New Surprise: Burlington, VT Takes The Spotlight In Spotify Wrapped


As music lovers eagerly await the unveiling of Spotify Wrapped, this year’s personalized music roundup features a surprising twist. Among the various highlights and statistics that Spotify provides, users are being assigned a “Sound Town” that matches their music taste. And in an unexpected turn of events, Burlington, Vermont has become an oddly popular Sound Town choice, despite its relatively small population of around 44,000.

Key Takeaway

Burlington, Vermont has become an unexpectedly popular Sound Town in Spotify Wrapped, despite its small population. The apparent connection lies in the town’s affinity for indie rock bands like boygenius and Big Thief, particularly among the queer community. This phenomenon sheds light on the influence of artists and the formation of virtual queer communities within music streaming platforms.

So Why Burlington?

Curiosity has sparked discussions on platforms like Reddit and Twitter, with some even jokingly suggesting that Burlington’s tourism board paid off Spotify. To delve deeper into this phenomenon, a spreadsheet was created to collect data from 20 individuals who were assigned Burlington as their Sound Town.

Upon analyzing the trends, it became apparent that certain indie rock bands like boygenius and Big Thief were disproportionately popular among this subset. These bands, comprised of queer artists such as Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, and Adrienne Lenker, have garnered significant followings within the queer community. Their Grammy-nominated music, characterized by its introspective and socially conscious themes, resonates strongly with queer fans.

With a combined monthly Spotify listener count of millions, these artists exert a considerable influence on Spotify’s dataset. Consequently, those who listen to boygenius are likely to listen to Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and related artists, further contributing to the Burlington trend.

Burlington’s Diverse and Forward-Thinking Vibe

According to the mayor of Burlington, the town is known for its diverse and forward-thinking community, firmly entrenched in arts and culture. The city’s reputation aligns with the music tastes associated with Burlington in Spotify Wrapped. A resident of Burlington corroborates this, stating that the town is home to a significant number of “sad gay college students with wide varieties of music tastes.”

The designation of Burlington as the “lesbian capital of the US” by some online commenters adds another layer to this phenomenon. It seems that Spotify’s algorithm may be inadvertently creating virtual queer communities by assigning Burlington as the Sound Town for those with similar music tastes.

Adjacent Sound Towns and Taylor Swift’s Influence

Burlington is not the only Sound Town with a unique music taste representation. Cities like Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Berkeley, California also exhibit similar patterns. A lighthearted joke circulating online suggests that Spotify is attempting to create gay, lesbian, and bisexual communes in these respective locations.

However, the Burlington anomaly becomes even more intriguing when individuals assigned to the town have entirely different music tastes, favoring “dad rock” bands like Steely Dan and Grateful Dead. This reinforces the understanding that Burlington is not a homogenous entity.

Another factor that skews the data is the omnipresence of Taylor Swift, Spotify’s most-streamed artist with a staggering 107.7 million monthly listeners. Out of the analyzed data, Taylor Swift appeared in the Top 5 artists for eight individuals assigned to Burlington. It is worth noting that Taylor Swift’s popularity extends far beyond this dataset, as she captivates a global audience.

Lastly, the rising folk star Noah Kahan, hailing from Strafford, Vermont, also contributes to the Burlington phenomenon. With his collaborations and chart-topping album “Stick Season,” Kahan has gained widespread recognition, attracting fans who are subsequently assigned Burlington as their Sound Town.

What’s Next for Burlington’s Music Scene?

While the assigned Sound Town does not have any direct impact on an artist’s tour schedule, it is possible that the newfound association between Burlington and popular artists like boygenius may garner attention for the Vermont city. Whether this will lead to future tour stops or increased interest in Burlington’s music scene remains to be seen.

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