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What Can You Learn From your Spotify Wrapped?

From 'Begin Again' (2014)

Spotify Wrapped is a marketing campaign launched in 2016. A startlingly successful piece of brand promotion that capitalised on the “FOMO” effect, which saw many customers transfer from similarly designed services to Spotify.

For you it may just be another year that your favourite artist is featured in your official retrospective, but you have the opportunity to reimagine your Spotify Wrapped as a tool for your creative self-betterment.

But now that you have received your Spotify Wrapped, a whole year distilled into a playlist of (occasionally random) music, what will you do with that information?

Take into account how you have fared as a freelancer this year, and cross-reference this with your Spotify habits. Is your music taste spurring you on? Do you need to construct playlists that reflect healthier work habits?

In practice this looks like something for everyone. When I am faced with a particularly stressful meeting, I tend to turn to lyric-less film scores to centre me, (most recently this has been Martin Phipps scoring orchestration for the BBC’s 2016 War & Peace miniseries.) The year my friend handed in her undergraduate dissertation her top 5 songs on Spotify Wrapped were all from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, as it had spurred her on in last minute writing and editing.

You may need fast-paced, familiar tunes to help you overcome the inevitable afternoon slump. A beat that will drive you forward in your post-lunch slog. Or maybe you need to approach this year in more measured ways, encouraged to actually sit down and consider your next steps by mellowed background music.

As an artist it is also important to consider practicing the kind of art we want to make through our listening habits. This may mean re-evaluating the musicians we are spending our time with, investing in local singers who are experimenting with your favourite genre. Or perhaps you need to push past lyricists who enact simple narratives about love and heartbreak to reflect you own hard-earned feelings on these intimate matters.

My friend recently exclaimed to me after reading through her Spotify Wrapped 2022: “this feels right!” She was pleased to see that she no longer relied on the pop singers she once had, she saw her own professional investment in her local music scene reflected in these otherwise meaningless statistics. Spotify Wrapped can be a source of encouragement, proof that you have grown as an artist, that your perception of the world has been reshaped by another year of experiences.

Your Spotify Wrapped is not reflective of who you are (neither is your taste for that matter,) and it will not determine your artistic intentions – but it is information! Information that can influence your decision-making, your focus, your habits. As freelancers it can often feel like we exist in a vacuum, with virtually no feedback to ground us or pave a way for, so when any kind of tangible response is offered, seize it!


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