Sep 23–26, 2019

Spotify Wrapped: Product, design, and deadlines

Leah Xu (Spotify)
11:00am11:30am Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Location: 1A 06
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 1 rating)



Marketing campaigns have become highly personalized. Leveraging aggregate and individual data, they create cultural moments that users eagerly anticipate. Spotify creates contextualized campaigns using troves of data in a personalized and GDPR-compliant manner. Data-backed marketing campaigns have short lead times and require tight partnerships between engineering, product, and marketing to capture the current cultural zeitgeist.

For years, Spotify has continuously raised the bar on holiday campaigns depicting consumers’ and artists’ year in music. Wrapped 2018 was Spotify’s largest marketing campaign, and the microsite and playlists quickly became the #1 trending topic on Twitter globally. The “Your Top Songs 2018” playlist received billions of streams within the first week, becoming the fastest growing personal playlist in Spotify history. Spotify created Wrapped experiences for hundreds of millions of artists and consumers in just eight weeks with an engineering team of four. Wrapped was publicly teased with countdown clocks. The deadline could not be missed.

Leah Xu sheds light on how Spotify creates Wrapped for hundreds of millions of users in an ecosystem ingesting millions of events per second and discusses the engineering trade-offs made to build and launch a big data product from the ground up.

Spotify has a deep understanding of user’s preferences. While creating Wrapped, the engineering team processed dozens of petabytes of data, producing multitudes of individual insights for each consumer and artist. The team created a flexible data architecture to shorten the feedback loop by minimizing the amount of data that needed to be reprocessed in each iteration. The team walked through the user journey to determine which tradeoffs to make to enable experimentation while balancing ever changing priorities.

Topics include:

  • Understanding the holistic use case, starting with the customer
  • Reconciling architectural constraints with a strong bias toward launching
  • Shortening feedback loops
  • Accounting for human fallibility
  • Properly communicating with stakeholders on privacy and security
Photo of Leah Xu

Leah Xu


Leah Xu is a software engineer at Spotify, where she works on analytics for marketers, real-time streaming infrastructure, and Spotify Wrapped. Previously, Leah worked on data infrastructure and secure deployments in the cloud at Bridgewater and Nest.

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Ana San Martin | GOBIERNO DEL dato
09/25/2019 6:38pm EDT

can you send the presentation please, I found it super interesting. Thank you

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