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Editorials, The Grid

Does Spotify Wrapped Inflate your Favourite Musician’s Ego?

Depending on where an artist is in their career, Spotify Wrapped could be a blessing, or some sort of curse for them. 

  • Chinonso Ugwuanya
  • 3rd January 2023
DOES SPOTIFY WRAPPED INFLATE YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICIAN’S EGO?

In 2016, Spotify launched Spotify Wrapped, a marketing campaign that has grown to become viral. Released every year in early December, it generates conversations on social media, creating a buzz around the brand, and stroking the egos of artists across the world.

 

Spotify Wrapped, which began as a simple feature in 2016 has proven to be a hit for the company, giving users a personalised run-down of their listening habits. For example, in December 2019, more than 1,200,000 posts on Twitter were about Spotify. And each year, there has been a relationship between the release of the campaign in early December and a boost to Spotify’s ranking on the app stores.

 

How Does Spotify Wrapped Work?

 

Each year, early in December, the Spotify app allows users to view a compilation of data representing their listening habits for the year. This data shows how many minutes they spent listening to music using Spotify, their Top 5 most-played genres, and their most-played artists, and their most-played song. Hundreds of millions of people use Spotify each month, and tens of millions of users use Spotify Wrapped. When Spotify compiles their listening habits, it is presented in the form of eye-catching infographics in the app. This is very easily shareable, and many do not hold back from sharing.

 

For some, it serves as a way to track their habits. For others, it is a form of self-expression. And while the campaign rests heavily on the shoulders of the users and pays a lot of benefits to Spotify, at least, in terms of new subscribers, there is a side to this campaign that probably not so many people have given attention to: how the campaign benefits artists.

 

Does this Inflate Your Fave’s Ego?

 

It is a bit tricky. Depending on where an artist is in their career, Spotify Wrapped could be a blessing, or some sort of curse for them. It is worthy of note that Spotify gives creators their own compilation featuring the numbers of their streams and the locations from which the streams came, inviting them to share. Will all creators share?

 

Certainly not – and for varying reasons. Some would not share; not for any reason in particular. But I am interested in those who would not share because of how Spotify Wrapped could breed competition among creators and their fans. Those who may be most affected by this reason are most likely to be those who are at the beginning of their careers, or those nearing the end of it. And a third group would be those who never really attained stardom, let alone superstardom despite how many years they’ve spent creating music. At least, the level they are at is not commensurate with the time they’ve put in. That being the case, posting their compilation from Spotify could make it obvious that they haven’t really hit a chord or may never really make it big.

 

 

For these categories of artists, Spotify Wrapped may well be deflating their egos. They’ll pretend like the feature does not exist, and would not share their compilations or thank fans for streaming. And some may even be actually depressed when they see the reality of their music careers – at least in comparison with others. On the other end of the spectrum are the bigger artists. Not only the bigger, more popular artists are on this side. Upcoming artists who hold a lot of promise and are proud of their numbers and satisfied with them also fall into this category. The big-name artists like Taylor Swift are mentioned tens of thousands of times when music lovers and fans from across the world post their Wrapped on social media. 

 

Some artists also notice a substantial rise in streams during the Wrapped season. Here’s how it works: users see their most-listened-to songs and are reminded that they actually enjoyed this song through the year. They go back and play the songs over and over again. Prior to Wrapped, ‘Edamame’ by Canadian rapper bbno$ was doing about 270 streams a day. However, just a day after Wrapped launched this year, it did 400. 

 

For some artists who are in rivalry with others, they would have bragging rights posting their numbers. Others are simply grateful and awed for what they’ve been able to achieve. What about your faves? Does Spotify Wrapped inflate their egos, or does it do the exact opposite? It could go either way.

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