Spotify is a Wrap

by Zoe Byszynski

Senior drama major Sophia Longmuir shows off her Spotify Wrapped “personality.”

The class had an electric buzz on that early November morning, last month. The entire Black Box at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) began to vibrate as people frantically tried to unlock their phones. Looks of dread, horror, disgust, relief, and joy spread across the room.

“What’s your wrapped like?” Was a common question that followed students throughout their day.

Spotify Wrapped dropped on November 30th, 2022, which was a bit of a shock to everyone expecting it in early December. For the uninitiated, Spotify Wrapped allows Spotify users to view their listening data over the past year and encourages them to share it via social media. Spotify Wrapped first launched in 2016, but has increased in popularity over the past three years. Even other streaming platforms have begun to do the same (like Apple Music Replay and YouTube Music Recap).

On November 30th, there were swirls of numbers and artists that you could catch a glimpse of on people’s phone screens. For listening times, someone managed to gain more than one hundred thousand minutes. From Phoebe Bridgers to Queen to the official Broadway cast recording of Carrie, the top artists of FSSA students varied. There was one elephant in the room though…

Taylor Swift

2022 was the year of the Swiftie Sweep. At least seven FSSA students had Taylor as their top artist and some others had her as one of their top artists.

“I’m not a Swiftie, that’s disgusting. I expected Phoebe Bridgers was gonna be my top artist, I had a feeling,” Jordyn Benda, a senior film major said.

Taylor Swift released Midnights on October 21, 2022, about two years after her last album, Evermore. Spotify stops collecting data for Wrapped on October 31st so Midnights isn’t the leading reason for her popularity amongst students’ Wrappeds. According to Spotify, Taylor Swift is the second most streamed artist globally so her popularity isn’t just specific to this school. But why though?

Taylor Swift released her first album, Taylor Swift, in 2006 and has been a big name in pop music ever since. Her songs and their corresponding videos have some of the most original and entertaining concepts of modern music. Famously, Look What You Made Me Do’s video and lyrics alluded to issues she had with Kanye West. Additionally, her fans adore her music for lyricism that is poetic, but never forced. 

The writer’s Spotify Wrapped top 5.

“You can plan for a change in the weather and time, but I never planned on you changing your mind,” from Last Kiss.

Yet, it still doesn’t seem to explain her new surge in popularity (especially in the school community). It seems odd that in a time of college applications, flu season, and Elon taking over Twitter that Taylor would make it out on top. It only began to make sense after Lucy Karp, a senior film major, mentioned another popular 2010s artist: One Direction.

“I had a one-month phase in April where I rediscovered them,” Lucy said.

Nostalgia. Though these artists like Taylor Swift and Harry Styles are still big now, it was in the 2010s when they really made a name for themselves. The student body were barely tweens when these artists came onto the scene.

Everyone has their memory of listening to Justin Bieber in the car rolled down, singing Call Me Maybe into a hairbrush, or learning the steps to Party Rock. As we continue to step toward adulthood, our ears still cling to our childhood.

Taylor’s music (and other music of the time), gives us a brief second to look into our past and see how much we’ve grown. Or maybe it’s just music.