Each year, eager Spotify subscribers wait for the moment when their individual listening habits will be tabulated, quantified and handed back to them by the hugely popular streaming giant. The annual feature, called Spotify Wrapped, is an incredibly clever bit of programming that plays into our modern narcissism: If you’ve ever wondered if your taste in music could be laid out elegantly on something resembling a scorecard, this is your thing.
In 2018, however, Spotify’s Wrapped featured a new set of parameters to define listeners’ tastes: an astrology category.
Now hold on a minute, scoffing skeptics and judgmental realists. Wrapped’s new addendum isn’t just a BuzzFeed-style “What Your Birth Chart Reveals About Your Taste in Music” quiz. Instead, the streaming platform uses play counts to figure out which artists you’ve had on heavy rotation the past 12 months, and then deduces what the most common sun sign is among those artists. (For astrology novices, your sun sign is determined by your birthday).
“We always try to find fun new ways to illuminate the way Spotify fans have listened,” Alex Bodman, Spotify’s global creative director, told Observer. “And for our culturally obsessed core audience that lives on social media, this has very much been the year of the horoscope. They have never been more popular or relevant.”
He continued, “People love to talk about the type of star sign they tend to fall in love with or befriend, so we thought, Why not reveal the signs of the singers they listen to the most?”
The astrology feature was catnip for those among us who regularly die laughing at popular astrology meme accounts, or reply with, “Ugh, that’s such a Virgo thing to say” whenever our rigorously organized friends tell us that the best way to prepare for the new year is to buy a color-coded planning calendar.
Spotify’s astrological addition to their programming was indeed a zeitgeisty one: The ancient practice has been experiencing a resurgence in popularity. In a year defined by chaos raining down from all sides, and a calamitous sense of foreboding that makes the future all the more uncertain and intimidating, we can find comfort in a method of studying celestial bodies that dates back to second millennium.
Astrology soothes the anxious mind and helps you place your identity in a pleasurably low-stakes context. And if you’re too stubborn to take the whole thing seriously? Well, like Adele, you must be a Taurus.