The Year in Review: Spotify Makes Music With User Data

December 10, 2013

As an avid social media user, I’ve often wondered where my data goes once it’s entered into the system – where are those tweets and Facebook posts stored? How are key words analyzed and (probably) sold to the highest bidder? How does my data compare with data from someone halfway across the world?

And honestly, it didn’t seem like I would ever get those answers. Big data is hailed as an amazing, and equally puzzling, tool for marketers, business owners, user-experience designers, sales teams… the list goes on. It doesn’t really mean anything to me. Big data affects my recommendations, the ads I see, suggested people to follow. But that’s expected. It doesn’t surprise me, or inspire me, or engage with me – until now.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 12.32.10 AMTo celebrate the year in music, Spotify dug deep into big data from its billions of users and released the 2013 Year In Review, a reflection on the last 12 months of music created by people around the globe.

Instead of your average listicle, the interactive design reads like an infographic and takes the user on “an adventure through space and time.” And data. Spotify designers illustrate macro statistics about the global base, and bring it back to a micro level and personal overview of your year in music. This is all while scrolling through a pretty rad “live” infographic that brings the location (and music) to life on the screen in front of you.

In addition, tunes can be played throughout the experience, encouraging music discovery and creating easy access to songs from cultures and countries other than your own. The result? A well designed, highly-interactive piece of sharable content. And all from data they already own.

I’ve included some highlights below, including a couple skeletons from my personal Spotify closet. (I promise I liked The Neighbourhood before they hit Top 40.) If you haven’t already, check out Spotify’s 2013 Year In Review.


Spotify’s 2013 Year in Review

  • 4.5 billion hours of music have been streamed in 2013. If one person listened to all that music, it would take more than 513,000 years.
  • Talk about a user base: 24 million Spotify users are currently active (at the moment I pulled this information).
  • There are 20,000 songs added every day, which accounts for approximately 2,000 albums each day added to the Spotify library.
  • The largest playlist library belongs to a user in the U.S. with more than 90,000 playlists.
  • The most played song in a single day was Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” with 1.5 million streams.
  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis had a banner year and were named Global Chart Toppers in Most Popular Male, Most Popular Track, and Most Popular Album.
  • New Yorkers have an “Empire State of Mind” and listen to Jay-Z 88 perecent more than the rest of the world.
  • It doesn’t sound like Adam Levine needs a “Wake Up Call” anytime soon. Singapore listens to Maroon 5 281 percent more than the rest of the world.
  • Rumour has it, Londoners listen to Fleetwood Mac 162 percent more than the rest of the world.
  • Stockholm listens to Abba 110 percent more than the rest of the world. Mamma Mia!
  • Auckland Kiwi’s are fiercely loyal to their local favorites: The Naked and the Famous and Lorde. Talk about Royals.


My Year in Review:

  • I’ve streamed approximately 32.3 consecutive days of music during 2013.
  • It’s been an Awesome Wave… wait, I mean ride. And alt-J takes the prize for my top artist and top album.
  • I’ve listened to my top song 70 times, totaling more than six hours.

My top ten tracks:

  • Global Concepts – Robert DeLong
  • Hacienda Motel – Pickwick
  • Sweater Weather – The Neighbourhood
  • Get Lucky – Daft Punk
  • Retrograde – James Blake
  • Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris
  • Hands on the Wheel – Schoolboy Q
  • She Wolf – David Guetta
  • Lady, You Shot Me – Har Mar Superstar
  • Midnight City – M83