It's Spotify Wrapped Season: Breaking Down My Spotify Wrapped (+ my Apple Music 2021 Replay)

 It's everyone's favorite time of the year for one reason or another. For those of us who find the holiday season generally underwhelming, Spotify created a day for all the music lovers out there to have a reason to love December too. Spotify Wrapped is potentially the most affirming or embarrassing day of the year, and people live in both excitement and fear of the big reveal. I personally don't put a ton of stock into it because most of the Spotify data tracking through the year doesn't seem particularly accurate to what I think I'm listening to. Additionally, the tracking period ended the last day of October, so there's a chunk of the year that's unaccounted for. And if you're like me and use multiple streaming services plus physical music, it can feel like Wrapped is missing some key puzzle pieces. Still, I think this tradition is tons of fun, and I wanted to dig into what Spotify presented me this year to see how much I feel like this adds up. At the end, I'll also quickly go through my Apple Music Replay to see how similar the two are. 

listening time

This is where splitting my listening across two platforms probably made the biggest impact. I only got credit for listening to 12,829 minutes of music, which is only more than 63% of listeners. In reality, I listen to far more music than that between Apple Music, YouTube, and CDs/vinyl. Every year, Spotify Wrapped makes me wish that we had some way to total all of the listening hours, even on analog, because that would be fascinating to find out. I saw one of my friends had managed to listen to more music than 100% of people, which feels nearly impossible. Also, seeing everyone's high percentage here reminded me just how much I've surrounded myself with music lovers. 


top songs

If you've followed my blog or YouTube channel, it will probably be no surprise that all 5 of my top songs this year were by Conan Gray. While I haven't actually listened to more than a handful of Conan's songs in the last 3 months or so, this is a pretty accurate reflection of my 2020/early 2021 musical obsession. To be precise, my top 5 starting from number 1 are "The Story," "Wish You Were Sober," "People Watching," "Astronomy," and "The Cut That Always Bleeds". I just want to point out that half of these songs came out in March of 2020 on Kid Krow, so I've been listening to them an excessive amount for a solid two years now. It feels very fitting that "The Story" is my top song since it's the first one I ever heard from Conan, and "Wish You Were Sober" is still my favorite pure pop song. Also, I'm glad TCTAB gets a shout out for being the absolutely devastating masterpiece it is. It would've been more entertaining if there was a bit more artist mixing and matching and some of my more current favorite artists represented, but I respect it for capturing a period of my life. Next time someone asks why I'm so upset Conan isn't playing LA on his next tour, I'm just going to text them my Wrapped. 

your audio aura

It feels like auras are super trendy right now, and even Spotify wanted to get in on the action by making colorful palettes inspired by our music taste. My "music moods" were described as "wistful" and "soft". That seems pretty accurate overall, but that was a really random addition to wrapped. 


an overview of made-up genres

To continue the randomness, we have the genre category. As music gets less tied to genre than ever, Spotify is working double time to come up with niche names to try to encompass your taste into neat little boxes. Somehow, despite listening to mostly indie pop with a sprinkling of pop-punk, pop-rock, and alternative, I somehow listened to 28 distinct genres by Spotify's count. The Top 5 of those? 
1. Indie Pop 
2. Electropop (which I would generally describe as the opposite of what I gravitate towards so I'm confused) 
3. Post-Teen Pop (I can't even start to comprehend what that means) 
4. Pop Rock 
5. Metropopolis (that's not even a word? I actually found a fascinating Salon article about this thoroughly made up genre)
I find the conversation around genre super confusing, weird, and hard to quantify, and Spotify Wrapped every year is just the perfect reminder of that. The only one I really claim here and use often is Indie Pop, even though that genre hardly has a good definition. 

top artists

I'm always curious who my top 5 will be since I listen to a broader and broader group of artists with every passing year. I made it to the top 0.05% of Conan Gray listeners for my Spotify listening this year, which was exactly the same as last year. I feel like I'm not getting enough credit for how much time I truly listen to his music over all formats, but I'll take it. So besides Conan, the rest of my top 5 included: 
2. Alexander 23 
3. Gracie Abrams
 4. Finneas 
5. Lorde
 which I definitely agree with for once. Also, this was probably helped along by the fact that I saw almost everyone on this list in concert this year, so I had both the pre-concert excitement and post-concert depression to drive up those plays. 
I'm pretty amazed that I started the year as an occasional Alexander 23 listener and ended it with Alexander in the number 2 overall. 

what it got right

Honestly, I don't have many complaints when it comes to my Spotify Wrapped this year, which is totally different from last year. After being really irritated with last year's results, I very carefully cultivated my listening habits at the start of the year to specifically try to have this exact Spotify Wrapped. The current me doesn't necessarily vibe with those choices as much, but at least the list wasn't totally random like some of the stats that I've seen from Spotify throughout the year. My top artists was totally accurate. It would've been more interesting to see a range of songs from different artists in my top songs, but the data seems accurate. It picked all my favorite Conan songs. 

what I'm missing

Probably most notably absent are Halsey, Taylor Swift, and to a certain extent, Harry Styles. I honestly haven't really listened to Harry at all this year since I was avoiding the reality I couldn't get tickets to go to his shows, but he's one of those artists that will always feel like a part of me. Taylor Swift isn't here because I mostly listen to her full albums, and I tend to go to Apple Music for albums. Or I'll listen to vinyl or CD. And with Halsey, I also ended up listening to her album a ton on vinyl. But it feels so deeply wrong to not see Halsey and Taylor represented among my most listened to because they've been such intrinsic parts of me for so long. 

the Apple Music of it all

I use Apple Music as more of a scrapbook of all the new music I'm finding and to make massive playlists each month. I also default there for albums, but I'm far less curated with my listening on Apple Music. I'm not thinking about my end of the year stats there at all when I listen since no one cares about Replay so there's a bit more freedom, and, some would say, honesty. 

It's actually kind of fascinating how different these stats are:

Top 10 Songs
All Top 5 songs here, too, are Conan Gray tracks, so that seems to ring permanently true for this year. But since Apple shows more than 5 top tracks, there's space for more artists to mix in. Here's the rest of the list:
7. "Cry Over Boys" by Alexander 23
8. "Little League" by Conan Gray
9. "I Miss You, I'm Sorry" by Gracie Abrams
10. "Darling" by Halsey


Top Artists
Interestingly, Apple Music says I've listened to 151 different artists this year. But my top artists on Apple Music look totally different than my Spotify stats in a way that really surprised me and also validated some of my disappointments with my Spotify Wrapped:

1. Taylor Swift- 98 Hours
2. Conan Gray- 63 Hours
3. Halsey- 33 Hours
4. Jeremy Zucker- 32 Hours
5. Gracie Abrams- 29 Hours

I feel like this is a pretty fair representation of the other half of my music listening, and I was surprised to see Jeremy Zucker coming in so highly. It does feel like a good counter-part to Alexander ranking so highly on Spotify since I got into their music at the same time. 

Top 10 Albums
I also really like that Apple gives you the Top 10 albums, especially because it's the platform I default to when I want to hear a whole album. This was one of the most interesting stat lists I went through today, and it revealed an interesting thing to me. I have true comfort albums I turn to (Modern Loneliness, Crusher, Love Is Not Dying) that might not come to mind as favorite albums necessarily, but I find myself wanting on a regular basis, especially when I'm not feeling my best. Also this shows just how often I listen to full albums.

1. Kid Krow by Conan Gray (a surprise to no one)- 313 Plays
2. How I'm Feeling by Lauv- 197 Plays
3. Oh No, Not Again! by Alexander 23- 174 Plays
4. Minor by Gracie Abrams- 173 Plays
5. Evermore by Taylor Swift- 150 Plays 

I love seeing tons of stats about music listening habits, so this is one of my favorite days of the year. As fun as going through my own Spotify Wrapped is, I'm always curious about everyone else's results and whether they're happy with what Spotify has revealed about them, especially friends who aren't super outwardly into music. Mostly, I'm thankful that after being out of my Glee phase for 5 years, those cast albums are no longer messing with the credibility of my Replay. 

What did you think of your Spotify Wrapped or Apple Music Replay this year? Let me know in the comments. 

More on Music, Musings, and Me...

Comments