Marketing Genius of Spotify Wrapped

At the end of each year, Spotify releases your “Year in Review”. Spotify Wrapped gives you a few statistics about how much you listened to Spotify, your top songs, artists, and genres. This may seem like just a cool feature, but it’s actually a really smart marketing tool.

I recently wrote a post about my personal Spotify Wrapped, and in the midst of writing that I realized the marketing genius behind Spotify’s biggest marketing strategy.

Spotify Interest Spikes at Year End

Below is the Google Trends chart for the search term “Spotify”. Each spike in searches for Spotify comes during the first part of December when Spotify Wrapped is released. As you can see over the past four years, Spotify has seen a bump in interest and searches around the release of their Year in Review content.

Google Trends – Interest in Spotify

I think this chart is a perfect indicator that this end of year marketing strategy is working. And as the Wrapped content has been optimized from year to year, the interest and hype surrounding the content has grown.

Apple Music released a similar feature in 2020 to Spotify Wrapped. Apple’s version is called Replay. Replay resulted in a similar spike in interest to Spotify’s in December 2020.

Spotify Makes Wrapped Content Specifically For Sharing

Spotify embraces psychology to encourage people to share their Wrapped music to their social media. I know that people were posting their Spotify Wrapped in my Instagram feed, and I’m sure you saw at least a couple posts about your friends’ Spotify Year in Review. Wrapped is specifically formatted for mobile devices and allows users to share directly from the app.

Why Spotify Wrapped is So Sharable

  • Surprising Statistics: The statistics for how many minutes you listened to Spotify can be surprising. If you’re a music lover, you may love to share the fact that you listened to music for twice as much as your friends.
  • People Love Their Favorite Music: Spotify has created content that allows people to share their favorite artists and “brag” about their taste in music. This also stimulates conversations around music and Spotify.
  • FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): As people see others sharing their Year in Review posts, they too want to get in on the posting. Someone who isn’t using Spotify may even try the app because they want to have their own Wrapped content to post.
  • Hyper-Targeted, Personal Content: People love seeing content and statistics that apply to them. Spotify does this very well with Wrapped. It gives people playlists to listen to, graphics to share, and statistics about their use of Spotify.

How Wrapped Also Works with Influencers

Spotify Wrapped is not just for listeners. Spotify also creates content for bands and artists who share their music on Spotify. When bands get new statistics about how many people listened to their music, and how long they spent listening, the bands (who likely have large followings of music lovers on social media) can share that content with their fans.

This is influencer marketing, but Spotify doesn’t have to pay the influencers (the bands) the share the Spotify branded content.

Examples of Spotify Wrapped – Top Songs & Artists

Spotify Wrapped Top Artist
Spotify Wrapped Top Artist
Spotify Wrapped Top Songs
Spotify Wrapped Top Songs
Spotify 2020 Wrapped
Spotify 2020 Wrapped

Which marketing tactics have stood out to you recently? Let me know on Twitter.

My Spotify 2020 Wrapped

At the end of every year Spotify gives users “Wrapped”, which summarizes the music and podcasts you listened to that year. I think Spotify Wrapped is a really smart marketing tactic, as it gives users sharable content which helps promote Spotify on social media (and now on my blog).

How To Find Your Spotify Wrapped 2020

If you’re looking for your Spotify Wrapped for 2020, this video explains how to find your top artists, songs, and podcasts of the year.

Continue reading “My Spotify 2020 Wrapped”

Best Finance Books for Young People Who Want to Be Rich

If you’re young and you’ve recently started your first “real job” you might be going through a scenario that I went through a few years ago. I wanted to know how to grow the money I was earning from my job. I had very little knowledge other than a few quick things I’d read online.

I made a few stupid investments, trying to chase big returns and “get rich” quickly. Then I decided it was time to educate myself and make smart money decisions. These are a few of the books that really made a difference in how I make decisions about money.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

I Will Teach You To Be Rich Cover

I first came across Ramit Sethi on The Tim Ferris Show podcast. He discussed his main principles for generating wealth, managing money, and investing intelligently. Sethi’s book I Will Teach You To Be Rich is a step by step guide to achieving financial freedom.

The finance industry is littered with gurus who claim to have the best method for quick gains in the stock market, or which cryptocurrency is the next one to explode in price. Sethi is a welcome voice of reason when it comes to investing for the long-term, prioritizing certain financial goals, and optimizing your career.

Ramit Sethi’s Key Points

  1. Establish a Good Credit History
  2. Manage Your Debt
  3. Establish Emergency Savings Fund
  4. Start Investing As Soon as Possible
  5. Track your spending. Spend Consciously.
  6. Automate Your Saving and Investing
  7. Invest Intelligently
  8. Maximize Your Income
  9. Save Money on Major Purchases

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter

Rich Dad Poor Dad Cover

I’ve listened to quite a few Robert Kiyosaki podcasts and I have to say I’m not the biggest fan of the financial advice he gives. He takes a very conservative approach to investing, like recommending investing in gold and real estate. However, Rich Dad, Poor Dad is full of great money advice and really focuses on “rich” and “poor” ways of thinking about money.

Kiyosaki discusses how his father had a very “poor” mindset about money. His father treated money like a limited resource that he had to hold onto and protect as much as possible. His friend’s father (referred to as “rich dad”) had a completely opposite way of thinking about money. He approached money as an infinite resource that could be acquired easily, and as a tool for building and creating new ways to make money.

I realized that I was holding onto some assumptions that I had about money that weren’t optimal for maximizing the money I already had as well as my future earnings.

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek is less about investing money and more about rethinking the way that we earn money. Ferriss explains how charging people for your time is incredibly limiting. There are only so many workable hours in the day, so you will eventually reach a limit of how much money you earn if you are charging by the hour.

The 4-Hour Workweek talks about how outsourcing certain tasks, starting online businesses, and working towards passive income can drastically increase your wealth and your happiness.

Bonus: The Very, Very Rich and How They Got That Way by Max Gunther

I read this book about a year ago and found it really useful for framing the way that MASSIVE wealth is created. This book details the journeys of some of the most notorious multi-millionaires in history. It shares stories of how Conrad Hilton, Howard Hughes, and others took rather straightforward ideas and pursued them with enough commitment and passion to turn them into multi-million dollar businesses.

This book is less useful for learning personal finance principles, but I still enjoyed these business magnates’ stories.

Don’t Monetize, Build a Community

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about how to monetize your blog or social media as soon as possible. This desire to make money from your content really just leads to your content being low quality. As soon as you start throwing affiliate links in every post and filling your page with ads, you’re no longer seen as a genuine or trustworthy resource.

Why I’m Building a Community First, Not Income

I want my blog to be a creative outlet for me. I’ll share personal stories and insights, news that I find interesting and strategies I’ve used or struggled with. I want to build a community of readers that are interested in the topics I’m writing about. I’ve met very few SEO professionals in person, so I’d love to be able to discuss topics that I don’t really have an outlet for anywhere else.

I already have a full-time job, which pays my bills. Supplementing that with income blogging would be awesome, but that’s a LONG-term play. I’m going to focus on growing traffic and readership first.

Community Is More Valuable Than Money

If I have a community of engaged readers, the whole community will get far more out of my content than if I was just focused on getting ad clicks or affiliate sales. If I need an answer to a question, more freelance work, or just someone to discuss an issue with, a community can provide that.


The idea that “community is more valuable than money” relates to this blog, but is also an important idea that I really believe in. I know that having a tight group of friends and family will get me through anything I encounter. I encourage you to think about this if you are prioritizing work/money over your people. Thanks for reading.

Cheers!

The Best Books I Read in 2020

One of my resolutions for 2020 was to read 25 books. I got a Kindle at the end of 2019, so I was fully equipped to knock out my goal. I loved nearly every book I read, so either Amazon’s recommendations were perfect or I just have a knack for picking good books.

These books stood above the rest as the five best books I read in 2020:

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

This is the best story I’ve ever read. It might just be the best story ever. Endurance is about a man’s ambitious plan to cross the Antarctic in the 1910s. In the middle of their journey the ship is trapped in pack ice and the crew is forced to sit idle for months. Finally the ship is crushed and slowly sinks. The 28 man crew is now in the middle of the Antarctic sea hundreds of miles away from the nearest land or any hope of rescue. After an unbelievable journey Shackleton’s entire crew is rescued successfully.

2020 may have been the perfect time to read this book. Stay-at-home orders around the country may have led to a bit of cabin fever, but 9 months in a dark, frozen sea would have led me to absolute insanity. The 28 men were able to stay in good spirits for all of it, and even maintained hope of survival.

Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga by Hunter S. Thompson

I’d read books by Hunter S. Thompson before, but this one is definitely my favorite. The Hell’s Angels are wild. The TV specials about the rowdy and violent group don’t do the Hell’s Angels justice. Hunter S. Thompson embeds himself with the Angels and provides a picture of the sex, drugs and violence within the infamous group of bikers.

The Club King: My Rise, Reign, and Fall in New York Nightlife by Peter Gatien

Peter Gatien was one of the most recognized names in the New York hospitality industry for decades. He is the former owner of Club USA, The Limelight, Palladium, and Tunnel. Gatien is the ultimate entrepreneur before it was the “cool” pursuit that it is today. The book covers his rise to notoriety and his downfall that resulted from drug use in his clubs.

My time working at a nightclub in college led to a fascination with large clubs in places like New York, Miami and Las Vegas. This book gives a look inside the wild, fascinating industry of bars and nightclubs. Gatien was a genius when it came to running nightclubs — and this book tells his story.

The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution by Gregory Zuckerman

I read an article about Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies a few years ago so I was familiar with the mathematics-based investment firm. Renaissance Technologies controls the Medallion Fund, which has consistently out-performed the S&P 500 by an insane percentage for decades.

This book tells the story of how Jim Simons went into finance even as his academic peers advised him against it. He led the finance industry to adopt algorithmic trading strategies, and clearly he has figured out how to make it work.

My Week at the Blue Angel: And Other Stories from the Storm Drains, Strip Clubs, and Trailer Parks of Las Vegas by Matthew O’Brien

This book is like a real life account of a Charles Bukowski book. O’Brien is a journalist and author who lived in Las Vegas for 20 years of his life. This book covers people living off the strip and in the older, dirtier, and poorer parts of Las Vegas. He spends a week at the Blue Angel which is a seedy motel on East Fremont Street. The motel is known for prostitution, drug dealing and violence and O’Brien gives us a look at the people who live and work at the Blue Angel.

One of my favorite parts of this book is a trip that O’Brien takes into the storm drains and sewers of Las Vegas. He talks with people living in the “underworld” of Las Vegas and shares their stories.

Chasing YouTube Monetization

I started a YouTube channel for work back in early 2018. I posted videos related to internet privacy tools that my company made. Then at some point I sort of forgot about the channel and let it sit inactive for six months or so. When I returned later and checked my channel’s analytics I saw that a couple of the videos I had made had slowly accumulated over 10k views.

Why I Started a YouTube Channel

I’m an SEO Specialist and I realized that YouTube videos could actually rank on Google for certain types of searches. I would just create video versions of blog posts that I had already written. It allowed me to reach new people that I wasn’t reaching with my blog posts alone.

Growing On YouTube

I quickly saw that the same SEO tactics I was using to rank blog posts and get views worked on YouTube. I saw potential to grow my channel into a more valuable resource for marketing privacy products and sharing information about internet privacy.

SEO is much different than other forms of internet marketing because it is more focused on long term traffic and engagement. People can take the same approach to growing on social media, but most people chase viral content that may or may not work.

My YouTube Growth Has Been Slow and Steady

One of the keys to my continued growth has just been consistently posting. I’ll admit, I have neglected my channel at times but so far I’ve always come back to it. I encourage anyone who is on the same journey as me to just keep going. Every time you post, you’re giving people another opportunity to find your channel.

YouTube Channel Analytics

My Tips for Growing on YouTube

  • Post Consistently and Often: The easiest way to grow is to post a lot. Every video on your channel is a new place to gain views. If people see that you’re posting often, they are more likely to return to your channel to check for new videos. Don’t expect to get to 1000 subscribers with one or two videos — Play the long game.
  • Your Videos Don’t Need to Be Perfect: Looking at other YouTubers with thousands of subscribers can make you think your videos need to be perfectly edited, with fancy intros and end screens. People often use that as an excuse not to post. When you’re first starting out, you may only get 8 views on your videos. So unless you truly enjoy the editing process or you want to learn how to edit, it’s not worth it to spend 5 hours editing a 5 minute video.
  • Do Some Research: Part of being good at SEO is doing research. Look at what successful YouTubers use for their titles and descriptions. Search for topics you know about and see what the top videos look like. If you emulate what is making these videos successful, you won’t have to go through the learning period that these YouTubers did.

My 2021 Goals for My Internet Privacy YouTube Channel

I want to focus more on growing my channel in 2021.

  • Post 31 videos in January: You can’t get more consistent than posting every day. I know that by posting every day I will get a lot more views and gain more subscribers that I was getting before. After I get in the habit of posting every day in January, I hope to continue that consistency through the rest of the year.
  • Gain Monetization on My Videos: I’m close to being eligible for YouTube’s partner program. I need about 250 subscribers and 2000 additional public watch hours to be eligible. I don’t expect to make a ton of money with YouTube, but the extra incentive to create videos would be awesome!
  • Improve My Video Quality: Right now my videos are just me talking to the camera. I hope to include more screen sharing and graphics in my videos in 2021.

Give me some love on YouTube, if you have a second.

What Podcasts I’m Listening to in 2021

These are just a selection of some of the podcasts I listen to regularly. Let me know if you have any recommendations of your own!

The Joe Rogan Experience

The Joe Rogan Experience

The Joe Rogan Experience is a free podcast hosted by American comedian, actor, sports commentator, martial artist, and television host, Joe Rogan. It has grown to become one of the world’s most popular podcasts, regularly receiving millions of views per episode, and includes a wide array of guests.

What I Like About The Joe Rogan Experience

In 2020, long-form conversation was something I really missed. I found the Joe Rogan Experience as an escape into long conversations about this and that. Rogan also talks to some super interesting people, like Elon Musk, Kanye West, and Bret Weinstein. I’ve learned a lot from this podcast and recommend 99 percent of the episodes to friends.

How I Built This

How I Built This with Guy Raz

How I Built This is an American podcast about “innovators, entrepreneurs, idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built” produced by NPR.

What I Like About How I Built This

I’m not an entrepreneur myself, but I still find these stories incredible. It’s so interesting to hear that large companies like Zappos or Clif Bar were started by a single ambitious individual who hustled from their apartment for months or years before seeing their business explode in popularity.

Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People

Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People Podcast

Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People features interviews with thought leaders, legends, and iconoclasts such as Jane Goodall, Stephen Wolfram, Margaret Atwood, Woz, Martha Stewart, and Leon Panetta. Every episode will make you a little more remarkable.

What I Like About Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People

Remarkable People really dives into the lives and motivation behind some very important and influential people. Guy Kawasaki is a great host and asks questions that lead to deep thoughtful conversation. Start with the Jane Goodall episode, her story about how she left home at a young age is so interesting.

The Tim Ferriss Show

The Tim Ferriss Show Podcast

Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been translated into 40+ languages. Newsweek calls him “the world’s best human guinea pig,” and The New York Times calls him “a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk.” In this show, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use.

What I Like About The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferris is one of my favorite podcast hosts. Whenever a guest gives a piece of advice or discusses their methods, Ferris always pushes a step further to get very specific, detailed descriptions from his guest.

Barbend Podcast

Barbend Podcast with David Tao

Each week, the BarBend Podcast brings together some of the world’s biggest strength names across weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit, strongman, and more. BarBend Editor and Co-Founder David Thomas Tao sits down with the strength community’s smartest and strongest minds to with a focus on their learnings through training, competition, and coaching.

We dive deep on their journeys and where strength training has taken them. World record holders share their competition secrets. Coaches give their most underrated tips. And top thinkers and researchers from the realm of strength science go deep on their most promising findings. This podcast is the perfect companion for experts and beginners alike, covering a wide range of topics to keep listeners up to date on the world of strength.

What I Like About Barbend Podcast

I’ve tried listening to a number of “fitness” or “training” podcasts, and many of them are just bros being bros and discussing their lifting PRs and favorite supplements. David Tao’s Barbend Podcast takes a very science-based approach to fitness and strength training. I recommend this podcast to anyone looking for information about how to get strong and how to train intelligently to avoid injury and overtraining.

Freakonomics Radio

Freakonomics Radio Podcast – Stephen J. Dubner

Freakonomics Radio is an American public radio program which discusses socio-economic issues for a general audience. The show is a spin-off of the 2005 book Freakonomics. Journalist Stephen Dubner hosts the show, with economist Steven Levitt as a regular guest. The show is also distributed as a podcast, and is among the most popular on iTunes. Created in September 2010, it is a weekly podcast.

What I Like About Freakonomics Radio

I read Freakonomics (the book) shortly after graduating from high school. I had very little understanding of what economics were, but the connections between different events and phenomenon in Freakonomics were fascinating. I enjoy this podcast because it takes a deep dive into subjects that may at first seem uninteresting…and every episode presents a fascinating takeaway.

The Mind Muscle Project

The Mind Muscle Project

A podcast dedicated to finding the most effective training and nutrition methods on the planet.

What I Like About The Mind Muscle Project

The hosts of The Mind Muscle Project are very knowledgable about all types of strength training (CrossFit, Bodybuilding, and Powerlifting). They discuss marketing their own personal training and gym businesses, common training mistakes, and the best training for different people based on their goals.

Business Wars

Business Wars Podcast from Wondery

Business Wars is a podcast hosted by David Brown and produced by Wondery. The podcast premiered on January 20 2018, and consists of more than 150 episodes.

It critically examines “business rivalries” between two organizations (or between two brands) and tries to derive a conclusion concerning the success or failure in the form of a single episode or a series of episodes.

What I Like About Business Wars

Business Wars tells the stories of massive businesses and how they got that bit. It does so in a way that is incredibly entertaining and exciting. The voice actors in the show reenact conversations that happened in the process of these businesses growing.

My favorite season of Business Wars covered the battle between Anheuser-Busch and Miller to become America’s biggest brewery.

My First Year of CrossFit

I started going to a CrossFit gym in early 2020. I had been working out at a “globo-gym” for a few years and I was tired of it. I would go to the gym 5-6 times per week and not talk to a single person. My workouts were still enjoyable, but I was in the mood for something new.

So I found a CrossFit gym close to my house and I joined. I was already pretty familiar with CrossFit as far as the movements and style of workouts. The first day I went, I was hooked.

Why I Liked CrossFit

  • The Competitive Aspect: I noticed that whenever I workout with a partner, I’m able to lift more and go harder. I’m super competitive so when I first logged my scores and looked at everyone else’s I was determined to push myself and do my best for every workout.
  • The Community: The first day I went to CrossFit, I was so surprised by how friendly everyone was. People were asking me if I’d done CrossFit before and seemed interested in getting to know me. I felt super welcome and have made quite a few friends at the gym.
  • The Scored Workouts: Before I did CrossFit, I’d follow some lifting program I found online and increase my lifts until I couldn’t any more. And then I’d start over at lower weights and start to work myself up again. At my CrossFit gym, every workout is logged in an app called “Wodify”. I find it super helpful to be able to look back and see what weight you used the prior week. This and being able to look at the weights increasing overtime have really kept me making progress.

The Improvements I Made

In 2020, I went to CrossFit 128 times. I went the most of any guy at my gym, and was able to get the most PRs (personal records) of any guy.

  • Olympic Lifting (Clean & Jerk, Snatch): One of the reasons I was drawn to CrossFit was seeing Olympic lifts included in workouts. I wanted to improve my Clean and Jerk and my Snatch. I was able to improve my form and my comfort in both of these lifts. As I grew more comfortable I was able to put more and more weight on the bar and actually hit the lifts. I’m still working towards my goal of 225# C+J and 185# Snatch.
  • Conditioning: I loved Metcon style workouts from the first time I tried CrossFit. Even though I was really “fit” when I showed up at CrossFit, I rarely did conditioning work or HIIT training. I would do cardio or play basketball, but nothing like what CrossFit prescribes. While I’ve seen my strength numbers increase, my conditioning has improved also. My times for benchmark workouts have improved drastically.
  • Strength: I’ve gotten so much stronger this year. I started out not being able to deadlift 300 pounds and now I can deadlift 355. My squats have gotten much deeper and I’ve increased my one rep max from around 250 pounds to 300 pounds. A group of us at the gym completed the Smolov Squat Program which was the main driver behind me improving my strength in all lifts, not just the squat.

CrossFit is very results-focused. If you’re feeling stale in your gym routine, or are looking for a very effective way to get in shape, I recommend trying out CrossFit. It’s not for everyone, but I love it and I’d encourage everyone to try it out. I love pushing myself super hard and seeing where my limits are, and CrossFit is a perfect place to do that.

@stewofkc

Yo! Critique my snatch so I don’t suck any more. Plz.

♬ Red Kingdom – Tech N9ne

I hope 2021 brings you loads of health, wealth, and happiness! Thanks for reading.

How Do You Respond to Setbacks?

So…I hurt myself.

Last week during a set of deadlifts I felt a tweak in my back. I was able to finish the set without much pain, but after standing up after the last rep I knew my back was fucked.

I tried to do the next workout, which involved rowing, and every stroke was super painful. So I quit early and headed home.

It’s been a week and I haven’t been able to workout at all. I went for a short bike ride last night, but after about 20 minutes my back started to hurt so I cut the ride short.

How To Put Your Goals Aside?

Without being able to go to the gym, I end up having a couple extra hours of free time in the afternoons. I have to admit that it’s been rough. The gym helps me feel good and feel like I’m accomplishing something every day. But now I have to focus on getting back to 100 percent.

When I got injured I was in the middle of an intense squat program. My goal was to reach a one rep max of 315 pounds. Sticking to that program will likely be impossible unless I have some sort of magic healing in the next couple of days.

What happens when circumstances change while you’re pursuing your goals and suddenly you aren’t able to charge 100 percent ahead? Should I shift my priorities elsewhere? Why is it so difficult for me to just accept that I am injured and can’t continue towards my goals right now?

I want a ROCKSTAR Business to Promote

One of my favorite parts of marketing is finding the positive, unique or exciting aspects of a product or service to promote. Every marketer wants to work with a business that is already a rockstar.

The reason is obvious: A great product is way easier to market than one that sucks.

Customers are the Best Marketers

When trying to convince other people to take action, one of the most effective factors is being authentic. The most authentic spokesperson for your business is a satisfied customer. Not only will this person likely return to do business with you, but they will be likely to share their experience with their network of friends and peers.

Another perk of having your customers market your business is that people will be more likely to trust people they already know than to listen to your advertising.

So What Can Your Business Do?

I’d say a huge lesson here is when hiring marketing professionals, make sure this person is someone that could use your product and love it. If you’re selling fitness apparel, but your marketing team is made up of 300 pound obese men, the lack of authenticity will shine through your brand’s messaging.

If you’re running a large business, there are plenty of marketing people out there using your product or service. Find those people and get them to become your marketing team. Their favorite aspects of your business, will also be the most important to the people you want to do business with.