It’s December, a time for festive cheer and celebration. But for many avid music listeners around the world, December brings another annual cultural moment: Spotify Wrapped.
Perhaps one of the most prominent examples of great customer experience in the cultural zeitgeist is Spotify Wrapped, the streaming service’s annual event that is heralded as a tradition across millions of its users around the world.
Occurring at the tail-end of the year, Spotify Wrapped uses the customer data collected by the company throughout the year to provide an in-depth look into the music that took the world by storm.
From displaying the globally most-streamed articles to displaying the effect of the pop culture trends on music, such as the explosion in popularity for Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” following its vital appearance on Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’, it’s a quirky and engaging way to display the vast swathes of data that Spotify gathers through the year.
This depiction of customer data is undoubtedly interesting to view, especially in the fun and whimsical manner in which Spotify presents it, but this aspect of Spotify Wrapped is effectively a smart and witty marketing campaign, and not the reason why its users wait with bated breath for its annual release.
Since Spotify’s inception, the brand has evolved to ingrain a deeply personalised for its users into every touchpoint and every interaction. Spotify Wrapped is the complete embodiment of the personalised offerings that Spotify have built their product upon, as it neatly packages its users’ data back to them with an offering of personalised insights into their listening habits and behaviour throughout the year.
Through a colourful series of visualisers and sleek graphics, Spotify regales its users with a recount of their year in music. As the presentation provides them with their top artists, songs, and genres. Alongside this it also provides more outlandish and whimsical insights: the 2022 edition deduces the user’s Listening Personality type, and the ‘Audio Day’ uses the ‘niche moods and aesthetic descriptors’ prescribed to songs on Spotify to discern how the user’s taste evolves throughout the day.
The platform makes use of machine learning and artificial intelligence year-round to inform and power their recommendation algorithms that offer personalised playlists and suggestions. The concepts of ‘exploit’ and ‘explore’ are fundamental to Spotify’s personalisation and recommendations. Through ‘exploiting’, Spotify takes every activity produced by its users – listening history, created playlists, even location and time of day.
Spotify then takes this data and ‘explores’ the world beyond the user: playlists, artists, albums relevant to the listener’s taste and the popularity of artists in that area that you’ve yet to explore. With such robust artificial intelligence, and a massive pool of data to learn from at the end of the year, Wrapped becomes the complete dissemination of every piece and style of music that the listener truly connects with and loves.
The experience that Spotify creates through Wrapped is visually engaging and interesting on a personal level to its users. It places the personalities and individuality as centric to the overall experience, attempting to prove that brand listens to the user as much as the user listens on its service.
What pushes Wrapped’s experience to the next level is the community and culture that cultivates around it every year. Every slide in Wrapped includes a share button that makes reposting to numerous social media platforms seamless and quick, factoring into the inherent desire for avid listeners to broadcast their taste out into the world, as well as contrasting and comparing their taste with others’.
Social media quickly becomes inundated with these graphics, and thus it effectively turns millions into brand advocates. The infectious and emotionally charged nature of sharing the music held closest to the user throughout the year offers spaces for connections, discussions, and some bantering if your top artist is someone entirely unexpected!
What’s interesting is the ways in which Spotify compiles and deciphers this data to display it to the user that is effective and invites an inherently shareable nature. An interesting example of this is their methodology to help the user uncover their ‘Music Personality’.
From ‘The Top Charter’ to ‘The Adventurer’, Spotify offers the user 16 potential listening personalities aggregated via four different metrics: Familiarity vs Exploration, Loyalty vs Variety, Timelessness vs Newness, and Commonality vs Uniqueness.
Whether a person listens to the same artists repeatedly versus if they’re constantly on the hunt for new music, or if they stick to one genre versus hopping through countless in their listening day, all aspects of their listening journey are considered.
These individual characteristics and level of detail discerned from these four metrics prove how in-depth the mechanics of Wrapped are, and how much goes into building each aspect of the presentation. The Listening Personalities are a great example, as a fun mixture of incorporating user data as well as human personality types that strengthens the listener’s relationship with the content they consume on the Spotify platform.
The platform to share your music taste in such a sleek and simple manner is directly provided by Spotify, and this yearly celebration of music and taste has effectively become a cultural event across social media platforms synonymous with the brand. December is a month of retrospectives: a time to review the events of the past year as it ends, and Spotify Wrapped’s launch date invites the perfect time for the brand to help with musically memorialising the year. It’s likely that Spotify Wrapped often comes to mind for many when thinking of December, and that is insanely impressive considering everything else that occurs at the end of the year!
The value of Spotify Wrapped’s customer experience is multifaceted. It’s a culmination of the personalisation ethos that are so close to Spotify’s brand. Each user’s Wrapped is individual and unique to them alone, illuminating and celebrating their centricity within the service.
The value of Wrapped is also in the experience it provides externally from the product, across social media and within discussions between its users. It builds an experience that stretches far beyond the boundaries of the service itself. It elicits emotion, invites discussion, and displays the individuality of every user directly to them. It’s a true intersection of high-quality marketing and a top-drawer customer experience.
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