SongChain: Broken Picturephone, but for music...

⛓ fun experiment 2 ⛓

koodos’ collective (inspired by Andy Warhol’s Factory) is a selective group of young talented engineers & creatives that sit adjacent to the core koodos team. The collective designs & builds stand-alone open-source product experiments that contribute to a creative layer on internet content. Below is an experiment from the koodos collective.

Conceptualized and built by Ben Dreier of the koodos collective.


We’re wired to appreciate the combinatorial nature of creativity. This might explain the subtly-genius allure of Broken Picturephone. When you successfully combine two things, which may have been assumed to be incompatible, the result is 🔥. The word German psychologists gave to this phenomenon is Gestalt: a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. To get even more philosophical, Arthur Koestler explains why puns are funny:

The pun is the bisociation of a single phonetic form with two meanings — two strings of thought tied together by an acoustic knot. Its immense popularity with children, its prevalence in certain forms of mental disorder (‘punning mania’), and its frequent occurrence in the dream, indicate the profound unconscious appeal of association based on pure sound.

A creative combination can be even more salient when synthesized not by one, but two different authors. I bring the song, you bring the dance, and we end up with a potluck of creativity, each influencing the other in ways we couldn’t have predicted. And if you’re creating with people you already know, you can learn something new about the author as well.

The koodos collective loves music, and the way music can connect people. So with this 2nd experiment, we decided to *combine* the two points above and let groups of people connect music together.

Introducing SongChain

(US only)

SongChain began as an idea for a global network of song connections; we imagined every user contributing to the same web of connections at once, exploring and contributing to the same branching chain. But sharing music with strangers doesn’t always feel as satisfying as sharing music with your friends; you might care more about what your friend has to say about a song.

We pose SongChain as a group game where you build a sort of "infinite (potentially)(sorta) playlist" based on prompts from your friends. You play it on SMS and can browse your SongChain, as well as other people’s SongChains, on the web. 

You’ll take turns; the first person will send a link to any song on Spotify they’ve been listening to, to catalyze the process. The second person will have to describe some quality of this song; what color is it? What location does it remind you of, or feeling does it evoke in you? What emojis can you use to describe it? This description is passed to the next player, who (blind to the original song) sends a song that matches this description. This process continues, and the chain evolves. You’ll get to see the common thread between songs you never noticed before, discover and rediscover hand-picked music from your friends, and stay in touch in a casual, fun setting. 

SongChain is for fun, but for the most active users, we also have a leaderboard. The longest-running chains on the platform are spotlighted, and your insights and connections lauded for the internet to see.