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The Caldron

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Spotify Wrapped: A Look at Lives Told in Music

As of May 2018, Spotify has 75 million paying subscribers. With millions subscribed to this music streaming platform, Spotify has been able to acquire mass amounts of data on people’s music listening habits. With this, the music service released statistics geared to you personally. Spotify has been doing this since 2015, but each year as the streaming service grows and expands, the year end information grows with it in extravagance. “2018 wrapped” as it is called, gives you a closer look into your own music habits as well as the habits of the world.

When opening Spotify’s “2018 wrapped” it first shows you the first song you listened to in 2018 and the first artist you discovered. It then prompts you to guess how many minutes you listened to Spotify this year. My own number both brought me pride and a deep feeling of unrest. I listened to 19,945 minutes of worth of songs this year. That is 332 hours or 13 straight days of pure music. The graphic then generates your top artist of


that year and for how long you listened to that artist. I listened to my top artist for 32 hours this year, or 10% of my time on Spotify. It then shows you your top songs, which odds are, will coincide with your top artist. It also featured information on what people with the same astrological sign as you most often listen to, which is not exactly information that I needed, but is appreciated nonetheless.

In addition to all of this information, Spotify also created two playlists. One is of your most listened songs of the year, and the other is of songs and genres that you don’t listen to. I have found listening to my most popular songs to be interesting, and awkward, but definitely enjoyable. High school is a weird point in a teenager’s life with a lot of social and emotional changes all at once, and listening to my “top songs of 2018” made me have a better understanding of that. These songs are not all songs I listen to anymore, or even like anymore, but they were all able to bring me back to wherever I was in these turbulent times, hoping I was able to make sense of it all with music. The other playlist, called “taste breakers” is peculiar. I understand why Spotify believed this was a good idea. It’s interesting to be given songs that you wouldn’t normally listen to. However, my playlist just feels like a bizarre list of songs that sound like I should like them, but is a warped version of my own taste. When listening to this playlist, it feels as though I am looking through a funhouse mirror into a world that could be mine, but is too mangled to actually hold true.

After looking at my “2018 wrapped ” I felt compelled to take a look at my 2017 and 2016 data once more. In 2017, Spotify released the same set of playlists. At the beginning of 2017, I was a freshman in high school. “Divide” by Ed Sheeran had just come out. That year I would be discovering new artists, working on silly school projects, and most of all


dancing around with my friends. Although I have no desire to be a freshman in high school again, the playlist brought me back to an exciting time in my life. From here, I felt I could not stop, I delved deeper, back into 2016. At the beginning of 2016, I was in eighth grade. In 2016, Spotify only released a playlist of your top songs. As with my 2017 songs, 2016 brought me back to the halls of Grover Cleveland Middle School. Middle school being notoriously awkward and painful place, this is not something that I wanted, but it was certainly something that I needed. I don’t listen to the same songs, in fact, I would outright deny that I listened to some of the songs on this playlist, but nevertheless they are there.

Anyone who has a Spotify account, I urge you to take a look at your “2018 wrapped”. While the information seems superficial and trivial, I am here to say that it is not. Music is one of our greatest gifts because it feels our sorrow and our joy with us. It changes with you and always will, so long as you keep listening. Taking a moment to look back on your year in music may just be the best way of reflecting on it all.

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