Spotify Wrapped: Here’s how Spotify calculates your listening data


Spotify Wrapped—the yearly event that allows users to see and share breakdowns of their listening activity—has arrived, and with it comes a handful of different ways the music streaming giant collects data from its users.
In this photo illustration, a woman's silhouette holds a phone.
Spotify Wrapped first launched in 2016. Image source: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Key Facts

Each December, Spotify offers its users an interactive report of which artists and songs they listened to the most throughout the year, designed in a way that’s prepackaged for sharing across social media, leading to an annual viral sensation.

This year, Spotify included data past Oct. 31, a changeup from previous years when it only covered data from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, though the music streaming platform hasn’t given an exact deadline for when data stopped being collected this time around.

Assuming things haven’t changed since last year, music listened to while using the “private session” feature doesn’t count toward users’ Wrapped, but it does add up to overall minutes listened in a year, according to a Spotify FAQ post.

Offline listening, which is done through songs download to user devices, counts toward listening data once users are reconnected to the internet.

Podcast listening, a feature regularly used by more than 100 million Spotify users, counts toward users’ total time spent listening in addition to music.

Streams are counted when users listen to a song for 30 seconds or more.

Big Number

More than 574 million. That’s the number of people using Spotify, 226 million of whom have paid subscriptions for the streaming service.


Apple Music released its Spotify Wrapped equivalent, Apple Music Replay, on Tuesday. In addition to user data, Apple’s year-end charts also include information on the most popular artists on Apple Music. Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift was the most listened-to artist by Apple Music subscribers this year and also managed to set a record for the most listeners for any artist in a single year on Apple Music. Spotify users have been known to claim their yearly roundup is superior to Apple’s, posting memes and sneering comments about Apple’s music streaming service.

Key Background

Spotify Wrapped is somewhat of a cultural event for users, many of whom use their personalized Wrapped reports to flaunt, joke and connect with each other. Users can share posts that show their favourite artists, songs and listening habits. Last year, the streaming service analyzed users’ listening habits to create listening personalities that were presented in a similar way to the results of traditional personality tests. Users could see how niche their tastes were and how much variety was found within their listening habits, among other things. The feature has effectively become a yearly social media phenomenon after launching in 2016, serving as a boost to Spotify’s social media metrics and inspiring similar features from other music streaming platforms and companies like Duolingo, Twitch, Hulu and Reddit.

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