The many faces of OPHS Spotify

Spotify releases their annual wrap of the year leads to many trends on campus

The many faces of OPHS Spotify

Angie Bleau/ Talon

Harry Styles. Olivia Rodrigo. Taylor Swift. The Killers. Even Ye, himself. 

These musical artists decorate many Oak Park High School students’ Spotify Wrapped (data collected from self-reported response to Instagram and Snapchat prompt), a colorful breakdown of their minutes spent on Spotify. This Wrap shows their top artists, songs and even genres. It is designed to show trends in their music and allows the user to post this graphic to social media. As a result, OPHS Instagram stories have been flooded with students’s own personal Spotify Wraps. 

According to Billboard, popular artists this year have been Taylor Swift, Harry Styles and Olivia Rodrigo. OPHS is unsurprisingly on trend with all three of these creators in its top five. 

What is it about these artists and their songs that appeal to students, and the greater world? Perhaps it’s nostalgia – Swift has been topping charts since before some OPHS students were born. Many of us obsessed over One Direction and then watched Styles’ solo career mature as we did. Another significant contributor is likely relatability. Rodrigo was 17 when she came out with her album “Sour” and her angst-ridden lyrics – from teenage restlessness to getting your driver’s license – is something students can identify with.

Although 2021 was Rodrigo’s breakout year, topping the charts is nothing new to Swift – who, according to Billboard, has been in the top ten artists consistently since 2017 – and Styles, who is also up there as well. From the data of OPHS’ listening interests, students who enjoyed Swift or Styles liked a variety of songs from different albums in the artists’s careers. According to Forbes, the key to success in the competitive music industry is knowing your target audience. For Swift, Styles and now Rodrigo, that fan base demographic is teenagers and young adults, if OPHS’ data is any indication. Their dominance on students’ Spotify playlists has come from, and will continue to be influenced by, the ability to churn out content that resonates year after year.

With a total of 365 million Spotify users worldwide and the growing popularity of Spotify Wrappeds, it will be interesting to see if it affects creators’s music in any capacity. How will artists maintain their authenticity while trying to climb global charts and land on as many people’s personal lists as possible?

In addition to the overwhelming trends of Swift, Rodrigo, and Styles, students also listened to rap, particularly Kanye (Ye) West’s Donda. One student’s unique Wrapped featured Hans Zimmer as their top artist, a composer known for scores of films across genres from “Dune” to “Kung Fu Panda.” 

As artists of the second most listened to genre, Indie Pop staples Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers, and Wallows got significant play. Arctic Monkeys, Weezer, and even some Guns n’ Roses crept in. Spotify also placed students’s taste into some interesting genres: “Weirdcore,” “Aesthetic Rap” and “Filmi,” just to name a few. Between that and the intrigue of “Bass Trap” and “Art Pop,” Spotify has some interesting classifications when it comes to music.

On the other side of the spectrum of OPHS’ notable genres, country music had a moment to shine. Some students’s top artists were modern icons Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and even Morgan Wallen. 

Individual Wraps also show the number of minutes users have listened to Spotify. OPHS listened to a total amount of 2,807,154 minutes — the equivalent of playing nonstop music for over five years straight. The student with the most time spent listening to music clocked in at an impressive 222,420 minutes. Their top three artists? Taylor Swift. Harry Styles. And Olivia Rodrigo, respectively.

It is definitely safe to say that Oak Park is hitting all the right notes.