Every year end, Spotify Wrapped — an Instagram Story-like round-up of users' most-streamed songs — sends a ripple of excitement through the music streaming platform's users
While it is loved by millions of users around the world, many do not know that its design was created by an intern during the summer of 2019
In a series of tweets to prove herself as the brainchild behind Spotify Wrapped's in-app Story feature, Jewel Ham said she "invented the Spotify Wrapped Story concept as an intern project in 2019 and they haven't looked back since LMAO".
Ham, then a 21-year-old intern who was about to enter her senior year of college at Howard University, provided a link that leads to her website to show proof that she worked on the idea.
The idea board that Ham published on her website shows many of the familiar concepts that still exist in this year's Spotify Wrapped.
"What's missing?" Ham writes on the idea board, "While the stats are pretty interesting (and even come with a bit of screen-shottable bytes), Gen Z requires a bit [more] attention. We like to touch and feel; to scroll and post. With this in mind, I have retooled Wrapped, to allow for a more interactive approach."
In a tweet with over 170,000 likes published on 3 December 2020, Ham said she "can't make this up".
Prior to 2020, Spotify Wrapped was delivered to its users in a budget version of an Instagram Story-like format
If you could recall, to view your Spotify Wrapped in 2018 and 2019, you would have to visit a link — spotifywrapped.com.
It was an experience outside the Spotify app, where users had to go through their music listening round-up on browsers.
Back then, users tended to screenshot their browsers while going through their music reviews and share them on their Instagram Story or Snapchat.
According to Forbes, when the music streaming platform introduced the new feature in 2020, more than 60 million users engaged with the in-app story experience in just a few weeks, and it was mentioned on Twitter over 1.2 million times.
When Refinery29 reached out to Spotify last year for a comment about Ham who never got her due, the company said Ham's claims were inaccurate.
"Spotify is proud to provide young talent from all backgrounds with the opportunity to create, contribute, and learn alongside some of the best teams in the business," a spokesperson told Refinery29.
"Since Spotify's Wrapped concept was first introduced in 2013, hundreds of employees have contributed ideas and creative concepts that have made the experience what it is today."
"While ideas generated during Spotify's internship program have on occasion informed campaigns and products, based on our internal review, that is not the case here with Spotify Wrapped. It's unfortunate that things have been characterized otherwise."
Some netizens replying to Ham's viral tweet sided with Spotify, saying Spotify Wrapped has been an existing product since 2016 and that Ham merely repurposed Snapchat's idea onto an existing product on the streaming platform.
With that said, Ham said she had already "moved on" from the conundrum
Writing in an Instagram Story yesterday, 2 December, she thanked everyone for the support she received for her contributions to Spotify Wrapped.
Echoing what she tweeted last year when she revealed that she "invented" Spotify Wrapped in its current mode, Ham encourages young creatives to free themselves from corporations and become independent artists.
In September, local girl group Dolla appeared on Spotify's New York Times Square Billboard in New York City: