Nikita Mishra
Dec 05, 2022

Unwrapping Spotify Wrapped: What is the industry listening to?

The marcomms industry understood the assignment, followed the brief, and let music stay rent free in their head, just like an NFT. Here’s what the industry folks have been listening to this year

Unwrapping Spotify Wrapped: What is the industry listening to?

(Clockwise from top left: Jan-Paul Jeffery, Bart Buiring, Charles Lankester, Huiwen Tow, Anthony Yiu, Sean Donovan, Alana Zervos, Indy Khabra)

‘Tis the season—no, not Christmas or Twitter’s Met Gala but for the Spotify’s annual psych analysis or the Wrapped receipts to be handed out—marking the end of a year’s worth of careful audio personality curation for some.

What started as a humble marketing campaign ‘Year in Music’ in 2015, a feature for users to look back at their 365 days via songs became an instant hit only in 2017 when Spotify re-purposed and repackaged it into the current colourful, jazzy graphic release. While time-honoured competitors like Apple Music have tried to do something similar with ‘Replay’, it isn’t the same or as comprehensive and captivating. Let’s say, nothing announces the end-of-the-year as Spotify’s annual music vibe check (not even the barrage of 'let's circle back in January 2023 emails.')

For the uninitiated, Wrapped is a marketing campaign that keeps on giving—a personalised breakdown of what the users listened to, their top songs/artists/genres/podcasts are for the year—morphing a marketing campaign into a fan-first paradoxical image of self-reflection. And in the current world of terrifying data collection headlines, this year-end stat is truly a crown jewel of flexing one’s musical personality.

As the leading, nuanced voice in the marcomms industry, Campaign Asia-Pacific dips it’s tippy toes in viral trends that have more substance. Wrapped got us hookedwe had to turn to industry players to share their years’ top music choices.

Jan-Paul Jeffery
Head of marketing, SEA, Spotify

Top songs: Lack of love (radio mix), Love is not enough (original mix), Gratitude (extended mix)
Top artists: Rufus Du Sol, Adonis, Above & Beyond
Minutes spent: 6,501

No one truly knows you till they’ve seen your Spotify Wrapped. The boss man himself is a bit of a ‘replayer’he looped in 6,501 minutes this year listening to 829 artists, clearly a fan who goes through several music personality changes in a day. His audio day starts as ‘confident’, goes into ‘empowering’, and ends on a ‘positive healing’ notelet’s just say, Jan-Paul Jeffery exerts a seriously rich musical taste.

Bart Buiring
Chief sales and marketing officer, APAC, Marriott International

Top songs: Wicked game, Running, Hold on to the light-Remode
Top artists: Robin Schulz, Swedish House Mafia, Y.V.E 48
Minutes spent: 12,846

There is no factual inaccuracy in the statement that Bart Buiring had a key role in helping German artist Robin Schulz break into Spotify’s ‘One Billion Streams Club’. 12,846 minutes of emotional musical melodies and beatsno surprise that Buiring is an ‘adventurer’ in his audio taste. Why stick with one artist when there are hundreds of gems to be found?

Huiwen Tow
Head of strategy, Virtue APAC

Top songs: Jiggle jiggle, First class, How long do I have to wait for you
Top artists: Khruangbin, The Black Keys, Frank Ocean
Minutes spent: 28,185

When Tow is not smashing it at Virtue’s campaigns, she’s either grooving to Khruangbin or getting an unhealthy dose of anime. Wistful, slow-motion styles with Thai-inflected tunes of the 60s and 70s are her idea of tonal melodiesproudest achievement includes a top 0.5% listeners' ranking for this Texan band.

Indy Khabra
Co-founder and chief executive officer, Livewire

Top songs: Cold Heart, Stay with me, Fever
Top artists: Dua Lipa
Minutes spent: 40,353

Livewire CEO tops this list with a whopping 40,353 minutes of music in 365 days. He has Spotify-ed more than 87% of other listeners in Australia and redefines obsessive looping with Cold Heart (PNAU) played 178 times, the most listens happened on June 14, 2022. His funky taste is amplified other favourites like Stay With Me (Timberlake, Pharrell and Calvin Harris), and Dua Lipa’s Fever.

*Wait, 178 times? Well, the month of June was a specific mood for the Livewire top guy*

Charles Lankester
EVP, global reputation & risk management practice, Ruder Finn

Top songs: Get it on, Let’s Go Round, Love Train
Top artists: Adele Roberts, Earth, Wind and Fire, AC/DC
Minutes spent: 21,623

Another top fan in the list, Lankester has successfully schemed to make his audio playbook look cooler this year with a massive devotion of 21,623 minutes to music. Quite a maverick in taste, while everyone bathes in mainstream, Lankester passionately frolics in the side stream. He seizes the day with a ‘silly happy chill’, embraces the night with some ‘soft, feel-good’ music; guilty pleasure remains Get It On by T.Rex. Played on loop only 112 times on January 25, 2022.   

Alana Zervos
Associate director, culture, communications, and new business, Omnicom Media Group

Top songs: I'm on fire, Drown, I drink wine
Top artists: Adele, Bazzi, ConKi
Minutes spent: 12,228

Zervos’ Wrapped is written by Adele, owned by Adele, directed by Adele and stars Adele. Ranking in the top 7% of Adele listeners is an honour no one takes likely, much less a fan. 

*Living my dream*

Niall Hogan
Managing director APAC, Ogury

Top songs: Don't lose yourself, I bet you look good on the dance floor, Fake tales of SFO
Top artists: The Beatles, Arctic Monkeys, Bob Marley & The Wailers 
Minutes spent: 10,341

You can hide yourself from your friends, your therapist or even yourself, but not Spotify. Hogan played 1,576 songs this year and played them over and over again. Eminem’s 'Lose Yourself' tops his audio days and we get itthis is the rapper’s biggest hit, it's a show closing number which does sound deep when staring at an abandoned skyscraper or an apocaplytic cityscape. 

Sean Donovan
President, TBWA Asia

Top songs: Here with me, The Killers, Something to someone
Top artists: The Killers, Dermot Kennedy, Tom Walker
Minutes spent:  13,004

Profound empathy is palpable in Donovan’s annual music report card. Wearing multiple creative hats during the day, one of his proudest achievement is being in the top 0.05% fans of The Killers. Donovan dedicated 4,445 minutes of his year revelling in the brilliance of The Killers and listened to the artist 107-times with most listens on September 20, 2022.

*Nothing embarrassing here*

Pawares Vessukanmanukul
Chief creative officer, Wolf BKK 

Top songs: Build a bitch, Like 1999, Fallin’ all in you
Top artists: Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Blackpink
Minutes spent: 16,643

Pawares Vessukanmanukul passes the authentic pop-fan check: 16,663 minutes devoted to being a Swiftiewondering if I’m the only one who spends *that* amount of time sitting alone with my thoughts!

Anthony Yiu
CEO PHD Hong Kong

Top songs: This world, Hope to carry on, Faith my eyes (Caedmon’s Call)
Top artists: Caedmon’s Call, The Wallflowers, Eminem
Minutes spent: 545

Fan of acoustic/folk pop, Yiu gets his musical fix from a variety of apps, Spotify is just one of them. Kind of explains his worryingly low audio commitment in the Wrapped report.  

Hannah Parsons
Art director, RGA Tokyo

Top songs: Graduation day, Texts go green, Seagull
Top artists: Kanye, Drake, Lana Del Rey
Minutes spent: 25,755

Parson has a deep inexplicable love for frame-by-frame animation, tiny things and playing DJ—safe to say, her audio year was wild; and the report card reflects that. Colossal and claustrophobic, Ye’s Graduation Day made for non-stop listening this year and the kitty mom enjoyed a total of 25,755 music minutes.  

With inputs from Shawn Lim and Surekha Ragavan.

(This article first appeared on Campaign Asia)

Campaign India

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