Swedish music streaming platform Spotify has flourished over the passing years in its success. The company’s global fame is evident from artists all over the world coming together to share their accomplishments through the number of streams they’d achieved that year, and also unveiling some of their own favourite artists. This feature was widely available to the public as Spotify was celebrating the ‘end of the decade’, with features such as ‘The songs you loved most this year (example 2016)’, ‘on repeat’ and ‘repeat rewind’. This is a personal topic to me as Music is the future industry I want to go into. I realise this isn’t exactly ‘narrowed down’ but my future goal is to end up in the festival/music events environment where music is held at the centre of everything. Spotify has a huge involvement with festivals and helps music promotion companies such as Superfly to create their ideal line-up tailored to the “vibe of the event”. There is also the evident rivalry with Apple’s streaming platform ‘Apple Music’ which I investigate using my Instagram followers as my focus group, and also ask what the general public actually thought about the “2019 Wrapped” campaign.
To analyse the initial competition of whether people prefer Spotify or Apple Music, I put out an Instagram story in which I informed people that I was conducting some research for my current university project. I simply required people to answer either yes or no in some poll questions that I created. No names would be mentioned in the findings for this, I just needed an overall number of people of people to show whether one was more popular than the other. Only people who wanted to participate answered the questions, which is why Instagram is a good platform to use as they had the option to simply slide off the story.
Another positive within this smaller scale investigation is that my followers all have a widely varied taste in music, meaning that because both platforms (Apple and Spotify) offer such a wide selection the results would be fair. My first question was ‘What would you rather use out of Spotify or Apple music’. Obviously, most people in the world have iPhones which are automatically installed with Apple Music. However, the results interestingly displayed that 118 people preferred to use Spotify, over the 27 that preferred Apple Music. From the rest of my questions I was able to conclude that more people looked into their Spotify wrapped selections that Spotify automatically generate (82% vs 18% who didn’t look into it). 90% of participants said they enjoyed the visual design, layout and general insight into how many minutes/hours they had spent listening to music vs 10% who said they didn’t like it. And finally, 88% of people said they discovered songs that they’d forgotten existed, and this made them happy. Overall, this was the response I predicted and was well received by my followers.
Instagram seemed like the most appropriate platform to conduct this research on as it was the platform most commonly used for sharing the Spotify campaign. I would say 80% of people I follow shared the music they’d been listening to over 2019 and also the decade on their Instagram stories. I obviously needed evidence of this so put out my own Instagram story asking for people to send me their posts, two of which are shown below.
Celebrities were also keen to jump on the bandwagon but received their stats from a different perspective. They were ranked on whether they were in the list of ‘most listened to artists’, the top performers for 2019 being Drake, Ariana Grande, Lewis Capaldi and Billie Eilish. Users were so invested in learning about their music listening habits that the website crashed, sending Spotify into a Global online crisis. Users were shown the following message after the site overloaded with people using the Spotify Wrapped feature. This was not addressed on any social platform, then was put down to simple a very large volume of people trying to access the site. Shares on Instagram would have encouraged visibility of this campaign.
Website HITC compared the feature to television streaming platform Netflix saying “imagine if Netflix allowed you to see how many hours you spent binge-watching endless films and series’”. But of course, behind every genius idea is a genius team themselves. An interview with Spotify’s own VP of engineering Tyson Singer, demonstrated the sheer complexity and amount of data that is required to be processed for a programme like this to run smoothly. The Wrapped programme for 2019 processed 5 times the amount of information that was used for the 2018 wrapped. Celebrating the end of the decade meant Spotify had to seriously up their game and delve into 10 years of listening habits. This Campaign also achieved the most dataflow jobs ever used for a single campaign, and the amount of time clocked in by employee working for this campaign amounted to 844 years.
Furthermore, an article from Medium expresses the more visual and graphic design appeal that the campaign elicits. The idea that there is ‘Colour Psychology’ behind this Campaign that you wouldn’t normally notice, is an intelligent move by the brand. The palette of bright neon hues in green and pink makes it eye-catching and hard to ignore if seen on a social platform. The User Interface design is beautifully done and features just the right amount of movement of icons and images, to the point that it isn’t overwhelming for the user.
In general, this also encourages people who don’t use Spotify to download the app, as streaming service ‘Apple Music’ did not offer exposure to this scale of streaming information, which was then further encouraged to share on Instagram via the ‘share on your story’ feature. To round off the Campaign, Spotify also created a podcast featuring two stories of artists that ‘defined the decade’. From this I felt inspired to create my own podcast which will feature alongside this blog post. I look forward to the 2021 Spotify Wrapped and what that has in store.
(images taken from https://medium.com/throughdesign/spotify-2019-wrapped-a-design-masterstroke-1d06b27b0aec , https://www.spotify.com/us/ and my own personal photos, NO COPYRIGHT INTENDED, FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY)