Spotify launches ‘DJ,’ a brand new function providing customized music with AI-powered commentary

Forward of Spotify’s upcoming Stream On occasion, the place the corporate is predicted to announce a redesigned home feed and different updates, the corporate at present launched a brand new AI function referred to as “DJ” to higher personalize the music listening expertise for its customers. Much like a radio DJ, Spotify’s DJ function 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 reasonable voice.”

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

Extra broadly, the function has the potential to show Spotify right 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 discover a playlist they like.

The OpenAI-powered function remains to be in beta testing as of the time of at present’s launch and is just out there in English for Spotify Premium subscribers within the U.S. and Canada in the intervening time.

For years, Spotify has led the market with its personalization know-how, launching its flagship playlist Discover Weekly back in 2015 to instant success. This was then adopted by a variety of different playlists designed to cater to the top person’s distinctive preferences, together with Release Radar, Daily Mixes, Your Time Capsule, Blend and people geared toward particular actions, like commuting or working out, amongst different issues. In more moderen years, Spotify has additionally turn into a trendsetter with its customized annual evaluation, Spotify Wrapped, which has since been copycatted by its rivals.

With the broader know-how 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 fashionable AI may very well be used to enhance its personalization expertise.

Picture Credit: Spotify screenshot

On this case, the corporate says its new DJ function is a mixture of its current personalization know-how, an AI voice from its 2022 Sonantic acquisition, and Generative AI via the usage of OpenAI know-how. (Spotify tells us it has a enterprise relationship with OpenAI, however didn’t seek advice from the corporate as a accomplice.)

As a substitute, Spotify says it supplied its music editors, consultants, scriptwriters and information curators with entry to OpenAI’s Generative AI tech as a way to scale their insights about music, artists and genres. The know-how 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 latest AI failures. Time will inform if Spotify’s use case faces related struggles.)

As listeners interact with the brand new DJ function, they’ll be offered with a personalised stream of songs that can embody each newer tracks and outdated favorites. This stream can be regularly refreshed, we perceive. As they hear, they’ll additionally hear commentary instantly adopted by the tune it’s referring to.

For instance, the AI might 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 chargeable for a lot of the music on Polo’s upcoming mission.”

If the DJ fires a miss when it comes to what somebody desires to listen to, the person will be capable to simply faucet the DJ button once more to shift to a special style, artist or temper. The extra the function is used, the extra correct its solutions will turn into — just like how tune 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 function — suggesting it has plans to develop the vary of voices sooner or later.

To entry the DJ, you’ll head to the Music Feed on the Residence 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 quick commentary.

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

After tapping via a variety of preliminary solutions, the DJ then switched to play songs you had streamed in a previous yr. We had anticipated these flashbacks could be combined in with the newer tunes, so this separation was a shock. We then tapped via 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 manner.

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 Taking part in interface, which in any other case appears to be like the identical — it performs the looping visuals if out there, presents participant controls and gives entry to the center button and to the lyrics, as earlier than.

We haven’t had sufficient time to check the function make any type of suggestion on its use or decide how effectively the DJ improves its solutions over time.

Spotify’s advertising of the function as an AI-powered addition is supposed to attract client 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.

Nevertheless, the function additionally arrives at a time when there’s been increasing criticism that Spotify’s investments in different audio codecs have made its app cluttered and harder to use for streaming music. These complaints haven’t essentially damage the corporate’s progress, nonetheless — the streamer’s shares popped last month on its report of strong person progress in This autumn, 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 know-how are actually seemingly desk stakes for any music service, it’s clear it needed to now set the bar even greater by doing one thing new with AI that’s not as simply reproducible.

The corporate mentioned the DJ function will start to roll out at present in its supported markets, which suggests you might not instantly see the function however ought to quickly.

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