Spotify Wrapped: The Secrets Behind The Marketing Masterpiece

Alright, admit it! If you’ve not been MIA on social media or taking a digital detox, you’ve probably encountered the Spotify Wrapped wave. Memes are circulating, and even brands are hopping on the bandwagon, adding their own twist to this trend that’s spreading faster than wildfire.

Every December, Twitter and Instagram turn into a colorful array of posts on music, thanks to Spotify. Suddenly, everyone’s chatting about their top tunes and favorite artists. People open-heartedly sharing their musical tastes and their music journey recap from the year is the perfect example of a brand benefit from the intuitive use of customer data. 

So, in today’s blog, we’re taking a peek into how it all began to take away some marketing lessons from this social media sensation. We’ll also quickly look at what’s cooking in the Spotify Wrapped 2023 and how brands around the world have hopped on the trend with their own Wrapped versions and recaps. 

Ready to learn from this viral marketing strategy from Spotify? Let’s go! 

Spotify Wrapped – An Overview 

What is Spotify Wrapped? In one line, Spotify Wrapped is Spotify’s version of “Year-In-Review” customized for each user. What started as a simple recap campaign in 2016 has now grown into a viral social media trend, a ritual that several users look forward to year after year. 

In 2021, about 60 million Spotify users shared their Wrapped Stories on social media. Imagine the kind of impact that such a massive amount of social media mentions can create for a brand! 

Why does this strategy work? Because Spotify Wrapped is all about personalization. It is about making the users the hero of the story. It is about celebrating their music habits and their journey through the year. Most people are emotionally connected with the music they listen to. And every song, every artist evokes a different emotion. By taking users down their memory lanes, Spotify evokes a mixed bag of emotions. 

This journey creates a sense of intimacy between the brand and the users. How does Spotify manage to keep its audience hooked every year? By delivering variety while retaining the core idea. From visual themes to the promotions launched, Spotify pays attention to the smallest details. Based on these details, let’s now look at all things new with Spotify Wrapped 2023. 

Spotify Wrapped 2023 – The Story So Far 

So, what’s special about Spotify Wrapped 2023? This year, Wrapped is released in 170 markets and 35+ languages

Wrapped 2023 stories 

Every year Spotify creates data-driven stories out of users’ favorite music and artists. This year, the stories include:

  • Me in 2023 – a card that assigns every user one of the 12 preset characters like Vampire, Alchemist, Time Traveler, and so on. This is based on the user’s overall music preferences. 
  • Top 5 Genres – a card that displays the user’s most listened-to genre. 
  • Top 5 Artists – a card that displays the user’s most listened-to artist. 
  • Sound Town – this is a new one added to the 2023 Wrapped stories. It assigns the user a town based on their tastes in music, similar to the music personas. 
  • Your Artist Messages – this includes a personalized video message from your most favorite artist of the year. 

KIMP Tip: One of the prominent details about Spotify Wrapped is its Story post format. With this, Spotify delivers quick and easy bites of information. Users are taken on a journey through their music habits with automatically scrolling cards (without the users having to make an effort). 

This comes as a reminder of the need to include more user-friendly, mobile-friendly UI elements in your UI design. 

Need help with UI design? Get KIMP

Theme and visuals 

One of the best things about Spotify Wrapped is that the brand creates a fresh identity, a vibrant theme for each year. This lays the foundation for the year’s visuals and stories built around it. 

The theme for Spotify Wrapped 2023 is keeping things “Real” amidst the chaotic cultural landscape of 2023. 

Did you notice the glitchy effects and pixelated strokes in the design this year? A visual theme that defies all rules and carries a hint of nostalgia! The idea drew inspiration from the early 2000s, the era when the internet boom started. 

In an era where anti-design and brutalism are in trend, this bold and eclectic theme for this year seems very relevant. 

Okay, so the stories and themes are solid – what else? What are the other things that make Spotify Wrapped work? What marketing lessons can brands take away from this viral campaign idea and based on how Spotify promotes the campaign every year? Let’s find out. 

8 Marketing Lessons From Spotify’s Promotion of the Wrapped Campaign

1. Tap into the power of storytelling 

Spotify Wrapped Stories is a powerful example of the effectiveness of storytelling in marketing. While most brands have access to an ample amount of customer data today, not many of them make the most of this data but Spotify does. 

Spotify uses the data to weave beautiful stories that enhance the emotional depth of the campaign. This is the one reason why customers who are usually skeptical about brands accessing their data are okay with Spotify Wrapped! 

Take the Me in 2023 card for example. Several brands give a peek into the content consumption pattern or purchase history of a customer. But Spotify goes one step further and crafts beautiful stories with it by assigning unique personalities to users based on their music choices. 

2. Simplifying user engagement 

While the Spotify Wrapped campaign idea has been a big hit, some users complained about the difficulty of finding their Wrapped cards until 2022. But in 2023, Spotify has simplified things making the Wrapped cards accessible from the home screen on the app. 

Ensuring that your brand’s content, promotions, and crucial features are all easily accessible reduces user efforts and maximizes engagement. 

3. Catering to the regional favorites 

When it comes to global branding, staying local at the intended places can be a challenge. Spotify handles that intuitively by giving a shout-out to regional favorites in terms of music and regional artists. This helps the brand win the hearts of its audience amidst any competition it faces from local music streaming services. 

The below post, for example, is from Spotify India. Such localized posts from the brand are part of the reason why its market share in the Indian music streaming landscape surged from 15% in 2020 to an impressive 26% in 2023. This is one way in which Spotify Wrapped is used in the brand’s glocalization strategy. 

4. Building strong communities 

In addition to the posts shared by users about their favorite Spotify Wrapped stories from that year, there are artist appreciation posts. These are posts that artists share on their social media pages expressing their gratitude to their fans and new listeners for their musical journey that year. 

Take for instance the below post shared by renowned artist DJEFF. 

Through posts like these, the artists help in imprinting the Spotify brand in the minds of their fans. These are tightly-knit niche communities built on strong emotional connections. Therefore, planting your brand in such communities can have a huge impact on brand awareness and in building a positive brand image as well. 

5. Creativity that attracts the crowds 

When you create a campaign so good that other brands piggyback on its popularity, you know that you are doing something right. That’s the kind of impact that Spotify Wrapped has. The below post shared by the fast-food chain Wendy’s to hop on the Wrapped trend is the perfect example. 

6. Get down to the grassroots 

Amid brands that merely advertise and forget engagement, or stay aloof by being present merely on virtual channels, Spotify takes the grassroots approach. For its Wrapped campaign, the brand engages with its audience in real-world settings. Take the below user engagement drive for example. 

This shows how getting your hands dirty is the best way to build authentic connections in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. 

7. You can never go wrong with branded merch 

Spotify has been going big with its Wrapped branded merch in recent years. These items on sale allow fans to proudly flaunt merch from their favorite artists of the year. In addition to the physical merchandise, Spotify also announced some virtual merch this year in the form of a WhatsApp sticker pack. 

This lets fans add their custom stickers when they add their Wrapped Stories to their WhatsApp Stories or messages to their friends and family. 

Tangible assets like branded merch strengthen brand-customer relationships in the long run. 

Need help designing your virtual and physical branded merchandise? Get KIMP

8. Tap into multi-channel presence 

An online music streaming service – and a virtual year-in-review campaign; would you think of advertising on billboards for such a campaign? Probably not. But Spotify does! The brand knows the true strength of a multi-channel presence. Spotify regularly incorporates billboards and street furniture advertising for its Wrapped campaigns. 

Additionally, Spotify also reminds users about the Wrapped campaign through emails. Such a multi-channel approach goes a long way in boosting the effectiveness of the campaign’s reach. 

Having discussed the campaign itself and how Spotify promotes it, let’s now look at some campaigns from other brands that draw inspiration from Spotify Wrapped. These campaigns are living proof of the fact that Spotify Wrapped is a hit marketing strategy! 

Brand Campaigns Inspired by Spotify Wrapped 

Apple’s Replay for Apple Music is the brand’s response to Spotify Wrapped. However, the experience is currently web-focused and you’ll also notice that the brand does not flaunt strong statement graphics as Spotify Wrapped does. 

YouTube’s Music Recap is yet another year-in-review campaign similar to the Spotify Wrapped campaign. 

While all these campaigns perform reasonably well for their respective brands, none has attained the level of market command and robust social media dominance similar to Spotify Wrapped. 

No wonder, we witness a surge of brands embracing the Wrapped trend and an abundance of memes flooding the internet. Let’s explore a few such posts to inspire you in case you are planning to hop on the Spotify Wrapped bandwagon this year. 

HubSpot nails it in a simple text post 

Renowned CRM and inbound marketing tool HubSpot shared the below text post on their LinkedIn page. As can be seen from the crisp copy, the brand sticks to their niche while adopting the familiar format for their Wrapped version. 

The Marketing Millennials goes with a relatable meme 

We cannot stress enough about the need for incorporating memes in your marketing strategy, in order to boost engagement. And keeping these memes relatable is even more important. The Marketing Millennials joined the Spotify Wrapped trend this year with a relatable meme-style post that their target audience (marketers) can easily relate to. 

KIMP Tip: The signature template used by The Marketing Millennials is enough to instantly evoke recognition of the idea behind the post. This comes from creating a strong visual theme as Spotify does. 

Moz creatively includes its mascot for branding 

Popular SEO software provider Moz shared the below Spotify Wrapped spin-off. To add their signature brand flavor while retaining the familiar format, the brand incorporated their mascot Roger seamlessly into the design and the context. 

And their creativity also shines in their copy for the post. If you have been using Moz or if you are familiar with their products you might recognize that the copy is a subtle shoutout to various milestones for the brand this year. 

Other than these posts from popular brands, there have also been several memes about the Spotify Wrapped trend and its growing popularity in the social media realm. These posts are indirect free promotions for the Spotify brand which is not an easy feat to achieve. All of these are proof of the success of the Spotify Wrapped campaign. So, what marketing lessons are you taking away from this viral strategy? 

Ready to Explore Your Spotify Wrapped Inspired Strategy?

Ready to join the trend? Then you need to have compelling visuals tailored to showcase your brand’s distinctive style while maintaining the original theme. This is where a dedicated design team can make a difference. Opting for an unlimited design subscription ensures you have a reliable design team to handle all your design needs, including those spontaneous trend-hopping moments. So, what are you waiting for? Register now for a free trial and explore the benefits of unlimited design for your brand.