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Spotify unveils an AI DJ to provide automated commentary about the tracks

By | Published on Thursday 23 February 2023


You know the super secret and maddeningly mysterious Spotify algorithm that powers a not insignificant amount of listening on the streaming service via personalised playlists, the radio feature and autoplay? Well, what if it could talk?!

Introducing Spotify’s AI DJ, which is currently being made available to the service’s premium users in the US and Canada.

“The DJ is a personalised AI guide that knows you and your music taste so well that it can choose what to play for you”, says an official blurb. “This feature, first rolling out in beta, will deliver a curated line up of music alongside commentary around the tracks and artists we think you’ll like in a stunningly realistic voice”.

In terms of the music curation element, the AI DJ will “sort through the latest music and look back at some of your old favourites – maybe even resurfacing that song you haven’t listened to for years. It will then review what you might enjoy and deliver a stream of songs picked just for you”.

Which is basically just the Spotify algorithm doing its algorithmic thing, we know about that. Tell us about the talking!

Well, some new fangled AI is being employed to “scale” the knowledge of Spotify’s editorial teams, providing automated commentary to accompany the music. And then an AI voice system that came to Spotify via its acquisition of Sonantic “brings to life stunningly realistic voices from text”. What fun.

“To create the voice model for the DJ”, Spotify explains, “we partnered with our own Head Of Cultural Partnerships, Xavier ‘X’ Jernigan”.

“Previously, X served as one of the hosts on Spotify’s first – and personalised – morning show ‘The Get Up’. His personality and voice resonated with our listeners and resulted in a loyal following for the podcast. His voice is the first model for the DJ, and we’ll continue to iterate and innovate, as we do with all our products”.

So there you go. After spending years and billions of dollars courting the podcasters of the world, Spotify is now employing AI to render them all redundant.

Throw in the music-making AI that is becoming ever more sophisticated and then all we’ll need is an AI tool that can listen to all this content, removing the need for tedious human subscribers.

And then maybe a listening AI that gets angry about what the talking AI said in between the AI-created tracks, which can subsequently launch a campaign urging all the other AIs to boycott the service. This is the future, people!

Though, in the shorter term, an AI that could just tell artists and labels how the Spotify algorithm works would be useful. Given that the humans haven’t proven to be so good at that in the past.