It’s that time of year again, when Spotify users gather under their favorite green app and open the data-driven gift wrap thanks to the year-end Wrapped review. As a Spotify Premium user for several years, I did the same, and I forced a smile when the “musical personality” feature branded me as “Replayer”.
But this year, I’ve had a little more envy at Apple Music users than ever before. Not because its equivalent feature, Apple Music Replay, is a huge improvement over Wrapped – in fact, it looks like a shameless robbery when you compare the animations its users have used to recap their listening habits over the past year.
Still, Apple Music Replay offers something I’d like to see in Spotify Wrapped – it actually gives you access to your listening data (if not the animations) all year, not just at the end of November.
And these are the kinds of insights I’d like to delve into in the Spotify app outside of Wrapped season, rather than having to use third-party apps.
Not just for Christmas
When it comes to a fancy year-end animation of your listening habits, there’s no doubt Spotify has it.
To begin with, its equivalent in Apple Music Replay is oddly only available on the platform’s website. (opens in new tab) instead of in-app. On Spotify, it appears in the “home” section of the app (as long as you’ve updated to the latest version 8.7.78).
Spotify Wrapped’s animated summary is also more comprehensive than Apple Music Replay. Apple’s is shorter and essentially brings together the best song, artist and album of the year and your top five genres.
Meanwhile, Spotify explains how many different genres you dive into and what you listen to at certain times of the day (apparently I’m all about ‘Warm Good Vibes Angst’ in the afternoon, which is probably my Myers Briggs personality type).
But unusually for Apple, Music Replay is slightly less locked than Spotify. If you go to the web version (opens in new tab) At any time, you can see your most streamed artists and albums, as well as some (albeit limited) statistics such as play counts and hours played. Your “Replay” playlist, which is also available in the “Listen Now” tab of the app, will also be updated with the tracks you listen to the most every week.
Scroll down in your year-end Music Replay animation and you’ll also see ‘top 10’ lists for your most played songs, artists and albums, giving you a little more depth than Spotify’s top five. Still, while both Spotify Wrapped and Apple Music Replay have their own strengths, they both only scratch the surface of the music data insights possible on other services.
Currently, the only way to get year-round data insights about your Spotify listening habits is to use third-party apps like Stats.fm (iOS, Android) that are currently working to add Apple Music support.
This app is a pretty handy way to get lists of your top tracks, artists, and albums during special periods, assuming you’re happy with granting fairly extensive permissions. If you’ve been on Spotify for a while, you can also get some interesting nuggets by downloading your past Spotify account data from the Privacy section of the site and then uploading it to an app like Stats.fm.
This type of data offers the potential for some pretty impressive insights, like what you’ve listened to most during a given year, or how much you’ve listened to albums rather than songs. My only real issue is that the type of music I listen to while working (what Spotify calls ‘spooky psychedelic compassionate’) can skew that data towards music that helps concentration rather than the kind that really means the most to me.
It seems like it was Last.fm that spearheaded all the music data insights long before the Spotify Wrapped concept came along. Triggered by an intern’s project in 2019. As one of the first social networks, it took the whole concept to the next level with its ‘neighbors’ feature that connects you with your musical soul mates in service, depending on your listening habits.
While this may be a step too far for many, it shows the far-reaching possibilities of our music listening data. For now, I’d be happy to see a Wrapped-style dashboard on Spotify all year, although I suspect the marketing power is much stronger due to its rarity, just like at Christmas.