This August we had our first-ever Virtual Star Jam! The Star Jam is an annual event where Spotify Community staff and Stars in the Star Program get together (usually in person) to celebrate what they've accomplished over the last year and to have fun and create closer friendships with each other.
Stars are super users who volunteer their time in the Spotify Community to help users and to help improve Spotify. Due to the pandemic, we weren't able to have an in person Star Jam in 2020. We all still wanted to be able to get together and have fun, so this year the Jam happened virtually through video calls. Going virtual was amazing because this turned out to be the most attended Star Jam ever. Removing physical barriers and not limiting the Star Jam to the Top 10 contributors of the year meant that more Stars could join and they could do that from the comfort of their home. Oh, and we didn't forget about the swag! Stars were mailed a goody box to their house so they could still get the usual Jam swag. Inside the goody box was stickers, drink coasters, and a notebook with an up-cycled vinyl record on the cover, all with the Star Jam 2021 logo and everything having a vinyl record theme.
Jam (noun): a gathering where musicians play together : a song or track : a sweet spread or preserve made from fruit and sugar boiled to a thick consistency
Stars and Spotify Community staff attended this year's Jam from all over the world, from Brazil to Scotland to the United States. We're talking attendees from 14+ countries! To learn more about where our Jam attendees are from you can check out this blog post here by @Hubo. We also created a Star Jam playlist with some of our favorite jams (hehe) if you're interested in listening to it.
To start off the Virtual Jam, @Jose_M hosted a coffee chat video call that served as a way for us to break the ice and get the Jam started. During this video call we first talked about our favorite drinks and snacks and then answered questions to get to know each other better. We then played some fun team games. ☕
💜Desktop Discussion Q&A (Hosted by Dan from the Desktop Team)
For our second event of the Virtual Jam, Dan and the rest of the Desktop Team hosted a video call all about the new Spotify desktop app and web player. During this video call we learned more about the new desktop app and got a sneak peek at what's coming in the future. Dan and the team also answered questions from the Stars. 🖥️ 💻
Tuesday - August 17:
💜 Tone of Voice Q&A (Hosted by Jack and the QA Process Team)
During this video call we were joined by Jack from the QA Process Team, who shared his best tips and tricks on how to have a nice tone of voice when helping out users.
During this team building event hosted by @Noah, we first introduced ourselves and answered a few questions such as our favorite food from our country and an artist we would choose to have with us during a zombie apocalypse. We then participated in a few games to improve our communication skills. The first game involved one participant describing a photo using only geometric shapes, and the other participants then drew their interpretations of the description. We then shared our drawings to see how close everyone came to the original photo. In the second game, we played Gartic Phone, an online version of the classic "telephone game". We definitely had a blast playing these games! 🖌️ 📃
💜 Podcast Discussion Q&A
(Hosted by Zak, Community Manager on the Podcast Editorial Team)
During this video call hosted by Zak, we learned about his work building up the Community around podcasts. The goal is to have greater participation in podcast discussions just like we currently have for music.
Wednesday - August 18:
💜 Confidence Workshop (Hosted by Kristy from Push)
During this video call hosted by Kristy from Push, she talked to us about confidence and taught us how to develop self-esteem and overcome self-doubt.
💜 Performance by Kyan
During this video call, the amazingly talented Kyan gave us a special performance of some of his songs. Kyan has a great performing style of first talking about the story behind the song before singing each song. After the performance, Kyan answered our questions and we had a great time getting to know each other. 🎤🎹
💜 Meditation Session (Hosted by Rachael from Push)
During this video call hosted by Rachael from Push, she guided us through a relaxing meditation session. We asked questions and got great tips on how to meditate. 🧘
💜 Q&A Session with the Editorial Team (Hosted by Sammy)
During this video call, Sammy from the Editorial Team talked about what he does on the team. He also gave us insight into the editorial process and answered our questions.
Friday - August 20:
💜 Community Roundtable (Hosted by Community Staff)
During this video call, Community staff talked about the recent Community redesign and what's coming to the Star Program in the future. Stars gave their feedback on what they like about the Star Program and also how it can be improved. We also talked about what we envision the future Star Jams to be like going forward. Teamwork makes the dream work! Everyone had really great feedback and this was for sure one of our favorite calls. 💚⭐
During this fun escape room video call, we traded in our real names for cool aliases and had to look for clues to help a prisoner escape a max security prison. It turns out they had "lax" security and we were able to escape. Our awesome names were: Noodles, ?, Moon man, Mrs. Diesel, Barcelona, Kroton, Marshmello, Fire boy, Black Cat, Darth Vader, Hamster, Nobody here, Matt Damon, The Terminator, Rob Zombie, and Stargirl. Give a round of applause for the amazing actors that gave us this fun experience! We were all laughing and having fun! 🧩 🔑🚪
Here's what some of the Stars have to say about this year's Jam:
@Jose_M says: "This Virtual Jam was a great way to meet many Stars from all over the world and chat with people we see in the Community only as a username."
"This was the first time I'd attended a Jam, and it was a blast! From hearing insights about Spotify's plans for the desktop app to learning about how Spotify's editorial team works, this year's Virtual Jam was a great opportunity to interact with Staff as well as with fellow Stars."
"It was awesome that the virtual format for this year's Jam allowed so many more people to participate and get to know each other better. For me, it was really exciting to get to interact with various teams from Spotify and get some insight into all the work that goes into this product we're so passionate about, and I felt like they all appreciated getting the chance to meet us as well. Looking forward to seeing how this year's approach might affect future Jams."
"This year's Virtual Jam was totally different than the usual Jams. It was so great to see everyone again, do so much fun stuff together and really get to know all the folks behind the Spotify Community. The Community Team and Stars have done it again by hosting and organising awesome virtual events and calls."
This year's Virtual Star Jam was such a blast and we had lots of fun during the week! Thanks to all of the Spotify staff who helped plan the Jam and thanks to all the Stars who attended! 💚
While we definitely had fun virtually, we still miss being able to connect with each other in person. During the roundtable video call, we all said we'd like to see a hybrid event in the future where some people attend in person and some can participate from home, so that the Jam is more inclusive without losing the in person aspect.
We also have a blog post here by @Luan with a throwback to the in person Jams with a wrap up from each year since 2014 if you're feeling nostalgic. Now is a good time to go back and learn about the history behind the yearly event.
If you're not a Star yet, consider joining the Spotify Star Program if you're a big Spotify fan and love helping out in the Community. Wherever you are in the world, we'd like you to be part of the team!