A look at QEH Year 13’s listening trends of 2020

Browse By

With Spotify’s highly anticipated 2020 Wrapped feature releasing on the 2nd of December, QEH’s Sixth Form common room has been filled with music-based chit chat for the last two weeks of term. But it hasn’t just been all the Sixth Form has talked about, seemingly the whole world has piped up with their music stats for 2020, to the point where last Wednesday, there where more Google searches for Spotify Wrapped than for the newly approved Covid vaccine. What we noticed though, was that anyone without a Spotify account (or worse, a shared account with a younger sibling) was deprived of the same Wrapped experience so many of us now get excited for each year, so I tasked myself with creating a 2020 Wrapped for all of QEH’s Year 13 pupils. I sent out a survey to anyone in Year 13 with a mild interest in music to fill in, asking for their top 5 Artists, songs, and their minutes listened, and here are the results:

Spotify Wrapped top 4 artists

Starting with the year groups favourite Artists, at number 5 was Polo G, a 21-year-old rapper hailing from Chicago, whose 2020 album “The Goat” peaked at #2 on the US Billboard Top 200. Slightly in front of him however was UK rapper Dave, clearly still reaping the rewards from his debut album “Psychodrama”, that won the Mercury Prize back in 2019. Kanye West was the next name on the list, which didn’t come as much as a surprise considering the number of Year 13’s that have sported his Yeezy brand on many a mufti day. But Year 13’s 2nd favourite artist of 2020 was Joji, who was just able to edge ahead of Kanye West and came as a nice break from the otherwise rap dominated list. Currently averaging over 15 million monthly listeners and having racked up over 3.6 billion streams, in only a couple of years Joji has been able to cement himself as one of Gen Z’s most popular artists.

But by far and away the most popular artist of 2020 for Year 13 was Juice WRLD, who was selected by over a third of all Year 13’s who filled out the form. The late rapper’s success seems to have mostly been down to his posthumous album “Legends Never Die” and in particular the song “Righteous” that will make another appearance later in the article. Juice WRLD’s popularity within Year 13 is far from unexpected though, Spotify posted the top 10 most streamed artists in the world and the rapper received the 4th spot. Considering Drake was the only English speaking artist above him, its unsurprising he featured at the top of our list, but it’s also more astonishing that Drake only received 2 selections from Year 13.  An honourable mention, however, should go to Charley Haley, a member of QEH’s Upper Sixth, who was apparently many of his peer’s top artist of the year, regardless of the fact he is yet to release a song.

Now looking at the year groups top songs, the 4th and 5th spots were highly contested, but “Real Love” by the Beatles and and “Me and My Guitar” by A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie were just able to scrape it into the top 5, with both songs receiving the same amount of selections. The 3rd most popular song was the 2017 track “8TEEN” by Khalid, that I thought was very fitting for a list compiled by 17 and 18 year-olds. Juice WRLD’s song “Righteous” then took the 2nd spot, once again showing the Chicago rappers popularity amongst QEH Upper Sixth’s music listeners.

Top Artist Spotify Wrapped


The top song of 2020 for QEH’s Year 13’s though, was Slow Dancing In The Dark by their 2nd most popular artist, Joji. Whilst the song originally released in 2018, it has been steadily attracting more buzz over the last 2 years. This increasing popularity can be chalked down to Joji’s rising notoriety, but also the song circulating on the video-sharing app Tiktok, although I’m sure those in Year 13 who selected the song will maintain that they discovered it by no such means.

What became very apparent from observing the responses to our survey, was the wide range of Year 13’s music interests, from movie scores to house music, and everything in between. But by far and away the most popular genre was rap, which reflects the general societal shift towards rap as one of the most listened to genre’s in the world, particularly with teens. This also speaks to the diversity of rap, that is no longer limited to the stereotypical violent sound it is often assumed to be, and has expanded to cater for any mood or topic young adults might want to listen to.

Top Decade Spotify Wrapped

This year Spotify also added a feature where they looked back at a decade the user had revisited, and for QEH’s Upper Sixth that decade would be by far and away the 2000’s. This is primarily due to Year 13’s interest in early 2000’s rock, but also thanks to the continued prevalence of Eminem, Kid Cudi and Gorillaz’ older projects. The year-groups favourite songs from this decade were Jesus Walks by Kanye West, and Someday by The Strokes.

It’s also evident that with the rise of streaming services, it’s now easier than ever to access music from all parts of the world. From Iceland’s Björk to Otoboke Beaver, a female punk-rock group from Japan, QEH’s musical interests are truly international. There was still plenty of love to go round for more local artists, however, such as UK rappers AJ Tracey and Stormzy, as well as the Bristolian Drum and Bass producer XDBR.

Final Spotify Wrapped photo

Lastly, Year 13 has listened on average to 61,966 minutes of music, which is approximately 43 days or 12% of the year. To put this into context, the average human in Great Britain spends  5% of the year eating, and a student at QEH spends around 13% of the year in school. More interestingly, if we use Spotify’s expected average per-stream payout rate of $0.0032 and a standard song length of 3 minutes and 30 seconds, the average year 13 student at QEH costs Spotify around $57, or £42.

That’s the end of QEH Year 13’s music Wrapped for 2020, but if next years Berkeley Squares team are up to the task, it would be interesting to see what results they might find this time next year. If the current Year 12’s turn out to be big fans of D-Block Europe however, maybe it’s for the best we don’t take this concept any further.