Students are wrapped up in their 2022 Spotify Wrapped


Graphic courtesy of Konnor Lee

With Spotify Wrapped, users can see many intriguing facts about how they listen to music. One statistic is the number of minutes one spends listening with Spotify, with WCHS senior Konner Lee garnering at least 38,000 minutes, the equivalent of 26 full days.

By Jeremy Chung, News Editor

From walking through the hallways, studying, or secretly plugging in earbuds in class, music plays an integral part in WCHS students’ lives. With that, one streaming platform comes to mind for all: Apple Music; just kidding it is Spotify. Christmas music melts out of the ice, it is time to reflect on our music choices from throughout the year. Spotify does just that with its annual and highly anticipated year-end Spotify Wrapped. 

As stated in the name, Spotify Wrapped “wraps” up each listener’s 2022 with a few slides that can be shared with friends through text or on social media. It features not only generic facts like their top five favorite music genres, songs and artists but also intriguing ones such as the number of minutes one spent listening on Spotify, the number of times one specific song is played and also their “music personality.” In addition, a new feature debuted this year, which creates a personalized playlist of the listener’s top 101 songs from 2022. 

Starting back in 2017, Spotify Wrapped has increasingly grown into a phenomenon for everyone, including artists, and has transformed listening to music into an innovative experience connecting people to one another. According to Spotify, more than 120 million users participated in Spotify Wrapped last year.

“Music brings people together and I think Wrapped did that especially because it allows people to explore each others’ tastes in music,” WCHS junior and SPICE club, which is in charge of playing music on the PA intercom, member Luke Wu said. “I have been using Spotify for five years now and basically use it every day, so I would say music is a big part of my life.”

Using the power of artificial intelligence, Spotify utilizes algorithms to collect data on music preferences, searches, song replays and more to “guess” music personality, similar to how Spotify additionally suggests new songs to listen to based on the listener’s preferences. This guessing feature allows for somewhat realistic results which can simplify one’s taste into a few slides.

I think my Wrapped truly represented my music tastes for this year. I wasn’t surprised to see any of the stats,” WCHS senior Konner Lee, who spent almost 38,000 minutes listening to music on Spotify, said. “It did say that I’m a Poetic Hopeless Romantic based on what I listen to in the mornings, which I thought was pretty funny and interesting.”

However, despite how accurate Spotify may say their algorithm is, many people are quick to doubt its ability to predict their music tastes and believe it is somewhat flawed, with many acknowledging their shock and disappointment in what Spotify Wrapped said about them on social media. Artificial intelligence has been known to show implicit bias and perpetuate racism to some groups of people. Could that be the case with Spotify?

“I don’t believe my Wrapped album truly represented my music preferences this year,” Wu said. “I feel like I’ve listened to a lot more pop than rap, but it listed my most listened to genre as rap. Either this means I really enjoy rap music or this algorithm is flawed.”

Additionally, the question of privacy concerns comes into the conversation. It is no secret that the streaming platform actively tracks everyone’s behavior in the app to make it more personal for users, which is an important reason why the streaming company outperforms against all others. However, a concern that remains is how much data is too much?

As stated in Spotify’s privacy policy, the service can collect personal data such as a user’s email address, birth date, gender, postal code, and country, as well as voice data. Whether this much information is too incriminating is up to debate, and has been in conversation with other companies, most notably Apple, Amazon and Meta criticized with handling sensitive personal information. However, Spotify has not been as criticized compared to the major companies, most likely since they are widely assumed to use personal data for entertainment purposes such creating a sharable portfolio. Despite the risks of danger, Lee does not see it as a plausible risk.

“I see no reason to be concerned. Users sign up to use the app and even pay for subscriptions. If they are concerned about data breach, then they can always go to another streaming service,” Lee said. “Most companies already have my birthday and gender, and sites like Amazon and Ebay have my postal code, even my whole address. I feel like a lot of people blow these things out of proportion.”

All in all, Spotify Wrapped has not only summarized people’s music choices but has started a new trend of connecting people around the world through their everyday actions of listening. Spotify is continually surprising and engaging us in many ways, and 2022 is no exception.

“It’s fun to share music tastes. I don’t think anyone should be embarrassed about their tastes in music,” Lee said. “It makes us special, unless you listen to country music.”