Spotify Rolls Out AI DJ Feature

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Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

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Did you ever wish Spotify could talk to you about the songs it’s playing? No? Well, they’re doing it anyway.

Spotify is rolling out an AI-powered DJ, a computer-generated voice that talks you through the songs the app has selected for you. So essentially Spotify is riding the ChatGPT craze to layer a slightly more loquacious Alexa over your music. Sounds good to… we don’t know who.

Don’t Hang the DJ Just Yet

Technology from ChatGPT’s creator OpenAI had a direct hand in the creation of Spotify’s new DJ feature, according to Spotify’s press release. It says this tech will in some way work in conjunction with human editors. A Spotify exec also told The Verge the feature will use “a high element of human touch.” Such intensive human curation runs slightly counter to the point of a generative AI tool, especially for a company that’s feeling the same budgetary constraints as the rest of techland — but maybe it’s better to keep the AI under tight supervision rather than let it riff (we’re looking at you, Sydney).

The AI-generated voice was designed by Sonantic AI, a startup Spotify acquired in June last year. The voice does sound pretty natural, but the question remains: do Spotify listeners really want to be chatted at while they’re listening to music, or is the company falling for the AI hype?

  • Investors are pouring money into any company with AI attached to its name, not unlike when they started flooding metaverse-adjacent companies with cash. AI is admittedly a more versatile technology, but it also encompasses a vast range of tools, not all of which are particularly revolutionary.
  • “It is total buyer-beware unless you know what you’re doing and have proper risk management,” one CEO of Tuttle Capital Management Matthew Tuttle told Bloomberg earlier this month, adding: “You can’t just go in and buy any company that says they’re in AI.”

Poor, Unfortunate Souls: Given how much human supervision Spotify’s robo-DJ needs just to spit out some fun trivia and rub together sentences, talk radio hosts can breathe easy for now. For voice actors, however, the threat is more imminent. Rest of World reported voice actors who make a living off dubbing, particularly in Latin America, are being hired to train generative AI voice technology only to later find out they’re being replaced by it. It’s the modern equivalent of being asked to sing into a shell by a charismatic octopus-witch.