With every digital service trending towards algorithmic personalization, including music listening services like Spotify, Last.fm, and iTunes, some people are beginning to miss the days of randomly discovering a a great album in a record store bin. A new website, Predominant.ly, is trying to pump some of that magic back into finding new music online, and they’re doing it through color.
On the site, users are asked to choose any color from a spectrum, using color names which include those devised by the creator of the webcomic XKCD through a crowdsourced survey. Album covers that are predominantly your chosen color will appear below. To narrow the search further, select a genre like “Metal” or “Dance,” and the site will filter your results. Choose any pair you can think of, like “Light Aqua” and “Country” or “Deep Plum” and “R&B,”and a matching album will pop up. Clicking on the listed albums will provide a full track listing and a link to buy the songs.
“We find the oft-recited idea that design is only about ‘solving problems’ sets the bar rather low, partly because it requires a problem as a prerequisite for a designer to make something,” Open Work, the Netherlands based design collective who created Predominant.ly write on their site. “We want to design things that can elevate an experience beyond completing a task or solving a problem, to a memorable encounter that has a positive or fulfilling effect, in even the smallest of ways.” Perhaps projects like this will become a common backlash in our age of hyper-personalization, romanticizing a past where the tools you used knew nothing about you, and serendipity was still possible.