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How the Pandemic Made Me Stop Hating Spotify Wrapped

Every year in December, Spotify releases "Spotify Wrapped," a personalized analysis of each user’s top artists, songs, and genres from the year of streaming. Following this release, Spotify Wrapped always floods social media platforms. Honestly, in the past, I found this super annoying. I got tired of clicking past the same image on every Instagram story, and I felt like I didn’t need to see the stats to know that half my followers are obsessed with Taylor Swift (not a bad thing!). But because 2020 has literally changed everything about my life, my perspective on this year’s Spotify Wrapped was completely different.

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Maybe it is because the pandemic has got us all trapped inside. Maybe it’s because I talk to the same three people every day. Maybe I am just absolutely tired of my old playlists, but I LOVED seeing everyone post their Spotify Wrapped this year. I read every single one. I looked up some of the songs and listened to them. I even added some of them to my playlists. Music taste is personal as hell, especially during times of crisis when everyone listens to their guilty pleasure playlists. Even if you think your Spotify Wrapped was lowkey embarrassing, there is no judgment here. Personally, I listened to songs from Hamilton for the entire month of July, and I listened to Christmas music until February. In the end, I’m just happy to discover more cool jams and genres I never knew existed (like Neo-mellow?). Also, the excitement I feel when someone I follow has the same top artists as I do is unmatched. The fact that so many people are willing to share their music tastes with others is something I see as very wholesome.

Seeing people sharing music on all social media made me realize that I don’t even know some of the favorite songs of some of the closest people in my life. I immediately reached out to my best friend and we started swapping playlists. I’ve always thought of music as an important part of my life, but I had never really used it as a way to connect with others. 

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So many people have lost so much this year, and people have had to be creative in the ways they stayed in touch with family and friends. Virtual communities have also helped many people. Social media can be extremely toxic, but it can also be a place of new connections, support, and positivity. Platforms like TikTok exploded when the pandemic started, and niche communities formed among people from around the world. Things like watching Tabitha Brown make vegan recipes on Reels (and I’m not even vegan), or watching videos of small businesses make polymer earrings help remind us that not everything in the world is terrible. Despite all the wild things that happened in 2020, I’ve found a new sense of gratitude for small connections made online, even if it is as small as sharing your top music on Spotify. 

Spotify Wrapped may just be a marketing scheme for Spotify. It may not be very accurate, and it may make Apple Music users feel bad. But overall, I have a newfound love for the yearly flood of song and artist recommendations it creates. I look forward to Spotify Wrapped in 2021 (and hopefully a less stressful year).

Hadlie is a third year at UCD who is majoring in Community and Regional Development. She loves being outside and eating ice cream. In the future she hopes to pursue a career that combines community development with research.
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