We can use all the app names we want and praise the qualities of Tidal or Apple Music, but what the general public will keep using is Spotify. At least until it becomes completely paid. It’s easy to use, has an infinite catalog, it’s eye-catching, and moreover, it offers something that everyone has copied afterward, from Filmin to Letterboxd: the Wrapped.
It was in 2016 when Spotify came up with the idea of summarizing your musical year. At first, it was just a curiosity, but nowadays, it’s the reason we keep breathing on the internet, at least for a day. And believe me, in this world, we increasingly need more reasons to stay here. For a day, it’s all about recommendations, playlists, podcasts, and groups to discover. Well, that and collectively celebrating something quite beautiful: our questionable taste.
We can’t be listening all day to The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Beethoven, and Bing Crosby. Sometimes, frankly, the body demands you to play Los Gandules and Zapato Veloz. And in a year like this, “sometimes” can become “every day,” to the extent that it becomes the star of your Wrapped. Oops.
The Wrapped offers something that few things achieve in such a loaded and overwhelming online landscape as today: FOMO. That’s the fear of missing out, being that one person who doesn’t share their list and gets exposed as yet another Taylor Swift fan. When not even Marvel movies manage to create anticipation (or success), Spotify, with a bit of design, creates a personalized experience, keeping users loyal and sparking the interest of those who listen to music on other platforms. To paraphrase Bender, “I wanna be popular too!”
And ultimately, what does this explosion of individuality demonstrate? Well, that in modern times, nobody is truly different. You might listen to The Eels and I might listen to a Finnish flamenco group, but our recommendations and year-end tops will get lost in the sea of individuality until they become a collective taste. It doesn’t matter what you listen to because it doesn’t matter what others listen to: you just want your opinion, even if for a minute and on your phone, to shine on its own.