MHS students connect with music through Spotify Wrapped

Aimee Liu | The Chronicle

One signal of the end of the year is the release of Spotify Wrapped.

Spotify, a popular music streaming service, released Spotify Wrapped in 2016 as an annual compilation of a user’s listening activity throughout the past year. Through interactive slides, the platform shares with users their top artists, songs and genres, as well as curated playlists.

Users worldwide, including many Mason High School (MHS) students, have found excitement and enjoyment in Spotify Wrapped, which is always released in early December. The platform’s presence, particularly on social media, has grown over the past few years and is now a common source of conversation among students.

Senior Leo Luo said his Spotify Wrapped consisted mostly of rap and pop, with artists like Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd and Playboi Carti. He said that the music people listen to tends to reflect their emotions throughout the year.

“It’s a collection of all your statistics that Spotify has taken from your listening experience,” Luo said. “What we listen to is representative of what we’re feeling. Whatever the artists are talking about, the emotions they’re trying to express can explain what you’re really feeling throughout the year.”

Luo said that his favorite aspect of the annual recap is being able to share it with friends on social media and see what everyone has been listening to.

“It’s like a bonding experience because music is very popular and having this thing that connects us is really nice,” Luo said. “Music is a community thing, so it’s really enjoyable to share music with each other and get to know each other better.”

Sophomore Elizabeth Fox’s 2022 top artist was ABBA and her top genres were rock and pop. She has been using Spotify for four years, but only started looking at the Wrapped feature two years ago. She said it has now become her favorite thing about the platform.

“It’s definitely cool to look back on my year because I can see the different aspects of what I was listening to at [different times],” Fox said. “The feelings from the memories were coming back and it’s just kind of interesting to see your personality wrapped up in the music that you listen to.”

Fox said that while she occasionally felt pressure to shape her Spotify Wrapped by listening to specific music, the opinions of other people ultimately did not matter to her.

“I was really conscious of how my Spotify Wrapped looked throughout the year,” Fox said. “But at the end of the day, I think it’s just something fun to look at and see what you were listening to. I just wanted it to be whatever I liked.”

With top genres of rap, dark trap and pop, junior Tory Lamper said that music has always helped to keep them grounded. Lamper said they are almost always listening to music, reflected in their more than eighty-thousand minutes (almost two consecutive months) of listening this year.

“Music helps me focus and calm down, and it’s a good way to express your emotions without saying anything, whether you don’t feel heard or don’t have the words,” Lamper said. “It’s super powerful, and it’s an essential part of my life.”

Lamper said that the first time they saw Spotify Wrapped, it was confusing, but they found it to be like “a personality quiz for music” and thought it was interesting to see an overview of their listening habits.

“I like being able to look at [Spotify Wrapped] and being able to remember memories from certain songs,” Lamper said. “It’s always fun to see my music taste. It’s kind of like who you were for that year.”

As Spotify Wrapped has increased in popularity, people have shared posts on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter about their results. Lamper said that with it being such a “huge thing,” they have easily been able to share music with new people.

“I think a lot of people bond over music,” Lamper said. “Learning about different people’s music tastes can bring you closer to them and help you learn more about them as a person.”

Much like Lamper, Sage Choi, a junior, said that music has been “such a big part of [their] life” and that discovering new music helps them get inspiration as an artist. This year, Choi found their Spotify Wrapped to include a lot of Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish, as well as more than 147,000 minutes (more than three months) of listening.

“There’s music for almost every emotion and situation,” Choi said. “If you’ve had an experience, someone’s probably written a song about it. It’s a great way to know I’m not alone.”

In addition to its versatility, Choi said that music is a way to connect with other people. They said that people enjoy Spotify’s “little finale of the year” because it provides a sense of closure, as well as something to talk about.

With the unifying effect of Spotify Wrapped, Choi said that the positive impact of music has extended far beyond the songs, artists and genres themselves.

“I’ve started conversations with people that I don’t normally talk to because of Spotify Wrapped,” Choi said. “I think there’s a great amount of relating you can do with people that you didn’t realize you could relate to, because music is such a universal, community thing.”

Graphic by Allison Droege