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February 24, 2024

Spotify Wrapped 2023 excites the music streaming community with new features

By JULIA ALUMBRO | January 21, 2024

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DANIEL FOSTER / CC BY-NC 2.0

New features released by Spotify this year include Sound Town, Peak Listening Month and Me in 2023.

As we start another year, it's also decidedly the time to reflect on the past year's worth of music releases and trending streaming habits. Initially marketed as a Year in Review in 2013, Spotify Wrapped has engaged its users with a unique presentation of their listening habits over the past year. It captures personal statistics that show your most streamed songs, artists and podcasts. This feature helped propel the application to its current status as one of the most used music streaming platforms in the world. 

While other apps have followed suit with an end-of-year listening recap, Spotify Wrapped is a phenomenon that remains highly acclaimed among the general public. So, what makes Wrapped so unique, and what new features were included in Spotify Wrapped 2023?

Since its name rebranding in 2016, each annual iteration of Spotify Wrapped has introduced new features on top of its baseline statistics. At the end of the Wrapped preview, users can download an image summary that lists their top five most streamed songs, their top five most listened to artists (by minutes), their top genre and their total number of minutes spent streaming music. 

These numbers are revealed in the form of a social media story where each slide plays a different song from the user's top 100 songs. In addition to these personalized slides, Spotify chooses a different color scheme and design template for each annual release. The vibrant transitions accompanied by a familiar song make for a cohesive and memorable experience. 

One of the newer features that piqued the most interest on social media is called Sound Town, which matches users with a place on the map that shares similar listening habits and top artists. This feature has sparked many discussions about the meaning of its results as evidenced by the Burlington, Vt. Mystery. To the surprise of many users, Burlington, Vt. was a popular Sound Town even though it has a small general population. Additionally, the validity of Sound Town's results was questioned because of how many different artists were associated with one place. It's been noted that several Sound Town locations have major college populations, which suggests that Spotify has a wider demographic of young people.

Another engaging feature new to this year's Wrapped allowed users to know their Peak Listening Month for each artist in their top five. This feature may have indicated the month an artist released a new album or the month they went on tour. Whether a user has been a long-time fan or a new listener, there's certainly a hint of nostalgia that comes with knowing their peak listening months.

In an interview with The News-Letter, junior Mariana Julian shares why this was her favorite feature from Spotify Wrapped 2023.

"I like how they gave you peak listening months for your top artist. It's consistent with release dates and tours,“ Julian said. “I listened to Inhaler the most in March when their album came out, which is cool."

Sophomore Shoshana Stephens expressed a similar sentiment when she discussed her Wrapped in an interview with The News-Letter.

"I like seeing how many minutes I've spent listening to Spotify. Actually, my favorite feature told me which months I listened to my artists the most [...] I had played Noah Kahan the most in June leading up to when I saw him in concert. Same with Taylor Swift," Stephens said. 

Lastly, Spotify added a feature called Me in 2023 to describe people's streaming habits. There are twelve listening habits that Spotify used to categorize this. Each of the twelve is given a unique name along with a mini description of the habit it describes. For example, the Time Traveler card says "Have we met before? You travel back in time and listen to songs on repeat, again and again. The best tracks never get old." This feature is enjoyable because it allows users to see the different ways people listen to music. It's especially creative because of how it adopts the approach of a modern personality test.

There are many ways that Spotify Wrapped has connected its users with new music and artists. It plays a monumental role in the music streaming community for changing how we talk about music, and it amazes users with groundbreaking analytics for their streaming habits. 

Later in her interview, Julian talked about the impact Spotify Wrapped has had on the world. 

"I think it's motivated a lot of people to listen to new artists, so their wraps look different. It pushes people to listen to artists they usually don't, which is exciting. Friendships are being made through social media just by sharing wraps," she says. 

Spotify has again accomplished a memorable feat in bringing its users closer to music and new artists. While one year of listening comes to a close, there's excitement in wondering what the next year will bring for music lovers and their Spotify Wrapped.


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