‘What’s a San Luis Obispo?’ California city trends after new Spotify Wrapped feature confuses users

Spotify’s annual roundup of users’ music habits dropped Wednesday morning — and San Luis Obispo, California got caught up in the online frenzy after an unusually high number of listeners were told their tastes were closely aligned with those of the not-exactly-well-known Central Coast city.

Spotify Wrapped shows users what they listened to the most over the past year, including rankings of artists, songs, albums and genres.

This year, though, Spotify added a new twist: “sound town,” which identifies the places where others were most likely to share a similar music taste as the listener.

On Wednesday, San Luis Obispo was trending on social media after an unusually high number of listeners were assigned the Central Coast city.

According to posts on X, San Luis Obispo Spotify users’ music taste often includes Taylor Swift; Tyler, The Creator; Frank Ocean; Childish Gambino; Mac Miller; The Backseat Lovers; TV Girl; The 1975: Phoebe Bridgers; PinkPantheress; The Strokes; Still Woozy; boygenius; and Harry Styles.

That eclectic mix featured artists from across the indie, pop, rap and hip-hop genres, though no two users seemed to get the same mix of three artists.

Many users who weren’t familiar with the Central Coast said they were confused by their sound town.

“This is like the most random place ever but i wish all of my san luis obispo homies a good day,” one user wrote.

Many users discovered San Luis Obispo for the first time via their Wrapped.

“Whys my sound town some random place whats a san luis obispo,” a user said.

Still others joked about the number of people who live in San Luis Obispo compared to the number that got it as their “sound town.”

“More people are tweeting about san luis obispo than even live there,” a user said alongside an image of the city’s population over time.

Cal Poly’s high student population — more than 21,600 in fall 2022, according to the university — likely played a roll in the area’s music taste on Wrapped, other listeners said.

“What are they trying to do in San Luis Obispo?” a user said. “They think I’m a cal poly student or something?”

On Google Trends, which measures online searches for topics over time, searches nearly doubled for the Central Coast city Wednesday as listeners started posting stories.

“Indie rock” and “independent music” were the highest related trending topics Google used with “San Luis Obispo” on Wednesday, according to Google Trends.

What else did Spotify Wrapped show?

Internationally, Taylor Swift dominated the top streaming artists of 2023, raking in more than 26.1 billion streams, according to Spotify. The world’s most-streamed artists were:

  1. Taylor Swift

  2. Bad Bunny

  3. The Weeknd

  4. Drake

  5. Peso Pluma

  6. Feid

  7. Travis Scott

  8. SZA

  9. KAROL G

  10. Lana Del Ray

This year’s top 10 songs included several that were produced by artists that were considered part of San Luis Obispo’s “sound town.” Those included:

  1. “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus

  2. “Kill Bill” by SZA

  3. “As It Was” by Harry Styles

  4. “Seven (feat. Latto) by Jung Kook

  5. “Ella Baila Sola” by Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma

  6. “Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift

  7. “Creepin” by Metro Boomin, The Weekend and 21 Savate

  8. “Calm Down” by Rema and Selena Gomez

  9. “Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” by Bizarrap and Shakira

  10. “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift

San Luis Obispo’s individual music and artist rankings were not available from Spotify.