Expectations vs. Reality: Spotify Wrapped and Apple Music Replay

Putting Spotify and Apple Music to the test.

The Spotify and Apple Music debate is age-old. I thought that the only way to truly put them to the test would be their skills in recording their listener’s music habits at the end of the year. I reviewed them in the ultimate battle: Wrapped vs. Replay.

Disclaimer: These platforms collect listening habits from the beginning of the new year until the beginning of October. Most of the people featured in this article have Kanye and one has Rex Orange County on their lists which is not representative of their now-feelings on these artists.

Spotify Wrapped:

Sadie Bowlin: She expected her top artists to be Lana Del Ray or Ariana Grande with Running Up That Hill being her #1 song. In reality, her top artist was Lana Del Ray and Ariana Grande was her second. Her top song was Mia and Sebastian’s Theme from La La Land which she said she actually forgot that about but realized that it was number one because she used to study to it on repeat. Her second song was unsurprisingly, Running Up That Hill.

Ella Chapman: She expected her top artist to be Taylor Swift with her number one song being august. Her actual top artists was Taylor Swift with her number one song being I Know The End by Phoebe Bridgers and her second being august.

Emily Byrne: “I 100% expected Taylor Swift to be at the top. I expected country to be my top genre because 3 of my top artists are country not pop? I also didn’t expect Luke Combs because I don’t really like him and I don’t know how my favorite song Drops of Jupiter wasn’t on there because I listen to that on repeat. I expected some One Direction to be honest. My top artists were: 1) Taylor Swift, 2) Morgan Wallen, 3) Thomas Rhett, 4) Rihanna, 5) Luke Combs. Her top songs were: 1) Somebody’s Problem, 2) Unforgettable, 3) C’Mon, 4) august, 5) 7 Summers.” Honestly, I’m surprised Emily didn’t have a shocking song in her top five considering that the first thing that came on the last time I got in her car was Leaked by Lil Tjay. Yeah, I know.

Kofi Ayiku: “I expect my top 5 artists to be: 1) Steve Lacy, 2) Ravyn Lynae, 3) Grateful Dead, 4) Freddie Gibbs, 5) Young Nudy.” He said “Top songs are hard because I listen to too much, but I think I might get like Jimi Hendrix maybe as well or Radiohead near the end instead of Young Nudy.” His top artists actually were: 1) Steve Lacy, 2) Grateful Dead, 3) Kanye West, 4) Kendrick Lamar, 5) Tame Impala. He said that even though she was not one of his top artists, Ravyn Lenae did make his top songs and he said that TAKE ME HOME by Vince Staples has to be on his top 5. His actual top songs were: 1) Playground, 2) TAKE ME HOME, 3) Box of Rain, 4) Skin Tight, 5) Sunshine.

Grayson Gregg: The artists that he expected were: Daniel Caesar, Brent Faiyaz, Steve Lacy, J.Cole, Smino. The songs that he expected were: Don’t by Bryson Tiller, Beauty and Essex by Free Nationals (feat. Daniel Caesar), Cyanide by Daniel Caesar, Are You Okay? by Daniel Caesar, and Montego Bae by Noname (feat. Ravyn Lenae). His actual artists were: 1) Brent Faiyaz, 2) Daniel Caesar, 3) Tyler, The Creator, 4) Steve Lacy, 5) Kanye West. His actual songs were: 1) Get You, 2) Japanese Denim, 3) Found, 4) Wasting Time, 5) Sandstorm. Grayson has amazing music taste and I love any song that he recommends to me. Never doubt him.

Irene Liu: Her top song was This is Me Trying by Taylor Swift but she expected it to be Kiss of Life by Sade. She expected her top artists to be: 1) Taylor Swift, 2) SZA, 3) The 1975, 4) Brent Faiyaz, 5) Tyler, The Creator. Her top artists were: 1) Taylor Swift, 2) Kanye West, 3) Steve Lacy, 4) Brent Faiyaz, 5) Tyler, The Creator.

Willa Jones: She expected her top artists to be: 1) Taylor Swift, 2) Cage the Elephant, 3) Rex Orange County, 4) Tame Impala, 5) Steve Lacy. Her actual top artists were: 1) Rex Orange County, 2) Taylor Swift, 3) Cage the Elephant, 4) Steve Lacy, 5) Drake. Her top songs were: 1) KEEP IT UP, 2) Helmet, 3) AMAZING, 4) Amoeba, 5) Useless.

Lily Hutson: I definitely expect Smooth by Santana, something Brent Faiyaz probably Wasting Time by Brent Faiyaz (feat. Drake and The Neptunes), Kiss U Right Now Duckwrth, She Stole My Heart, and something by Hotel Ugly in my top songs. My top artists were: 1) Brent Faiyaz, 2) The Weeknd, 3) Steve Lacy, 4) Tyler, The Creator, and 5) Kendrick Lamar. I honestly was surprised that Kendrick Lamar was on my list which was probably a result of my continual obsession with Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers but the rest of my artists were definitely expected. My top songs were: 1) Crew, 2) Break From Toronto, 3) Dreams, Fairytales, Fantasies, 4) She Stole my Heart, 5) Shut Up My Moms Calling. Break From Toronto has been on my top 5 for the past two years and the rest of the songs are definitely not a surprise, although I did not expect Crew to be my #1 song overall.

Apple Music Replay:

Avery Voelkel: “I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift so that’s who I expected my top songs and artists to be, and I was correct. Taylor Swift was my top artist by far with over 23,000 minutes listened to her. A close second though was Zach Bryan, with my top album being American Heartbreak. Overall this is what I expected, though honky tonk as one of my genres was a little bit of a surprise.”

Emma Morrison: “I went through a Rihanna phase (July-September). I went through a Gasolina phase junior year, I can’t get into the car without listening to Cash in Cash Out. The top artists that I expected were: Kanye, Rihanna, The Weekend, and Michael Jackson and the top artists that I got were Kanye, Rihanna, The Weeknd, and Lil Wayne. The songs I expected were: ‘anything Rihanna like literally anything,’ Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, Smooth by Santana, Sideways by Santana, Roses by Outkast, anything from the After Hours album, Cash In Cash Out by 21 Savage and Tyler, The Creator, Heartless by Kanye, I Hope by Jay Lewis, Freestyle by Lil Baby, Solo by Future, ball w/out you by 21 Savage, OMG by Camilla Cabello, RAF by Asap Mob, About A Girl by Nirvana, Closer by Nine Inch Nails, and Miss You by Rolling Stones. The songs I got were: 1) Gasolina, 2) She Knows by Ne-Yo and Juicy J, 3) Lovely by Brent Faiyaz, 4) Low by Cracker, 4) Miss You by Rolling Stones, 5) Yo Voy by Zion and Lennox, 6) Woo by Rihanna, 7) Numb by Rihanna, 8) Pour It Up by Rihanna, 9) Heartless by Kanye.” When I expressed my surprise that Bad Bunny was not on her list, she said that she started listening to him in September which was not enough time for Apple Music Replay to include it.

I can’t stop listening to 21 Savage.

— Emma Morrison

Jacob Burke: Disclaimer: Jacob only likes Kanye albums before Late Registration. Another disclaimer, some of his music stats could be different because he listens to his favorite albums on CD (he begged me to include this). His predictions for his artists are: 1) Tyler, The Creator, 2) Steve Lacy, 3) Kendrick Lamar, 4) Kanye, 5) Playboi Carti and the top songs he predicted are: 1) Are We Still Friends, 2) Mercury, 3) EA, 4) Just, 5) Lyin 4 Fun. He was surprised that 21 Savage’s hit “a lot” was not in his top songs. The actual artists that he got were: 1) Tyler, The Creator, 2) Steve Lacy, 3) Yeat, 4) Kendrick Lamar, 5) Radiohead. His number one song was Mercury with 516 times played. Jacob is the type of person who you never see without earbuds in which explains why his 134,010 minutes listening to music for the year was not surprising. His expected #1 album was IGOR which he was correct about. He had a total of 1,214 plays for IGOR. There is an ancient debate regarding whether Steve Lacy or Brent Faiyaz is better, and we contribute to this by him recommending me Steve Lacy songs and me recommending him Brent Faiyaz songs.


Brent Faiyaz or Steve Lacy?


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In review, I can come to the conclusion that both Spotify and Apple Music were accurate in predicting what we thought our most-listened to music was. I have to admit that, as a Spotify listener, I am biased towards their method of reviewing a year’s music but, I am jealous that Apple Music Replay includes more than a listener’s top 5 songs, artists, and albums with minutes listened for each one. Despite this, Spotify has to take the cake with the colorful presentation of Wrapped and the list of songs you can find on the playlist that they create for you (“Your Top Songs 2022.”) Let’s be real, we know that Apple Music listeners become apprehensive about their platform when the time for Spotify Wrapped rolls around. However, it seems that everyone has a bone to pick with both Spotify and Apple Music. Everyone will admit that we are not proud of all of the music (and artists) that we listened to earlier in the year and although we like that we get these reviews before the end of the year, I think we would all be willing to wait until the end of December in order to see the true reflection of our music listening.