If you use Spotify to listen to music you should have already checked your Spotify Wrapped: the summary of all your activity on the streaming in the last year – including the most listened to artists, songs and musical genres – that you can share on social networks.
It is one of the most popular functions of the musical social network, which every December abounds on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and the best thing is that you do not have to pay anything additional, you just have to be subscribed to the platform for this feature to appear magically when opening the mobile app. But who came up with this idea?
Spotify attributes this marketing campaign to the creative team of the company without specifying anyone in particular, but the truth is that the concept of Spotify Wrapped as “stories” was raised by one person in particular and was never recognized for their contribution.
We are talking about Jewel Ham, an independent artist who has proven to be the one who invented the popular function that develops as Instagram stories within the Spotify app to make the summary more interactive.
In December 2020, the artist revealed to the magazine Refinery29 who had developed the idea during a three-month summer internship at Spotify. Additionally, she posted on Twitter the design concepts for the current Spotify Wrapped format that she created.
& mdash; jewel (@whateverjewel) December 2, 2020
He also wrote a Twitter post which read, “I really did invent the concept of Spotify Wrapped in history as an internal project in 2019 and they haven’t looked back from there again,” along with a sarcastic laugh.
The Spotify Wrapped feature started in 2016, giving its users a personalized analysis of their annual listening habits. However, at the time it wasn’t packaged in a fun, small, social media-centric format like it does now.
Before the summary was presented on a microsite and sent as an email link, but now the data appears directly in the mobile application in a custom video format that can be shared as a story on social networks with a single click. This particular form only started rolling out in 2019.
According ForbesIn just a few weeks, “more than 60 million users engaged with the in-app story experience” that year. It was also mentioned on Twitter more than 1.2 million times.
But Spotify Wrapped only started using the format thanks to Jewel Ham pitching the idea that time. “When I gave the presentation at the end of my internship project, it was very well received. They liked the idea. That was my last day, “he told Refinery29.
In 2019 Ham wanted to keep quiet, but in 2020 he decided to speak out because he felt that the particular show generated a lot of traction and became popular, and he never received recognition, a mention, much less remuneration for the idea.
Still, the artist does not want it to appear that she did not enjoy her experience, she claims to have had a good time there, but it is the extractive nature of the internships that is at the core of the problem.
“The things that I enjoyed the most about Spotify were very much related to the advantages: they have a lot of snacks, they have rooms for naps. But I feel like I have to distance myself a bit from all those benefits because that doesn’t translate into any kind of compensation for such a great idea, “said Ham.
However, following the artist’s reveal, Spotify denied the artist’s involvement. The company said that in recent years hundreds of people have contributed to improving Spotify Wrapped, but that Ham was not part of it.
“Spotify is proud to provide young talent of all backgrounds the opportunity to create, contribute and learn alongside some of the best teams in the business. Since the Spotify Wrapped concept was first introduced in 2013, hundreds of employees have contributed creative ideas and concepts that have made the experience what it is today, ”a spokesperson told Refinery29.
“While the ideas generated during the Spotify internship program have at times informed campaigns and products, according to our internal review, that is not the case here with Spotify Wrapped. It is unfortunate that things have been characterized differently, “added the representative. However, the design Ham posted on Twitter proves otherwise.
Either way, Ham remains firm with his version of events and in his portfolio he maintains the design of the concept of the Spotify Wrapped stories to present it in new job opportunities or projects. However, after the experience with the company of streaming Musician, he considers that he learned from his mistakes, so now he only works independently.