As someone whose life revolves around music, there are very few days of the year that excite me more than Spotify Wrapped day. This is a day that music fans across the world can come together and take a genuine interest in what each other have been listening to all year (if they’ve picked the correct streaming platform, that is). Sure, the entire rest of the year I will happily participate in dunking on Drake fans. However, for one glorious day a year, I am simply excited to see what my friends actually listen to when they’re not at a party or stressing over what songs to play on aux.
As great of a day as it is, it is not without its flaws. For at least the past three years, my number one song has been one that I accidentally fell asleep while listening to. This usually isn’t really an issue, especially if it’s a song I actually like and listen to throughout the rest of the year. However, this year, it was a cover of a song from the Game of Thrones soundtrack that I only listened to exactly one day out of the entire year but happened to accidentally fall asleep that day with it on repeat.
I have had many other friends express similar disappointment when they see their top songs and artists of the year as well. I understand that Spotify simply reports the raw data from what one listened to, and this makes sense from its perspective. It is very difficult to interpret data across millions of users, and this makes raw data with no interpretation the easiest solution.
That being said, does Spotify really think that anyone wants to see “White Noise” or “LoFi HipHop Beats to Study and Relax To” as their top artist or podcast? Or a song that they technically streamed the most while they slept, but in reality, didn’t actually listen to more than once or twice over the whole year?
I am not suggesting that Spotify bias its results heavily or allow users to curate their own results. This would take away from the magic of getting to see what our friends actually listen to. That said, most data sets have outliers, and our listening data is no exception. Figuring out how to eliminate these outliers would be a great way to more accurately reflect actual listening throughout the year and reduce disappointment on a day that so many look forward to.
Regardless of my complaints, there is little that can actually hinder my ability to enjoy Wrapped day. Music is something that holds the genuine power to bring us together, and as much as I dislike praising massive corporations, Spotify Wrapped seems to actually do that. Minus the few weirdos who insist on the yearly tradition of saying that they don’t care about your Wrapped, everyone who posts their own seems to also really enjoy seeing other people’s and comparing artists and songs with friends.
Sure, there’s some shame that comes along with posting your artists and songs that you listened to after going through a bad breakup. And sure, sometimes we spend a bit too much time listening to music that doesn’t reflect the best of our taste (looking at you, AJR fans). However, our listening history also provides us with the chance to look at how we’ve grown. While we might have listened to an awful lot of Marvin’s Room back in January, we also might have scream-sang Love Story (Taylor’s Version) in October enough to get multiple noise complaints from our RA.
Every year comes with highs and lows, and Spotify Wrapped gives us the time to reflect on them through the music that got us through the valleys and gave us a chance to rejoice at the peaks.