OXFORD MEDIA SOCIETY
It’s that time of year again. Less than a week until Spotify call time on the music you’ve been streaming for the past twelve months and send the data away to be neatly packaged and revealed closer to the holiday season. What is guaranteed to follow is a flurry of Instagram stories and X posts sharing one’s own personal tastes to the world. All the more likely are the bombardment of TikToks and news articles breaking down what it means to be in the top 0.01% of Arctic Monkeys listeners, or what having Sam Fender in your top 5 artists says about you. Just how has it come to be that a simple concept on a simple music streaming app is such a cultural landmark and wipes almost all else off our social media feeds for the day?
The answer is that it is no accident. For Spotify, Wrapped is firstly a marketing opportunity. A chance to get their name and logo on as many screens and talk shows as possible. It is also a key separator from their competitors in a market where there is little room for individuality. Much is made of how Apple Music’s Replay does not hold up against Spotify Wrapped’s dominance.
Spotify plays on human behaviour, our desire to portray ourselves to look the best in group. Of course, we all think our own music taste is particularly unique and deserving of praise; so we share. Again, the name, Wrapped, has become one linked instantly in our minds with Spotify. It’s no coincidence that the reveal occurs in the midst of Christmas shopping sprees, this has all been engineered at Spotify HQ to maximise brand awareness. Brand loyalty receives a positive impact too, the personalised marketing has been showed to improve customer retention.
It comes down to a media company utilising human psychology to their own benefit, even if we still get something out of it and, honestly, there would be few that would try and claim that Spotify Wrapped is anything other that a positive thing. The artists roped into posting graphics on their socials, with the hopes of puppeteering their millions of fans to do the same, may be exploiting the herd mentality online, but the herd is a happy one. Either way, I’ll be posting my top five and you probably will too. Even if that means spending the rest of this week cleaning up the artists and songs I listen to.
Paul Furey, Events Team