Spotify Wrapped - The Whole Story and the Hidden Marketing Behind It

Harshit Verma Harshit Verma
Dec 17, 2021 9 min read
Spotify Wrapped - The Whole Story and the Hidden Marketing Behind It

The quote quoted above is probably my most favourite. There is probably not a single day when any person is away from art. Art is so closely aligned to reality that it is impossible to separate the two things. They are so much together that we cannot imagine these two separated for even a single day of ours. One such art is music. Quite a popular way to add a  soundtrack to whatever you are doing.

Do you listen to music? Dude, what kind of question is that? Everyone listens to music. This is quite true, no one asks these sorts of questions. Do you now like to directly ask about what is your most liked genre? Speaking of music, the most famous music provider/streamer is Spotify.

Spotify never leaves a stone unturned to make customers woo. They do their most popular marketing campaign called “Spotify wrapped” and many cool tricks to make its user retention an all-time high. This article is just about that specifically and especially of all the marketing tactics. We will discuss how Spotify has managed to hit the right note with music lovers all around the world.

"Art is the lie that enables us to realise the truth.” ― Pablo Picasso

About Spotify
The Fluidity in Spotify
Consumer Psychology
How Spotify uses User Inputs and Machine Learning
The Spotify Wrapped Experience
Spotify Trying to Wrap up a Whole Decade
Wacky Advertisements of Spotify

About Spotify

You would be living under a rock if you don't know what Spotify is. We all know that Spotify is an audio streaming platform, available on all devices all over the world. Surprisingly Spotify was founded in 2006 only and in such a short span of time, it has become the most favourite streamer in the world.

All around the world Spotify has made a place in the hearts of audiophiles. The reason is the fact that they are a music streaming platform and everyone is a music lover. Also, they are famous for their wacky advertising marketing faces, and exact usage of consumer psychology for that matter.

Once you sign up for this audio streaming service and begin using it, they will notice your listening habits. As you go about interacting more and more with Spotify, listening to music and podcasts and all, Spotify will get to know you more.

With all these data inputs, Spotify suggests more songs, they create personalised playlists for you. This personalisation is absolutely loved by people who use Spotify, the fact that they can discover a new jam every now and then, based on the Spotify intelligence just connects with the audience.

Spotify Personalized Playlist
Spotify Personalized Playlist

Let us know how this works and then we will later jump to how the “Spotify Wrapped” works.

The Fluidity in Spotify

When we talk about a business operating in the areas of music, then we can think of the massy audience that they have to cater to. Which for the record is true, Spotify has to cater to a huge mass of audience but whatever they do in their marketing upfront, it is not messy at all. The point that I am trying to uncover here is that Spotify has fluidity in its works. They know that things can get super boring super fast for people of this generation, so it is imperative to experiment bit by bit.

This fluidity in their marketing team helps them to garner consumers and thus make them a paying member in their line of work. Elegant use of consumer psychology works a lot of times in this quest of customer retention. Let us see a bit about how this segment works,

Consumer Psychology

Consumer behaviour or consumer psychology is the study of individuals, groups of individuals, and all the activities and thinking processes. It is mainly associated with the purchase, sale and use and disposal of goods and even services. Consumer behaviour also consists of how the emotions, attitudes and other preferences affect the buying behaviour of consumers. This also includes the hit and trial method of getting customers loyal. This experimenting makes corporations learn more about customers and thus retain and make more the retention of people transacting with firms. It is a very common practice in this internet era.

How Spotify uses User Inputs and Machine Learning

Listening is everything - Spotify’s motto

Spotify is high on artificial intelligence and machine learning. They know patterns that you listen to music too, they know every input needed to suggest the next song. These inputs allow quite everything at the Spotify headquarters. ‘Listening is everything’ is the motto of this audio streamer. While you listen to songs that they provide, they listen to your listening patterns. They thus create a pattern that can eventually predict your mood and the genre of music you may want to listen to in the future.

There are half a billion people that listen to music online and the vast majority are doing so illegally. But if we bring those people over to the legal side and Spotify, what is going to happen is we are going to double the music industry and that will lead to more artists creating great new music. - Daniel Ek (Founder and CEO at Spotify)

Daniel knew very well that the music market is hugely scattered in many directions. To organise music lovers from all over the world, he knew he needed to take support of technology. So he chose the top-notch and what we call the state of the art machine learning. Organising the market into an industry that has streaming as a habit takes a lot of muscle.

Years of deliberate practice and features like “Discover Weekly” and monthly reels put them high on charts. At this point in time, it can be seen that Spotify has emerged as the best player in the audio streaming service providers. This also shows how the behaviour of the general public all over the world has changed. The song, music and artiste industry went up a huge scale and turned from being an unorganised sector to a well-organised sector. This growth is notable and Spotify is heading the efforts.

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The Spotify Wrapped Experience

Spotify wrapped is the ultimate amalgamation of machine learning and your music taste. These two things on the plate create real magic. People yearn for this magic and Spotify is the head of this department for this magic in the whole world. They started doing wraps up for its users in the year 2016.

Spotify Wrapped from that year became a hit viral marketing technique for Spotify. The wrap includes all the songs users have been listening to, in the past year, the genre they were the most into and their most favourite artists along with minutes streamed and other data. It included the top five musicians that users have listened to. Moreover, it is not just another marketing campaign but a huge viral social media campaign.

Every year, millions of Spotify users share their Spotify wrapped to their social media profiles which is a boost for Spotify. In the app store, the Spotify app has historically seen a jump at the end of the year, because wrapped is released at the end of the year.

Spotify sends an email to every person who is eligible for the year inwrapped. For many people, this email is their favourite email of the year. It has become some kind of a ritual for all the audiophile/music streamers all over the world.

The reason people love this form of advertising is that it is too personal. This personal touch (obviously in a very good way) is made possible with the advent of technology. This personalisation made Spotify the brand that it is today. the moment you click the link, they will begin showing you the year wrapped reel.

Beginning with words like “If 2021 was a movie, you were the main character”. Dude! That's encouraging. Then comes the next page showing how many new artists you discovered this year. Then comes, top genres you listened to the most and how many genres you discovered. Then, the most-streamed song/single and the most-streamed day. How can we explain this, without using the word “Awesome”?

The purpose of “Spotify Wrapped” is simple, to promote the music streaming platform. Spotify however says that “wrapped” is a way of returning the favour to Spotify users for the past year. This way users get to know more of their music taste and the data can be helpful in rediscovering music again. It is a win-win situation for both the streaming giant as well as the music listeners. Whatever is the purpose, it fulfils the need of both the provider and the receiver in this manner in this transaction.

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Spotify Trying to Wrap up a Whole Decade

As people were wrapping a year, Spotify thought bigger and better. The whole damn thought of wrapping a full decade. They tried to put together all the hit tracks of the past decade in a single playlist and tried to create magic out of this. The reactions were amazing and their video got great views. This was done last year, that was the dreadful 2020. Spotify truly knows how to set the background soundtrack right.

Wacky Advertisements of Spotify

When everyone knows that human’s attention span has reduced a lot, this calls for a modern solution. As the meme would say “Modern problems require modern solutions”. The news for the hour is meme marketing.

Wacky advertisements can leave a mark on the conscience of people wandering online and elsewhere. Cred does it, Spotify does it, every smart company does it. Okay, every smart company who knows the power of humour does it. Here are some examples, Though it is time for Christmas, audiophiles must be waiting for their Spotify wrapped year reel. Spotify added a little fun marketing ping to it. They made promotional videos featuring famous songs of the year. By famous songs, we mean the most streamed songs of the year.

Here is one example of the blockbuster “Lambiyaan”. The description read - “If 2021 was an exam, spending the nights with Raatan Lambiyan always felt like the right answer! Find out more about the music you listened to in 2021, with #SpotifyWrapped”.

Another promotional video starred the song “Nadiyon paar” which was also a hit this year. It was streamed millions of times. they also have a marketing campaign named 'Dil filmy to suno filmy'. It shares the love of Bollywood songs with the general public. While showcasing the basic human tendency to humm a song that you heard somewhere, here have a look at one of the videos.

The fact that they connected two things to each other makes the recipe for perfect videos. They connected trending soundtracks to everyday situations that people faced. That became the perfect recipe for these videos to strike a chord with streamers. Their use of consumer behaviour is helping them garner more views and more streams and downloads.


The very first principle that Spotify follows is the “rule of personalisation”. They know that personalised marketing boosts customer loyalty. Through this feature of ‘Year wrapped’, they are trying to do the same. If they manage to get a personalised touch to every single person using Spotify then it will go a long way and become a huge factor in driving sales and revenue.

This has been made possible via the help of new-age technologies like machine learning and better management of user data. It is needless to mention that this viral marketing campaign has gone a long way into audiophiles’ hearts.

Not only this, but this is also can be said as a major motivator for selling subscription plans to users of Spotify. A popular quote goes like this “Data is 21st century’s gold”. This is the golden rule for companies who try to give personalised services to their consumers. Spotify is not an exception and what it is doing with data is quite magically promising and thoughtful.

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Is Spotify Wrapped only for premium users?

No, Spotify wrapped is for both premium and free users.

How does Spotify create Wrapped?

Spotify tracks users' listening habits from the period from January 1 to October 31 and then compiles it into a playlist at the end of the year.

When did Spotify launch Spotify Wrapped marketing campaign?

Spotify originally released the viral marketing campaign 'Spotify Wrapped' in 2015.

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