Color Grading: Spotify's <I>Wrapped</I> honors Taylor Swift
February 27, 2024

Color Grading: Spotify's Wrapped honors Taylor Swift

LOS ANGELES — Colorist Matthew Schwab played a pivotal role in bringing to life Spotify's Wrapped campaign for Taylor Swift. The work, which is gaining attention again following Swift's win for Album of the Year at the 66th Grammy Awards and the 2024 kick-off of the international leg of her Eras Tour, saw Schwab's expertise in color grading enhance the visual experience for millions of Swifties worldwide.

Spotify's Wrapped initiative celebrates the top-streamed artists, albums, songs and podcasts of the year. It also provided users with personalized statistics, offering a unique reflection of their year in music. Taylor Swift was hailed as Spotify's most-streamed global artist, with more than 26B streams in 2023.

The colorful work was directed by Believe Media's Floria Sigismondi and is set to sound design and a mix by Swell. The piece integrates Swift's music into the Spotify platform, where the progress bar transforms to match the color palette of each respective era. Additionally, select fans were treated to personalized messages of gratitude from Swift herself, along with exclusive shareable content.  

Schwab, alongside Flawless Post (, played an important role in ensuring the visual cohesion and impact of the campaign. Large practical sets were built to match CG backgrounds at Flawless, requiring seamless incorporation through color grading and VFX compositing. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Hieronymus Bosch, Andrew Wyeth and Chinese scrolls like Zhang Deduan's "Along the River During the Qingming Festival," Schwab employed his expertise to give the color a painterly, textural feeling, reminiscent of his own experience with oil and watercolor painting. He leveraged tools like Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve to ensure consistency with the desired look set throughout the production process.

“DaVinci Resolve 18.6 was a perfect tool for this project,” Schwab explains. “For the practical video, I used a combination of layers in the edit tab, importing mattes, creating garbage mattes with alpha outputs, and the new Magic Mask tool. For comparison to the digital art, I could grab value tones and color HEX codes to match grade. This versatility made sure the final look was consistent with the many practical and CG layers.”

Schwab’s set-up included a Mac Studio M1 running Ventura, and a Sony BVM-HX310 monitor.

"Working on Spotify's Wrapped for Taylor Swift was an exhilarating experience,” says Schwab. “Being able to contribute to the visual storytelling of an artist of Taylor's caliber was truly inspiring. I'm immensely proud of the final result and grateful for the opportunity to play a part in such an iconic campaign."