I love my Spotify Wrapped, but there’s more to me than a list

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When you tapped your Instagram Stories last week, you were probably hit with screenshots of other people’s Spotify Wrapped or Apple Music Replay stats, maybe even mine — because I’m part of the (unsubstantiated) problem.

Sharing our musical interests with others is nothing new. From donating vinyl records to creating blazing mixtapes and playlists, people have always shared musical tastes. The music we listen to is an expression of who we are. By sharing those interests with others, you share an integral part of your identity.

But describing our musical tastes to others can be challenging because the details are as complex as we are. Most of the time, one genre, artist, or album isn’t enough to accurately represent the listening experience for others—which is why year-end reports play such an important role.

End-of-the-year music streaming recaps—like Spotify Wrapped, Apple Music Replay, and their less popular cousin, YouTube Music Recap—can use a year’s worth of data to create a report of the music you’ve actually listened to. to do

See: Spotify and Apple Music have your 2022 listening stats ready. Here’s how to get yours

Most importantly, these recaps present the data in a way that looks good and is easy to share with others. With a screenshot of your top five artists or songs, you can show everyone exactly how you’re creating your music listening rotation in a way that words just can’t.

Underlying our desire to share our musical tastes with others is our desire to fit in and find a community. When I first started college, someone told me to wear band tees because it was an easy way to find people who shared a common interest.

The same concept applies to sharing your music preferences with others online. People with similar music interests like you who swipe your story and want a quick chat that could be the start of a new friendship or at least a pleasant conversation.

Learn more about others and learn more about yourself. Every song ever created expresses a specific emotion that an artist is trying to convey, including heartbreak, love, anxiety, loss, happiness, and more.

“From the oddly specific to the unapologetically unpredictable, Rapt encourages listeners to see the vibrant kaleidoscope of what they’re listening to and show it to the world,” Spotify told me.

The best songs you hear represent the events you’re going through and looking at that information at the end of the year can be really insightful. For example, when I went through a bad breakup, one of the songs I sang the most that year was my heartfelt hymn. It was really interesting to see that result at the end of the year, because at that point I was recovering. Your report serves as an opportunity for personal reflection.

The ability to understand more about yourself by quantifying yourself and your habits into concrete numbers is fascinating — and it’s got people hooked. For that reason, the year-end stages have expanded beyond the music industry.

Last year, Hulu released a Year-end video streaming reviewShare trends you see while using the Service.

Duolingo, a language learning app and Strava, the fitness tracker, has also released annual review statistics for users. For both of these apps, statistics help users understand how much they’ve worked toward their self-development goals over the past year. They can also help them understand what they need to do to take a step closer to achieving their goals in the coming year.

Further: Why Hive Social Isn’t a Viable Twitter Alternative (Yet)

And there’s more: Snapchat is rolling out a specially curated ‘End of year story‘, which shows a summary of your Snapchat memories for the entire year. Instagram followed in Snapchat’s footsteps and last year rolled out the Instagram Playback feature, which also compiles users’ stories into one big collection at the end of the year.

Nostalgia and insight as you look back at your past year’s activity with these recap services.

But for the reports to accurately reflect your life over the past year, the app needs to document every instance of your activity. So, what about your life outside of apps?

If you went for a killer run that made you feel great, but forgot to log it on Strava, does that mean the workout didn’t happen? What about those times when you hear a new song on the breeze of a summer afternoon – and it doesn’t mean anything? What about that awesome coffee date you went on that you didn’t film because you were having too much fun, and now that moment won’t make your highlight reel?

While wrap-up services can provide a larger view of our stats for specific activities, the numbers are limited in what the app can track without every aspect of your daily life.

One solution is to document your daily life so that the results are actually more reflective. However, this level of detail creates a bias towards documenting your life in some form of media, which takes away from the joy of the moment.

Another, more practical solution is to take decisions with a grain of salt. This is not to say that these statements are meaningless. Reports are valuable, they’re a fun way to share interests with friends, and they provide personal insight—don’t forget they never show the 100% picture.

ZDNET’s Monday Opener is the start of the week in technology written by members of our editorial team.

Earlier on ZDNET’s Monday Start:


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