That’s a Wrap | Liam Rosenberg
It’s time to start ringing in the sleigh bells and decking the halls: Spotify Wrapped is here. The annual viral marketing campaign presents users with personalized statistics on what music they’ve listened to during the past year. You’ll probably see Spotify Wrapped compilations across your social media feeds. Wrapped provides a variety of interactive media through which one can view their results. These include short videos, a mood ring-like feature called “Audio Aura,” and even Two Truths and a Lie, all of which are tailored to each user.
Users are also displayed their “Top Artist,” or the artist they’ve streamed the most. They’ll receive a percentage bracketing them among other fans of that artist, based on how many times they’ve streamed their music — for example, one might discover they are in the 1% of all Kanye West fans. This year, Spotify has rolled out live Q&A sessions integrated with Wrapped’s Top Artist feature, to which the upper echelon of an artist’s fans receive an exclusive invite via Spotify’s Greenroom app. Just a handful of artists hosting a Q&A include bbno$, Jessia, and Johnny Orlando. It’s an interesting expansion to a feature that has been celebrated by music fans.
Wrapped issues valuable information on what people listened to in 2021. This year’s most-streamed artist is none other than Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, who first charted in the mainland U.S. with 2018’s “I Like It” alongside Cardi B and J Balvin. It’s the second straight year in a row Bad Bunny took home the award, and shows Latin pop’s continuing dominance. In second place comes Olivia Rodrigo, whose debut “Drivers License” won multiple AMAs and VMAs.
It’s no surprise, then, that the most-streamed song of 2021 is Rodrigo’s “Drivers License,” defying early expectations with 1.1 billion streams. The indie pop ballad was described by Rolling Stone as reminiscent of Lorde’s sophomore album “Melodrama.” Rodrigo’s cultural impact can be seen in music spheres around the world.
It seems, though, that this year’s Spotify Wrapped is an attempt to stay on-trend with new competitors. Wrapped has always been an opportunity for free advertising, but this time has been absolutely critical to keep the platform ahead. 2021 was marked by the serious introduction of contenders such as Clubhouse and Cameo, and the continued dominance of TikTok. While Facebook and Snapchat have desperately tried to revolutionize their platforms, the “social secret formula” perfected by TikTok has been coveted by-and-large. Spotify now has to prove itself as a paid service in the midst of even more free alternatives.