Don’t you just love the holiday season? Diwali. Thanksgiving. Hanukkah. Christmas. And, uh, Spotify Wrapped Day.
On Wednesday, the platform released its highly detailed annual survey of its listeners’ streaming habits. As in previous years, the Spotify data dump was a social media occasion, giving music fans the stats they need to show off their taste and perhaps pick fights with those who do not share it.
The data showed that Taylor Swift was the most-streamed artist on Earth in 2023, with more than 26.1 billion streams on Spotify, the company said. She is the first female artist to claim the top spot since the platform started Spotify Wrapped in 2015.
Bad Bunny, Spotify’s top-streamed artist for the last three years, was the runner-up. It was not a close second, according to Sulinna Ong, Spotify’s global head of editorial.
“Bad Bunny has had an enormous year and is still very much leading the cultural conversation,” Ms. Ong said in an interview. “I think what’s significant this year, and what I have loved seeing, is the dominance of female artists, not just in music, but actually in the cultural conversation, like with the ‘Barbie’ movie. That’s been the tone of 2023.”
The rest of the global top five included The Weeknd, Drake and Peso Pluma. In the United States, Ms. Swift was No. 1, followed by Drake, Morgan Wallen, The Weeknd and Bad Bunny.
In the days before the Spotify Wrapped announcement, the music platform dropped hints on billboards in 21 cities, including São Paulo, Brazil; Jakarta, Indonesia; and New York. Swifties began trying to decode them for hidden messages.
On TikTok, fans traded theories about an online image that seemed to show Ms. Swift with orange-tinted hair. Some of them offered the theory that the color orange signaled the imminent arrival of an album, “Karma,” that some of her supporters believe is locked in a vault.
Ms. Swift did not drop a secret album on Wednesday, but did make a track, “You’re Losing Me (From The Vault),” available for the first time on streaming platforms. She also recorded a short thank you video, which is available to some Spotify users as part of the Wrapped campaign.
Numerous other artists, including Dolly Parton and SZA, recorded thank you videos this year and released them to select Spotify users on Wednesday, Ms. Ong said.
The Wrapped campaign involves a complicated calculus of streaming data and listening habits. User data is tracked from January until just a few weeks before the campaign is released to provide an accurate, and surprisingly introspective, depiction of what went into listeners’ ears over the last 11 months.
Spotify’s release of listener data, which is designed to be easily shareable on social media, doubles as a marketing push. Apple Music, a rival platform, has its own year-end campaign, Replay, but it has yet to elicit the same online response.
On X and other platforms on Wednesday, Swifties traded notes on how many minutes they had spent in 2023 listening to their favorite singer.
“So Spotify wrapped is out and I can’t say I’m shocked! 116,000 minutes!” wrote one.
“I spent 40,952 minutes with taylor this year,” another fan wrote. “maybe i need to calm down.”
Not everyone shared in the excitement about Ms. Swift’s statistical victory.
“Happy Spotify Wrapped Day to all who celebrate. Many blessings,” wrote a non-fan. “Except to those of you who have Taylor Swift in your top 5.”
Other people seemed embarrassed by their own streaming data: “i love spotify wrapped season,” an X user posted, “because its just me going ‘OH NO’ to every one of my top artists.”