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

Forward of Spotify’s upcoming Stream On occasion, the place the corporate is predicted to announce a redesigned house feed and different updates, the corporate right this moment launched a brand new AI characteristic referred to as “DJ” to higher personalize the music listening expertise for its customers. Just like a radio DJ, Spotify’s DJ characteristic 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 practical voice.”

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

Extra broadly, the characteristic has the potential to show Spotify right into a lean-back, passive expertise for these instances 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 characteristic continues 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 intervening time.

For years, Spotify has led the market with its personalization know-how, launching its flagship playlist Uncover Weekly again in 2015 to rapid success. This was then adopted by plenty of different playlists designed to cater to the top person’s distinctive preferences, together with Launch Radar, Day by day Mixes, Your Time Capsule, Mix and people aimed toward particular actions, like commuting or understanding, amongst different issues. In more moderen years, Spotify has additionally change into a trendsetter with its customized annual assessment, Spotify Wrapped, which has since been copycatted by its rivals.

With the broader know-how market now targeted 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 characteristic is a mix of its current personalization know-how, an AI voice from its 2022 Sonantic acquisition, and Generative AI via using 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 offered its music editors, specialists, scriptwriters and knowledge curators with entry to OpenAI’s Generative AI tech in an effort 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 comparable struggles.)

As listeners interact with the brand new DJ characteristic, they’ll be introduced with a customized stream of songs that can embody each newer tracks and previous favorites. This stream shall be frequently refreshed, we perceive. As they pay attention, they’ll additionally hear commentary instantly adopted by the track 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 chargeable for many of the music on Polo’s upcoming venture.”

If the DJ fires a miss by way of what somebody needs to listen to, the person will be capable of simply faucet the DJ button once more to shift to a distinct style, artist or temper. The extra the characteristic is used, the extra correct its recommendations will change into — much like how track skips or liking a observe would in any other case inform an algorithm of your pursuits.

Picture Credit: Spotify screenshot

The DJ’s voice, in the meantime, relies 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 characteristic — 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 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.

In short exams of the characteristic forward of the launch, we are able to affirm the voice did sound genuine even because it inserted the customized content material throughout its introduction, like references to the names of bands you frequently stream. Nonetheless, it didn’t instantly appear to be extra outstanding than one in every of Spotify’s customized playlists by way of music choice. However, in idea, DJ’s enhancements will are available time.

After tapping via plenty of preliminary recommendations, the DJ then switched to play songs you had streamed in a previous yr. We had anticipated these flashbacks could be blended 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 approach.

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 the identical — it performs the looping visuals if accessible, affords 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 characteristic make any kind of suggestion on its use or decide how properly the DJ improves its recommendations over time.

Spotify’s advertising of the characteristic 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 characteristic 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 more durable to make use of for streaming music. These complaints haven’t essentially damage the corporate’s progress, nonetheless — the streamer’s shares popped final month on its report of stable 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 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 characteristic will start to roll out right this moment in its supported markets, which implies you could not instantly see the characteristic however ought to quickly.

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