Spotify has created its own holiday. Have you noticed? Its annual publication of listeners’ “Year Wrapped” at the end of November / beginning of December feels momentous. My family looks forward to it for weeks ahead of time. And when the day comes, we join the millions of other people to celebrate. Which is ironic because we pay money to use their streaming music service and help to market their product to the rest of the world. I can feel cynical at times, obviously, but I also feel some of the joy that comes with this holiday. Music is fun. Learning about individual personalities, patterns, and preferences is fun. And sharing broader cultural experiences is fun, too. I’ve even noticed that other streaming services have started releasing their own versions of year-end analysis for listeners, just to get in on the Spotify Year Wrapped party.
Since the last time I shared the results of my Spotify Year Wrapped, in 2020, I’ve noticed that I’ve become even more entrenched in the world of Spotify. My minutes of use have climbed every year, yet I don’t even think of the fact that I’m spending money every month for our family to use this service. It’s almost like a basic utility. In some ways, this might be exceptional (Spotify suggests that I listen more than 66 percent of other users). At the same time, I used it even less than everyone else in our family — in some cases, just one-fifth of others’ usage!
As in previous years, the listing of artists seems to indicate a preference towards which albums I listened to in their entirety. But in this case, it actually seems to pretty closely approximate true listening patterns. The only exception is probably Taylor Swift coming in as my Number Three Artist for 2022. In addition to giving her newest album a few listens, I happened to drive to Tennessee with a bunch of “Swifties” back in March. And that probably skewed the numbers a bit. But I’m not mad. In fact, I wear that Taylor Swift ranking as a badge of honor.
The clearest outcome of my Spotify Year Wrapped was my devotion to Rex Orange County and his newest album, “Who Cares?” He played the Spotify game brilliantly. In January, he released his first single from the new album (and it was a banger!). He released another great song in February. And then he dropped the whole album in March, with nine full months of listening opportunity to follow. I even went to one of his concerts in May.
Since then, unfortunately, Rex Orange County seems to have gotten himself in some trouble. I guess he’s still “innocent until proven guilty.” Still, that definitely dampens my devotion. But it’s hard to look at the results of my Spotify Year Wrapped and not notice his prominent position. So anyway: I think this holiday provides some insights into my personality and preferences. But it’s not very deep. Just an occasion to observe with friends and family.