My Meaningful Media

Music to My Ears

Sixty-four thousand, three hundred, and eighty-six minutes. How do you measure your music obsession?

Last year, I spent the equivalent of nearly 45 straight days listening to the digital music service Spotify. Thanks to the application’s 2017 “Wrapped” analysis, I was also able to review my top-played artists, songs, and genres, all while questioning my sanity.

The app, which has lived comfortably on the front screen of my cellphone for the last four years, boasts 71 million paying subscribers—a sign that, clearly, they must be doing something right. It’s changed how I interact with music, allowing for sharing, discovery, and curation. Even more meaningful is that Spotify is, quite simply, everywhere. My Apple TV, Alexa, and iPhone are connected. In the mornings, while getting ready for my day, I can just say a simple “Alexa, play my ‘Chill’ playlist from Spotify.” Or I can stream the app from my TV while friends are over.

Spotify is the one app that I don’t mind giving all of my data—it’s all in the name of personalization. Discover Weekly, a unique playlist generated for each user on Monday mornings, gives me the opportunity to experience new music and artists, all based on my listening habits and preferences. It’s incredibly intimate and, truthfully, I don’t know if anyone else knows me as well as Spotify does at this point.

The most important feature to me: custom collaborative playlists. Spotify allows me to create playlists with friends. In advance of a fun college reunion, we could compile our favorite songs from our years in school. It gives me the ability to send a song via text to tell a friend “I miss you” without having to say it. It gives me the opportunity to share a new song with a coworker with an “I think you’d really like this” tied to it or create a playlist specifically designed to ease the anxiety of a flight or get through my morning run. Curating a custom Spotify playlist for someone is the equivalent of a modern-day mixtape.

To me, media that evokes memories and feelings and that brings you tiny bits of joy just by opening an app is the most meaningful. Music—and Spotify—brings people together.