Data Collection Wrapped Up Nicely

Photo by David Pupaza on Unsplash

I think most of us have already taken a look, but for those that are unaware, Spotify Wrapped just released again. It is always fun to see how many minutes you spent listening to music, what your favourite number was, and what your rank of listener is of your favourite artist. While I never really think too much about the data collection necessary to compile a Spotify Wrapped list, I recently stumbled across an article pointing it out.

A quote from the article really stuck with me because it got me thinking about Spotify’s data collection and I haven’t really been able to come up with a reason to disagree with the statement. It’s by Evan Greer, director of the digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future: “It’s kind of ironic that at the end of every year people are celebrating the fact that Spotify is spying on them”.

Assigned Traits by Spotify

Although I question the data collection of Spotify, I do think it is fun to see the new features added to the Spotify Wrapped. First of all, the listening personality is a feature that is reminiscent of the Myers-Briggs Type indicator test. Both use the letter abbreviations and list sixteen different personalities. The other new feature, the audio day, summarizes your day’s progression based on the music you listen to during different times of the day.

These features are always fun to share with friends, comparing what different personality types you have, your minutes spent listening, and who your favourite artist is. Whatever you think of Spotify, you have to admit that Spotify Wrapped is doing an incredible job at keeping people engaged with the platform.

Personally, I do look forward to my Spotify Year Overview. Moreover, seeing everyone’s Wrapped is also enjoyable and funny. What is your favourite artist? How many times did you loop for favourite song? And most interesting of all, do you agree with your assigned-by-spotify personality?

The Collection of Data

For the most part, people don’t really get mad at Spotify for recording their data, if the flood of posts regarding everyone’s Spotify Wrapped is anything to go off of. This differs from other social media, where you hear a lot more noise about the data collection of users and how this affects their privacy. Take, for example, the TikTok privacy policy that recently got updated. The data of EU users is protected by laws, but employees of TikTok can access it with this new update.

And I have to admit, Spotify Wrapped is very fun to view. More than other social media, it feels both less and more personal. Why? Because it only shows you data about the music you listen to, nothing more and nothing less. But your data is obviously used for more. If you use Spotify, you are probably very familiar with the numerous personal playlists Spotify compiles for you. Another example are the sometimes oddly personal advertisements you can get when not using Spotify Premium.

Then, do we like data collection if it takes the shape of something flashy and colourful, made to be shared with your friends? Or do we think that a company collecting what music you listen to, for how long, and other personal preferences simply not does have the same power as other companies/social media platforms on which we share pictures of ourselves and our environment? Maybe we do not care for the collection of our personal data after all? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, since I do want to know what other people think about all of this!


About Spotify Wrapped Personal Data usage:

The Myers-Briggs Indicator Test:

16 personality types:

Explanation of the TikTok Privacy Policy update: