By Estella Hoye
When I mention the last week of November or the first week of December, what comes to mind? For some, it might be decorating the Christmas tree, for others maybe it’s finals and the semester coming to an end, but for millions of people, this two-week span has taken on the excitement of a holiday. As of 2015, some time between the end of November and the beginning of December marks the yearly release of Spotify Wrapped. Spotify Wrapped is an iconic series of interactive, music playing slides shown in the app revealing to users their top songs, artists, genres, and more. It is a way for us to see a summary of all the music we've listened to over the course of the year. For some, it can be shocking. For others, their Wrapped makes perfect sense. My personal Spotify Wrapped for 2023 was more of the latter, with Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers as my top artists, and “Not Strong Enough” by boygenius as my top song. Those three stats perfectly represent my year, which was full of emotion, change, and growth.
This time of year is about celebration and reflection. If you’re like me, celebrating and creating your own “Eras Tour” in your dorm room by listening to songs you haven’t played for months along with those you have on repeat every day. Reflecting on experiences and emotions that now feel like so long ago but which truly were less than a year ago. Meanwhile, we are also celebrating the year as a whole coming to an end. The Fall semester is over and schoolwork is coming to a slow stop, as college students get the next few weeks to relax and mentally prepare for the year ahead and all it may have to offer. We can reflect on our favorite songs whilst listening to holiday music, anticipating what the next Wrapped might reveal about our experiences and how we’ll grow over the next year. Spotify Wrapped shows us how we change over the course of a year through something so beautiful and expressive: music.
Spotify also creates a beautiful sense of community through its Wrapped features. Users get to share their music taste on social media through the cute, downloadable graphics showing all the different, unique statistics they put. They also sort music listeners into different
categories, like in 2022 when they showed what auras people have based on their music taste. Scrolling through Instagram stories, my TikTok For You page, and X (the app formerly known as Twitter), I saw hundreds of people’s Wrappeds. I personally got more “likes” on my Spotify Wrapped story post than on any other story I have posted in a while on the Instagram app. When people see that those around them aren’t actually so different, and do in fact enjoy the same things, they feel more comfortable and connected. Seeing how many of my peers listen to such similar music to me reminds me that I am not so different than I may think I am. It reminds me that the people around me are just like me, going through the same changes, emotions, and stressful situations. I am reminded constantly, through music, that we are all just human, and despite what we do and who we are, we can all find new people to connect with or rekindle old bonds through a shared love of music.
We all know a song that someone else knows, and that person's favorite song may happen to be your dad’s favorite song, which could also be the song your best friend plans to play at their wedding. This constellation of connections keeps building from there. None of us are that different from one another, we can all find a friend in those who share a similar music taste, and Spotify Wrapped reminds us of that every year.