Nicolas Rogès

December 4, 2023

This article may contain affiliate links.

Why is the yearly recap a clever marketing strategy?

If you have an Instagram or X account, you couldn’t miss it. As with every year-end, between the end of November and the beginning of December, your yearly recap appears on your music streaming platforms, and many of your friends share their listening habits. It’s an almost unavoidable step, and let’s face it: everyone looks forward to these retrospectives. But why is the yearly recap a clever marketing strategy?

Source: Spotify website

In this new blog post, we take a closer look at the phenomenon, understanding where it comes from and how it has become a big step for many streaming platforms.

When did the yearly recap start?

In 2016, Spotify was the first to launch annual retrospectives based on each user’s listening. From the very first year, the initiative has generated a lot of buzz and attention for Spotify. It’s a popular tool on social networks, ergonomic and interactive, which immediately gains public support. 

With “Wrapped”, Spotify is positioning itself as a streaming service ahead of its competitors and at the service of its community. From a business point of view, it is a pretty clever strategy. The massive spread of listening statistics on social networks allows users of other streaming platforms to realize that Spotify is an innovative service. At the end of 2023, the Head of Global Marketing Experience explained what changes have been made to Spotify Wrapped 2023 in a blog post.

Yearly recap music streaming
Source: Spotify website

In 2019, competitors catch up. Apple Music unveils its “Replay”, and adds an easily shareable option in 2022. TIDAL launched its annual summary, “My Rewind,” in 2020, and a year later, it’s YouTube Music and Deezer‘s turn to follow the trend.

Behind the yearly recap: a clever marketing strategy

Since its launch, Spotify Wrapped has been almost universally hailed as a brilliant marketing initiative. In 2021, Adweek Media revealed that social media managers from McDonald’s and PepsiCo and the marketing director of El Pollo Loco cited “Spotify Wrapped” as one of the best marketing strategies of the year. There are few things comparable in terms of user endorsement of a product.

In 2020, Spotify won several Webby Awards and trophies for web-marketing services. The Swedish company won Best Data Visualization, Best User Experience, Viral Marketing, and Integrated Campaign awards. 

Yearly recap music streaming
Source: Apple Music website

By sharing their listening habits on their social networks, Spotify’s millions of users are doing the best advertising for their streaming service. They show that they use Spotify intensively and are even proud to show their listening statistics. It’s a form of validation of everything that makes up Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, or TIDAL and is, therefore, now indispensable in developing a brand strategy.

Sharing a Wrapped, a My Rewind, or a Replay means becoming an actor in promoting a brand, validating it, without the brand itself asking for anything.

Do platforms need to do it? 

Today, not making an annual retrospective available would be shooting oneself in the foot for streaming services. What was once a technological curiosity is now a means of reinforcing the weight of one’s brand. And that’s why every year brings its share of new features. But it also means each platform races to get its retrospective out before the others

Yearly recap music streaming
Source: Deezer website

It also has a measurable impact. In a recent article, Forbes reveals the following data based on research by SproutSocial:

“Social media analytics company SproutSocial found 400 million posts were made on X, formerly known as Twitter, about Spotify Wrapped in the three days following its 2022 release, a 15% increase from the year before. The year prior recorded an even bigger increase: The number of posts on X about Spotify Wrapped in 2021 jumped 461% from the previous year, SproutSocial found”.

In 2021, The Hustle revealed that the Spotify Wrapped of 2020 enabled the platform to increase the number of downloads of its app by 21%.

Being first

In 2023, Apple’s Replay arrived a few days before Spotify’s Wrapped. Competitors are trying to be the first to release their year retrospectives. The aim? To create frustration among Spotify users, who see that their acquaintances using Apple have access to data they can’t share. In this way, Apple positions itself as more innovative, or at least further ahead, than Spotify. My Deezer Year arrived on November 28, before Spotify. 

Source: Deezer website

When Spotify’s Wrapped comes out on November 29, 2023, it’s almost as if they’re behind the times. As if they are copying what Apple and Deezer have done before them. Even though, as mentioned above, it was Spotify who launched the Wrapped concept before anyone else. Here’s another interesting point about recaps from a business point of view: they fuel word of mouth. And make everyone feel special with personalized information that users can brag about to their friends and family.  

With annual recaps, a psychological marketing war is at stake.

Spotify Wrapped VS My Deezer Year VS Apple’s Replay VS YouTube Music Recap: what’s the difference between the yearly recaps

Apple Replay is becoming more and more interesting every year. In 2023, Apple comes closer than ever to Spotify. Yet Apple still has some way to go. Particularly in showcasing original statistics, which now appear to offer little differentiation from those offered by Spotify and its competitors. 

Deezer, with My Deezer Year, works in much the same way as its competitors. In 2023, they have chosen to present the statistics as tarot cards. An original way of distinguishing itself from the competition! Deezer goes even further, offering a personalized quiz and concert recommendations—a great way to extend the listening experience. My Deezer Year has become an increasingly serious player in the race for the “best summary” of the year.

Yearly recap music streaming
Source: YouTube Music website

For its part, YouTube Music has focused on personalization. Based on your listening habits and their distribution over time, YouTube Music creates personalized “cards”. These correspond to a “mood” and are almost unique. You’ll also be able to link your photos stored on Google Photo to your music recap to create even more personalized cards. It’s an exciting feature to be perfected over the next few years, but one that sets its recap apart from its competitors. 

Even if each streaming service has its own specificities, only how information is highlighted differs according to Apple, Deezer, or Spotify. It’s up to you to choose what you prefer. Even so, from the feedback we’ve read to write this article, Spotify is considered more exhaustive and ergonomic than its competitors

Yearly recap music streaming
Source: Spotify website

So, for the time being, Spotify is ahead of the game. Their Wrapped is also, statistically, the most shared on social networks. But for how long?

Yearly recap & Soundiiz

Soundiiz is not involved in creating yearly reviews, which are not accessible directly from your Soundiiz interface. Wrapped, Recap, and other annual reviews remain exclusive tools linked to your music streaming platforms. 

On the other hand, imagine that you find Apple Music’s Recap more attractive than yours. You might want to try out what Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube Music, or Spotify have to offer next year. And change your streaming platform.

It couldn’t be easier. Using our Transfer function, you can switch from Spotify to Deezer or from Deezer to Apple Music in just a few minutes. Soundiiz is compatible with most existing streaming services, allowing you to go either way.

You can read this article to understand the procedure. All you are left to do is enjoy your new streaming platform! And maybe your annual summary will look different from this year’s next year.

Ready to try Soundiiz ?