracks a user’s most-listened songs, top artists and favorite genres.

Why is Spotify Wrapped so popular? It’s because of the users’ competitiveness. When Spotify releases Wrapped every year, they tell users what top percentage of an artist’s listeners they are. Spotify also sends a message from an artist to that artist’s top listeners.

All of these factors sparked an unofficial challenge. Wrapped has created a trend for its users to post their Wrapped, showing their friends who they’re listening to and comparing with other Spotify users. Many even fight to be their favorite artist’s top listener. This trend of posting and comparing gives Spotify free advertisement and media coverage. In December, Spotify shoots up in their app category download rankings.

Spotify Wrapped is unique to its competitors. Platforms like Apple Music have their own versions (e.g. Apple Rewind), but they just aren’t the same. Apple provides listeners with top artists, songs, and genres; Spotify offers even more. For example, Spotify tells listeners things like which city has the most similar listening habits, such as Portland, Burlington, Berkeley and Cambridge.

In addition, Spotify added another feature giving listeners “listening characters”: people cards based on how they listen to music. For example, the hypnotist, the time traveler, the shapeshifter and the luminary. This added feature keeps users interested because it changes every year. In previous years, Spotify has assigned listeners their “listening personality”, with titles like the devotee, the specialist and the voyager. 

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On top of Spotify’s ability to keep their customers entertained with their musical year in review, they also provide engaging visuals. Every year, Spotify Wrapped stands out for its vibrant colors and contemporary graphic style. 

In 2023, Spotify was the most-used streaming platform, with 574 million users, 226 million of whom were premium subscribers. 

With those numbers, the true scale and impact of Spotify are evident. By having a unique branding and an amazing marketing team, Spotify crushes its competitors in the music streaming industry. Music is something that brings people together, and it is very interesting to see how this company is shaping the contemporary music-listening experience.

With that being said, let’s see what HHS is listening to. Sophomore McKenna Kiewatt kicked off her year with Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, Olivia Rodrigo, SZA, and Zach Bryan. 

“I listen to Spotify all the time, mostly Taylor Swift though,” she laughed. 

Another Sophomore, Morgan Mcstay, shared her wrapped starring David Kushner, Zach Bryan, SZA, Noah Kahan, and J. Cole. “I really only listen to Spotify in the car but I couldn’t live without it,” she added.                  

Sophomore Fiona Dudley shared her Spotify Wrapped with her favorite artists: Lana Del Rey, TV Girl, Cigarettes After Sex, the Neighbourhood, and The Weeknd. “

“Spotify told me that I hit my 50,000-minute milestone this year, so I think that says a lot,” she left me with.

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About the Contributor
Phoebe Krenn
Phoebe Krenn, Reporter
Phoebe Krenn is a sophomore at Hudson High School. This is her first year writing for The Explorer, and she is very excited to start. Phoebe’s extracurriculars include fashion club, lacrosse and cross country. Phoebe is very passionate about music, sports and food. Some of her favorite music artists are Mac Miller, Gracie Abrams and Lana Del Rey. She is usually seen hanging out with her friends in downtown Hudson or grabbing food somewhere. Phoebe is thrilled to share her passions and ideas to The Explorer this year!
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