Spotify’s Newest AI “DJ” Aimed at Curating a Traditional Radio Experience

 

Spotify, the world’s leading music streaming service, has just the launched the beta version of a new feature called “DJ”. Spotify’s DJ is an AI-powered personalized music selection feature that delivers a curated selection of music and spoken commentary about the tracks and artists, similar to a radio DJ. The AI is designed to get to know users so well that it can choose what to play for them when they hit the button. The feature has the potential to turn Spotify into a more passive and “hands-off” experience that allows listeners to binge their curated music without having to switch back and forth between playlists.

The OpenAI-powered feature is still in beta testing and is only available in English for Spotify Premium subscribers in the U.S. and Canada for now. Spotify says that the new DJ feature is a combination of its existing personalization technology, an AI voice from its 2022 Sonantic acquisition, and Generative AI through the use of OpenAI technology. The company’s music editors, experts, scriptwriters, and data curators have been given access to OpenAI’s Generative AI technology to scale their insights about music, artists, and genres. The technology is being used to create culturally relevant and accurate pieces of commentary at scale.

As listeners engage with the new DJ feature, they’ll be presented with a personalized stream of songs that will include both newer tracks and old favorites. The stream will be continually refreshed. If the DJ fires a miss in terms of what someone wants to hear, the user will be able to just tap the DJ button again to shift to a different genre, artist, or mood. The more the feature is used, the more accurate its suggestions will become – similar to how song skips or liking a track would otherwise inform an algorithm of your interests.

The DJ’s voice is based on Spotify’s Head of Cultural Partnerships Xavier “X” Jernigan, who had hosted Spotify’s morning show podcast, “The Get Up.” The company states that his voice is the “first model” for the DJ feature – suggesting it has plans to expand the range of voices in the future. To access the DJ, users can head to the Music Feed on the Home page of Spotify’s iOS or Android app and tap Play on the DJ card to begin. The DJ will then begin to play a lineup of music and short commentary.

In brief tests of the feature ahead of the launch, the DJ’s voice sounded authentic even as it inserted personalized content during its introduction, like references to the names of bands users regularly stream. However, it didn’t seem much different than one of Spotify’s personalized playlists in terms of music selection. Spotify’s marketing of the feature as an AI-powered addition is meant to draw consumer interest in its streaming service as AI developments are driving awareness of both the promise and limitations of these technologies. The DJ feature has the potential to improve the personalization experience for Spotify users, especially those who prefer a more passive listening experience.

Where to find the DJ

Ready to have the DJ soundtrack your day? It’s rolling out in English starting today for Spotify Premium users in the U.S. and Canada.

  1. Head to your Music Feed on Home in the Spotify mobile app on your iOS or Android device.
  2. Tap Play on the DJ card.
  3. Let Spotify do the rest! The DJ will serve a lineup of music alongside short commentary on the songs and artists, picked just for you.
  4. Not feeling the vibe? Just hit the DJ button at the bottom right of the screen to be taken to a different genre, artist, or mood.

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