How Spotify Used Psychology to Perfect Its Experience

Jennifer Clinehens
6 min readNov 27, 2023
Source: Adobe Stock

Spotify, the Swedish music streaming service, has one of the most admired digital experiences in the world.

With more than 570 million monthly active users and an impressive 226 million paying subscribers, it’s an easy-to-use, fun, and effective platform.

But how did this streamer become one of the world’s biggest and most admired companies?

Unsurprisingly, it’s down to a bit of psychology and behavioral science — applied knowingly (or not) to Spotify’s customer experience…

1. Spotify Wrapped: The Gold-Standard in Personalized Marketing

Spotify’s annual Wrapped campaign is one of the most admired (and copied) marketing campaigns around, and for good reason.

It summarizes and ranks a customer’s annual Spotify usage (dubbed “your year in audio”).

Then Spotify pops that data into a beautiful animated presentation that users can easily share on social media.

(You can watch some videos of real Wrapped campaigns here: 2021 ; 2022)

Wrapped combines data with some powerful psychology principles to make it fascinating to customers:

🧠 The Cocktail Party Effect

The most obvious psychology principle at play is the Cocktail Party Effect, which says that we naturally pay more attention to personalized information.

The effect actually got its name because Colin Cherry, the British psychologist who coined the term, studied what happened when people overheard someone mention their name at a crowded 1960s cocktail party.

The participant’s ears perked up, and their brains were able to filter out unnecessary noise to listen in on what people were saying about them.

Spotify’s Wrapped campaign is all about personalization, using a medium that is also uniquely emotional — their musical taste.



Jennifer Clinehens // Unlocking growth & engagement with behavioral science, AI, & psychology // FREE gift 👇👇