Spotify launches ‘DJ,’ a new feature offering personalized music with AI-powered commentary

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Forward of Spotify’s upcoming Stream On occasion, the place the corporate is anticipated to announce a redesigned residence feed and different updates, the corporate right this moment launched a new AI feature known as “DJ” to raised personalize the music listening expertise for its customers. Much like a radio DJ, Spotify’s DJ feature will ship a curated number of music alongside AI-powered spoken commentary in regards to the tracks and artists you want, utilizing what Spotify says is a “stunningly real looking voice.”

The thought, explains the corporate, is for Spotify to get to know customers so nicely that the DJ can select what to play for you while you hit the button. Or, as Spotify says, it’s placing an “AI DJ in your pocket.”

Extra broadly, the feature has the potential to show Spotify into a lean-back, passive expertise for these occasions customers don’t really feel like dictating to Spotify what to stream subsequent or fumbling round with its interface to search out a playlist they like.

The OpenAI-powered feature remains to be in beta testing as of the time of right this moment’s launch and is barely accessible in English for Spotify Premium subscribers within the U.S. and Canada in the interim.

For years, Spotify has led the market with its personalization expertise, launching its flagship playlist Uncover Weekly again in 2015 to quick success. This was then adopted by a variety of different playlists designed to cater to the tip person’s distinctive preferences, together with Launch Radar, Every day Mixes, Your Time Capsule, Mix and people geared toward particular actions, like commuting or understanding, amongst different issues. In newer years, Spotify has additionally turn out to be a trendsetter with its personalized annual evaluate, Spotify Wrapped, which has since been copycatted by its rivals.

With the broader expertise market now centered on new methods to leverage AI advances, it was solely a matter of time earlier than Spotify rolled out its personal tackle how trendy AI might be used to enhance its personalization expertise.

Picture Credit: Spotify screenshot

On this case, the corporate says its new DJ feature is a mixture of its current personalization expertise, an AI voice from its 2022 Sonantic acquisition, and Generative AI by using OpenAI expertise. (Spotify tells us it has a enterprise relationship with OpenAI, however didn’t discuss with the corporate as a accomplice.)

As a substitute, Spotify says it offered its music editors, consultants, scriptwriters and knowledge curators with entry to OpenAI’s Generative AI tech as a way to scale their insights about music, artists and genres. The expertise is being put to make use of to create “culturally related, correct items of commentary at scale,” the corporate says. (Accuracy is maybe a key phrase right here, given Bing and Google’s current AI failures. Time will inform if Spotify’s use case faces related struggles.)

As listeners interact with the new DJ feature, they’ll be offered with a personalized stream of songs that can embody each newer tracks and outdated favorites. This stream might be frequently refreshed, we perceive. As they pay attention, they’ll additionally hear commentary instantly adopted by the music it’s referring to.

For instance, the AI could share commentary like:

“This week, Chicago rapper Polo G groups up with Atlanta’s Future for his first launch of the yr. This additionally marks the pair’s first collaboration, however they’re united by manufacturing from Southside, who has labored extensively with each and is claimed to be liable for a lot of the music on Polo’s upcoming challenge.”

If the DJ fires a miss when it comes to what somebody desires to listen to, the person will be capable of simply faucet the DJ button once more to shift to a completely different style, artist or temper. The extra the feature is used, the extra correct its solutions will turn out to be — just like how music skips or liking a monitor would in any other case inform an algorithm of your pursuits.

Picture Credit: Spotify screenshot

The DJ’s voice, in the meantime, is predicated on Spotify’s Head of Cultural Partnerships Xavier “X” Jernigan, who had hosted Spotify’s morning present podcast, “The Get Up.” The corporate notes his voice is the “first mannequin” for the DJ feature — suggesting it has plans to broaden the vary of voices sooner or later.

To entry the DJ, you’ll head to the Music Feed on the House web page of Spotify’s iOS or Android app then faucet Play on the DJ card to start. The DJ will then start to play a lineup of music and brief commentary.

Briefly checks of the feature forward of the launch, we will verify the voice did sound genuine even because it inserted the personalized content material throughout its introduction, like references to the names of bands you frequently stream. Nonetheless, it didn’t instantly appear to be extra exceptional than one in all Spotify’s personalized playlists when it comes to music choice. However, in principle, DJ’s enhancements will are available time.

After tapping by a variety of preliminary solutions, the DJ then switched to play songs you had streamed in a prior yr. We had anticipated these flashbacks could be blended in with the newer tunes, so this separation was a shock. We then tapped by the suggestions once more, and the DJ switched genres. Once more, and it switched to summer time flashbacks. It felt like switching between playlists, in a means.

Initially, the DJ seems as a inexperienced circle on a blue background, however as you play the music, it’s relocated to the bottom-right of the Now Enjoying interface, which in any other case appears the identical — it performs the looping visuals if accessible, presents participant controls and offers entry to the center button and to the lyrics, as earlier than.

We haven’t had sufficient time to check the feature make any kind of advice on its use or decide how nicely the DJ improves its solutions over time.

Spotify’s advertising and marketing of the feature as an AI-powered addition is supposed to attract shopper curiosity in its streaming service as AI developments, like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, are driving consciousness of each the promise and the pitfalls of AI developments.

Nonetheless, the feature additionally arrives at a time when there’s been growing criticism that Spotify’s investments in different audio codecs have made its app cluttered and tougher to make use of for streaming music. These complaints haven’t essentially harm the corporate’s progress, nonetheless — the streamer’s shares popped final month on its report of strong person progress in This fall, which noticed the addition of 10 million new subscribers, to achieve 205 million, and 22 million extra ad-supported customers, to achieve a complete of 295 million.

However as Spotify’s early advances in personalization expertise at the moment are seemingly desk stakes for any music service, it’s clear it wished to now set the bar even larger by doing one thing new with AI that’s not as simply reproducible.

The corporate stated the DJ feature will start to roll out right this moment in its supported markets, which suggests you might not instantly see the feature however ought to quickly.

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