Spotify’s Head of Global Marketing Experience Explains Why This Year’s Wrapped Is the Realest Yet

Today, the biggest Wrapped we’ve ever created debuted on Spotify. Not only is it live in a whopping 170 markets and 35+ languages, but it’s also taken on a more prominent role in our app, with integrations spanning DJ, audio listening rooms, Blend, merch, and more. In a year in which Spotify brought more to users than ever before, 2023 Wrapped stands to unite all of our offerings in one unforgettable experience. 

This year’s personalized Wrapped experience is also full of new data stories, including a twist on Your Top Artist that showcases how your relationship with your favorites has changed over time. It also features Sound Town, which highlights the city that has the most similar taste profile to yours, and video thank you messages from your favorite artists—submitted by over 40,000 creators—right in the Wrapped experience.

It’s all the result of a special company-wide collaboration between teams across Spotify. As Global Head of Marketing Experience, Louisa Ferguson builds those connections across every moment of the campaign strategy, end-user journey, and global roll-out. A music and Wrapped fan herself, she’s especially excited for the ability for fellow fans to be able to share their Your Top Song playlists with friends—a long-awaited, much requested update. 

For the Record asked Louisa to unpack the thinking, data, and creativity that contributed to 2023 Wrapped.  

Describe the 2023 Wrapped vibe. 

Every year, it feels like the world is moving faster. The internet is converging with real life. There’s something about this past year that felt especially chaotic with regards to how people consumed culture. We really wanted to acknowledge that feeling because it felt very accurate to 2023. Amidst all this, we realized that “your Wrapped doesn’t lie.” The data is real. And so we leaned into creating the realest Wrapped ever.

The design for 2023 Wrapped is inspired by the early aughts. How did the team land on this creative approach in tandem with the “realest Wrapped ever” theme? 

The Wrapped identity this year reinforces the “real” theme in a playful way. We were inspired by the nostalgia of early internet expressions, and the idea of crafting them through a modern lens. We used a layered approach to dial up and down various elements to create layouts that feel fluid and dynamic. We’re always looking to push the boundaries, and we know that every year, there’s debate that Wrapped inspires. We welcome that, and we expect this year will be no different.

I would also add that there’s so much time and thought around developing a scalable design system. You have to think about what will work for the languages across all the markets we’re working in. I think the team did an incredible job of marrying this nostalgic playfulness vibe with some of the very functional requirements that come with delivering this experience at an enormous scale.

Where did the idea for the genre sandwich come from?

Genre is a fan-favorite data story for sure. This year, we were especially interested in visualizing and quantifying the genres against one another, which we haven’t always done in the past. If you think about last year’s genreverse, those genres were all merchandised together—it was one next to the other. This year, we’re showing your relative listening when compared between genres, which meant we had to do something layered. We landed on a sandwich because it had both global relevance and could be customized in a fun way. There’s a bunch of different bread types, and then the genres take up different levels of height within the sandwich. It’s also just fun. 

Interactivity and engagement are key to the Spotify experience year-round. How did you translate it for 2023 Wrapped? 

Wrapped is the capstone of what has been an incredibly delightful year of Spotify interactive experiences. We started off the year with Playlist in a Bottle and were overwhelmed by the positive user response. We expanded the My Top Five franchise. We also developed a genre-based experience called “Find Your Flow.” These experiences represent a new way of thinking about marketing and product at Spotify. And there’s more coming after Wrapped, which I won’t give away just yet. 

Originally, we believed these experiences needed to be short and sweet. But we’ve found that there’s a cohort of fans that really want to go a level deeper. They want to engage. This was really exciting because it inspired us to do even more data-rich, complicated experiences. We also learned that market nuances really matter, and for Wrapped, these learnings just reinforced the need to think critically about global versus local campaign executions. 

Wrapped also comes to life for fans beyond the app. What’s new IRL this year? 

First and foremost, something that happens in real life is friends asking each other “what’s on your Wrapped?” 

We’re also throwing tons of events around the world to celebrate the year in music. Those are going to be complemented by out-of-home experiences with interactive components. We’ll also reveal our top artist through a special billboard moment in several cities across the world. I think what’s become really wonderful about our Wrapped celebration for the global top artist in particular is that it’s given us permission to really deliver special experiences for fans. Some of our coolest, craziest work comes from those collaborations. Critically, it’s a celebration for the fans as much as the artist. We’re able to recognize both and celebrate the achievement. 

Predict your own top artist and podcast of the year.

I think it’s going to be a very strange battle between Fred again.. and Dizzy Gillespie. I’m all over the place! For podcast, it’s likely going to be Popcast, followed by The Daily. I’m just a New York Times girl, clearly. 

Catch Louisa’s Top Songs of 2023, then head to Spotify Wrapped to find your own.