Spotify Wrapped review: the annual user stat reveal overplays its hand
December 6, 2021
Of all the holidays included on the Winter slate, only the festivities of December 1st so assertively grasp the full attention of the internet. The release of Spotify Wrapped this year saw an immediate flood of Tweets, Instagram posts, and Snapchat stories revealing users’ most oft-listened songs, artists, and genres. And while the annual data release may be a masterclass in entertaining marketing, this year’s Spotify Wrapped drowned itself in complexity, with unnecessary additions leaving the interactive experience feeling overly-complicated and reading as Gen Z pandering.
Perhaps no feature of Spotify Wrapped so perfectly exemplifies this excessive intricacy than the slide displaying the user’s top genres. Typically a straight-forward bar graph clearly depicting the user’s most heavily frequented genres of the year, this edition of Spotify Wrapped lost itself in complexity, opting to present the top genres using a narrow, difficult-to-read font, leading to immediate mockery on Twitter.
Also relentlessly mocked on Twitter was Spotify’s usage of slang through Wrapped, mixing the presentation of user statistics with a half-hearted word soup of TikTok buzzwords that fell flat on its face. Featuring references to NFTs and phrases like “You always understood the assignment” and “You deserve a playlist as long as your skincare routine,” the language used feels like Spotify programmed an AI to read 1,000 BuzzFeed articles and then spit out the most out-of-touch, millennial-esque, “How do you do, fellow kids?” script possible.
At the core of Spotify Wrapped is a simple idea: people like to reflect on the music they’ve listened to this year, and compare their listening habits to those around them. What Spotify has on their hands is gold. All they need to do is, once a year, plainly reveal to their users what music they listened to, how much of said music they listened to, and how those habits stack up against other users. The addition of slides detailing things like what track would serve as “the song playing as you face-off against your rival dance crew” in a hypothetical movie about your life or revealing your “audio aura” (whatever that means) leave the experience feeling bloated. Spotify Wrapped overplayed their hand this year, badly.