Today, 2 December, Spotify is launching its ‘2020 Wrapped’ personalised experience—the company’s popular year-end review of users’ favourite artists, songs, genres, and even podcasts. But because 2020 has been extra special, this year, Spotify is also making a few changes. What is 2020 Wrapped about and what are the new features that Spotify has to offer?
First of all, while Wrapped will be exclusively available on mobile for Spotify users, a web experience will also be available for non-Spotify users. Wrapped will also include a deeper look into users’ podcast listening habits to reflect the platform’s continuing investment in podcasts.
Some of you might be wondering how exactly non-Spotify users will receive the Wrapped personalised experience if they never really used the platform in the first place? For them, Spotify will share its broader global listening trends, including the most-streamed artist, top three podcasts, and other popular music insights.
On Tuesday, Spotify had already announced a few of the lucky winners, with Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny claiming the top spot with more than 8.3 billion streams in 2020. The top three podcasts, meanwhile, were The Joe Rogan Experience, TED Talks Daily and The Daily.
Although the feature had included podcast insights in prior years, this year, the experience is being expanded to include added metrics, like how many minutes users spent listening to podcasts in 2020 and the most ‘binge-worthy’ podcasts of the year.
On top of that, the end-of-year package will include new features, like in-app quizzes, a ‘Story of Your 2020’ dedicated to users’ top song of the year, new ‘Wrapped badges’, personalised playlists, customisation options for social sharing of course, as well as some other additions.
Spotify’s new in-app quizzes feature will allow users to guess the trends of the year before Wrapped reveals them. Spotify listeners will be able to guess which were their top podcasts, top artists and even what decade’s songs they streamed the most. Users will also be able to see what new genres they discovered during 2020.
Stories, naturally, will make an appearance in this year’s Wrapped, too. After the success its Storylines received in 2019, the company was recently spotted testing a Stories feature in its app as well. In January 2020, the app also began to allow influencers to post Stories to introduce their playlists. Now, those influencers also include musicians themselves, proving that the idea was a success.
For Wrapped 2020, Spotify is introducing the ‘Story of Your 2020’ which shows a user’s top song from the year from its first stream to its 100th stream and several milestones in between.
Spotify Premium users will gain access to new badges this year based on what they listened to and how often. Some will receive the ‘Tastemaker’ badge if their playlists gained followers. Others will earn the ‘Pioneer’ badge for listening to songs first, before they hit more than 50,000 streams. The third badge, the ‘Collector’ will be awarded to those who added some number of songs to their playlists this year.
To wrap this end-of-year experience, users will also get access to three new personalised playlists. First, the ‘Your Top Songs’ playlist, which will feature your favourite songs of the year. ‘Missed Hits’, meanwhile, will recommend popular songs in 2020 that you didn’t listen to, but Spotify thinks you would have if you had found them somehow. And for listeners in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, a third playlist called ‘On Record’ will introduce a mixed media experience that highlights users’ top 2020 artists.
An important part of 2020 Wrapped is the social sharing component. This year, users will be able to personalise their Wrapped sharing card by picking from among four colour choices before posting it to Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or Facebook. Expect plenty of those stories on your feed for the next few days!
1. Bad Bunny
3. J Balvin
4. Juice WRLD
5. The Weeknd
1. Billie Eilish
2. Taylor Swift
3. Ariana Grande
4. Dua Lipa
1. YHLQMDLG, Bad Bunny
2. After Hours, The Weeknd
3. Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone
4. Fine Line, Harry Styles
5. Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa
1. ‘Blinding Lights’ by The Weeknd
2. ‘Dance Monkey’ by Tones And I
3. ‘The Box’ by Roddy Ricch
4. ‘Roses – Imanbek Remix’ by Imanbek and SAINt JHN
5. ‘Don’t Start Now’ by Dua Lipa
1. The Joe Rogan Experience
2. TED Talks Daily
3. The Daily
4. The Michelle Obama Podcast
5. Call Her Daddy
1. Society & Culture
3. Lifestyle & Health
4. Arts & Entertainment
With 217 million monthly active users—and with this number set to grow—Spotify is undeniably top of the game in the streaming market. Considering these figures, the company has been extra efficient in monetising every aspect of the platform to make the highest profit out of its broad user base. With an array of different options—from sponsored playlists to video takeover—Spotify for Brands has been offering all kinds of ad experiences to its clients. Today, the streaming platform is testing yet another advertisement programme: voice-enabled audio ads, a new interactive feature that hasn’t been tested by any other platform yet.
The feature works on the premise that the audio advertisements that usually interrupt playlists on Spotify could be used to a greater extent by also offering listeners to switch to a playlist curated by the brand whose advertisement just played. How? With the use of voice command. The new marketing feature allows listeners to interact with the advertisement by saying a specific phrase while the commercial is playing. By saying out loud ‘Play now’ when prompted by an audio commercial, the listener could activate the curated playlist from the brand (which comes with more commercials) that will start streaming instead of what the person was previously listening to.
The feature, that only works if users have their microphone enabled, was launched on May 2 in the U.S. with Spotify Free users, just a few days after the company CEO Daniel Ek stated that the voice space is a “critical area of growth” for the company. Spotify is currently only testing out the feature with its own podcasts and an AXE audio commercial for Unilever.
Although voice commands are becoming ubiquitous within technology, many industry professionals have raised their concern on the functionality of this new project. “Voice commands are becoming second nature to us, just as swiping on a tablet or phone already is today,” told Leslie Walsh, executive director of strategy at agency Episode Four, to AdAge. Just because people are becoming increasingly accustomed to using their voices to activate and control a variety of home devices, doesn’t necessarily imply that users will be equally willing to interact with an advertisement. “While the ‘Play now’ voice command is a shiny new feature, as with all new shiny things in tech, brands need to make sure they have something of value to offer to listeners before jumping on it.” adds Walsh.
Spotify’s Audio Everywhere, the standard audio ad package offered by the streaming company, already allows brands to “Reach your target audience on any device, in any environment, during any moment of the day” as it reads on Spotify’s website. Today, the new feature enables brands not only to reach their target audience anywhere, but also to measure how effective their ads are based on the users’ immediate reactions to them. To do so, brands have to be particularly efficient in producing relevant and engaging content for both the audio advertisement and its following playlist. Something that has yet to be proven possible.
Spotify’s ‘Play now’ feature is not groundbreaking in terms of voice command technology, as both Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa enable to extend native applications through the use of the voice. But as Tom Edwards, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Epsilon, explains, “The Spotify experience adds a monetization angle to that experience.” The streaming platform’s new experiment is reducing the distance between clients and advertisers. Spotify is asking its users to literally answer to advertisements, and whether this will be a successful feature or not, one thing is certain: this project is paving the way for a whole new advertisement era that will see listeners playing an increasingly active role within the brands’ marketing strategies.