Shuuuffle is an extremely low-tech music recommendation engine.
It's a deck of cards that I designed myself. Each card contains a song rec by a complete stranger: their name, the artist and title of the song, and the reason they like it. Every day, I ask people on the street to make a new card, and I let them take a random one in exchange. The deck is in slow but constant change.
The main motivation behind shuuuffle is to explore people's everyday experience of music—specifically, the language they use to describe the music they like. As opposed to my prior work studying the user experience of algorithmic music recommendation engines, shuuuffle is intentionally low-tech. 
In terms of my role as the "researcher", having to make a new physical artifact every day often forces me to get out of the house simply to find someone on the street and ask them about their experience of music. One of the best things about this is that strangers will often recommend songs that are wildly different from what I would have guessed if I had judged them superficially, based on their appearance or what they were doing at the time.
The format also imposes some fun constraints on participants: at an entirely random moment in their lives, it forces them to pick just one song, and write a very short snippet explaining why they like it. I enjoy how ephemeral and circumstantial this makes the recommendations—I certainly would choose very different songs on a Tuesday morning or a Friday night. Another fun observation is that most people, particularly those who are really into music, find themselves at a loss to pick a single song when put on the spot—some can't think of any at all!
I post one card a day on this Instagram account, and add the songs to this Spotify playlist if they are available.
Back to Top