Wednesday, Nov. 29, Spotify released its 2023 Wrapped, which analyzes listener data to create a personalized array of infographics outlining users’ top songs, artists and genres of the year. Wrapped has quickly become an annual tradition, with music fans eagerly awaiting their results to post on social media. Similarly, Nov. 28, Apple Music released Replay, their annual listening recap.
The Flat Hat asked 212 students at the College of William and Mary to share their Wrapped or Replay results. Here’s what we learned about their listening habits.
Our respondents love to listen to Taylor Swift. 56 respondents reported Taylor Swift as their top artist, representing 26% of responses. That is more listeners than the next 17 artists combined. Noah Kahan followed Swift with nine respondents listing him as their top artist. However, his hit single “Stick Season” was tied with Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” for the most popular top track of the year.
Sydney Shoulders ’26 was among five responders that had Lana Del Rey as their top artist. She cited the release of Del Rey’s album “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” as a driving factor for her listening habits.
“I think it’s because she has an album this year. My top artist is always the artist I like that had an album this year,” Shoulders said.
Lace Grant ’24 has an alternative view about her top artist.
“Mitski has been my top artist for two years in a row. Never changes. I’ve been a fan for a long time,” Grant said.
Adam Farris ’24 connected his top artists to his listening habits.
“My top artist was Lizzy McAlpine,” Farris said. “I listen to specific artists when I’m doing specific things. I listen to her when I’m studying, walking, anything. Adele, I just have on, sometimes. Yaruma is a pianist I listen to when I’m trying to study. Shibi is fun to have in a car with people.”
The students surveyed collectively listened to over 8.5 million minutes of music in 2023. The classes of 2025 and 2026 recorded the highest averages, with north of 40,000 minutes on average each. The class of 2027, however, lagged far behind the overall average for the College, reporting just 33,145 minutes of listening time.
74% of respondents reported typically listening to music while studying, while just 40% reported it as being an activity they did while with friends.
“I listen to music for a lot of reasons,” Joey Scappa ’24 said. “Sometimes to invoke a certain vibe, I like listening to slower atmospheric music when it's raining. Sometimes to just fill the space, usually when I'm driving.”
For Farris, listening to music is a medium that allows his mind to focus on the task at hand.
“Listening to music is a way to keep my thoughts centered on what I'm doing,” Farris said. “Studying is one of those things where, if I'm studying, it’s classical or instrumental. If I’m driving, I’m listening to music instead of picking up my phone.”
Pop music emerged as the favorite genre of those surveyed, with 58 respondents out of 212 listing it as their Wrapped or Replay top genre. Indie and rock were similarly ranked, with 28 and 26 respondents listing each as their top genre, respectively.
Shoulders was not surprised when her Spotify Wrapped listed indie rock as her top genre.
“Indie rock just goes with everything. It can be happy or sad. It’s very broad in its emotionality,” Shoulders said.
Maya Lewis ’24 listed R'n'B as her favorite genre.
“It’s not too fast, and it gets the message across,” Lewis said.
In 2023, our respondents listened to 201 unique top tracks by 112 artists in 44 distinct genres. Lace Grant ’24 has a positive outlook looking forward to the coming year.
“I’m excited for the future of music,” Grant said. “Lots of people are on the rise, longtime artists are becoming experimental, and new artists are using the internet to make it to the top. Music has gotten more accessible in the last few years.”
Pooja Muthuraj ’26 sees the future of music as a tool for change and activism.
“I think, in 2024, music will become more of a political tool and medium towards social change than it has been in the recent past,” Muthuraj said. “We’re in an era where all of our behaviors and consumptive choices are taking on a political and moral connotation, whether intended or not, and I think our listening habits are no different.”
The data featured in this story was collected by The Flat Hat Data Section in a survey conducted online during the period of December 4, 2023 to December 19, 2023. Participation in this survey was voluntary, and responses were anonymous unless respondents opted to self-identify. The survey was distributed via Flat Hat social media, the William and Mary Student Happenings Newsletter, and by word of mouth. Members of The Flat Hat Staff were permitted to take the survey provided that they were not involved in the writing or editing process of this article. The original survey can be found here. In total, 212 respondents completed the survey, representing 3.05% of William and Mary’s total undergraduate student body.