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Spotify beats Apple at its own game with its Wrapped year in review feature

Spotify beats Apple at its own game with its Wrapped year in review feature


An exclusive for Spotify users, not Apple Music fans

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Like it does every year, Spotify today gave users a reminder of their past with its “Wrapped” year-in-review roundup. And it seems like everyone is sharing their top songs and artists from the last year on Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks — well, everyone but Apple Music listeners.

Spotify users can revisit their top artists of the year, top songs, and, because 2019 also marks the end of a decade, their most consumed music over the past 10 years. Conveniently, the roundup is already formatted like an Instagram Story on the Spotify mobile app, and users can tap to share their recaps directly to their stories from Spotify. The Wrapped recaps have gone mildly viral with seemingly everyone sharing theirs. It’s even a Twitter Moment.

The widespread conversation is a big win for Spotify and a loss for Apple Music, particularly because Spotify is beating the famously exclusionary company at its own game. People want to share their Wrapped roundups, but unless they’ve been on Spotify and listening, they can’t just generate data.

Apple, more than any other tech company, understands the business incentive to build exclusive product features. iPhone owners can create Memoji and, most controversially, get blue bubbles in iMessage. No matter what someone does, they can’t access either of those features unless they switch to iOS. Apple Music has its own year-end roundup feature, too, but it’s not built for sharing, and even if it was, everyone is sharing the Spotify roundup, not Apple’s. People have noticed.

Streaming services used to entice people to subscribe with exclusives, like Jay Z on Tidal and Frank Ocean on Apple Music. That era ended. This week, Jay Z even opened his entire discography up to Spotify. Music is no longer the differentiator, so the streaming platforms will need to come up with exclusive features, and, as Apple knows, peer pressure is a powerful force.