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A Simple SMS Bot: Music Swap

Bored of your Spotify Discover playlist? Want something completely random?

Posted on October 20, 2017, at 3:46 p.m. ET

UPDATE: This bot has received a lot of usage and love, thank you! Unfortunately, the BuzzFeed Open Lab is shutting down, and since sending texts costs money, this music swap bot will no longer be maintained :(


There are many forces trying to personalize everything for us. Facebook shows us more people and pages similar to those we know, Twitter recommends people similar to who we already follow, and Spotify makes playlists of music similar to what you already listen to. This is the algorithmic equivalent of pushing people further and further into their comfort zones.

Rarely do algorithms actively aim to do the reverse - make our worlds bigger, or weirder, or more serendipitous. Want to listen to a song that's 0% algorithmically-tailored to you? Text the SMS bot at 1 (415) 851-7927.

Cathy Deng

The bot will ask you to give it a song - in return, it'll give you a song from a completely random stranger.

Maybe you'll get something you utterly hate, or maybe you'll discover something lovely that you otherwise wouldn't have come across. Who knows! Embrace the unpredictable.

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