Sunday, December 03, 2023

About Wrapped

The years when your musical tastes truly mattered to your identity are long gone, we are constantly told. The younglings no longer define as metalheads or b-boys or goths or disco queens or indie shambles; they just leave themselves at the mercies of the blessed algorithm and let the music play, a title that only comes to mind because I heard Radcliffe and Maconie play it yesterday on their 6Music show, which shows how old I am, doesn’t it?

And yet... and yet. The continued success of Spotify’s annual Wrapped, which gives users a handy summary of their listening habits over the past year and – this is the important bit – encourages them to share it with everyone else, suggests that people think the things they listen to do actually matter, do actually express something about the listener, even if they happen accidentally. To this extent:

1 comment:

Rol said...

I don't use spotify, I use the youtube equivalent. However, I mostly listen to it at night to help me sleep, so it's lots of old chilled 70s stuff, and that's what will appear in my year end "Wrapped" equivalent. It doesn't count all the more upbeat (and even, dare I say it, "modern") stuff I listen to on a memory stick in the car on my daily commute (2+ hours).

How long will it be, I wonder, before the technology exists to count any piece of music we listen to, in any format, towards our "Wrapped"?

Of course, this would matter more if they actually paid the artists a fair amount per play, but I suspect spying on us and collecting data on our listening habits is far more important to our tech overlords.