Spotify, the popular audio streaming app, is on its way to make listening to music personal for its users. Part of this includes recommending playlists “For You” like “Discover Weekly” and summarizing your year in audio with “Wrapped”. Today the company announced that it is introducing an AI DJ (aka X) that will incorporate much of its previous work on audio recommendation algorithms into a new feature. It is currently rolling out for premium users in the US and Canada.
The artificially intelligent DJ mixes recommendations from various personal and general playlists throughout the app. The goal is to create an experience where it picks the mood you’ll like, whether it’s new hits, your old favorites, or songs you’ve been repeating for weeks. And like a radio DJ, it will actually speak – make some comments and introduce the song before it is queued. Users can skip songs or even ask the DJ to change the mood by clicking the icon at the bottom right of the screen. It will update the lineup based on your interactions.
The DJ consists of three main technical components: Spotify’s personalization technology, an OpenAI generative AI that records the cultural context that the DJ provides (alongside human writers), and an AI text-to-voice platform that is powered by their Acquisition was built sonically, and based on the real-world model, Xavier “X” Jernigan, Spotify’s Head of Cultural Partnerships. To train the AI DJ, Jernigan spent a lot of time in the studio recording voice samples.
[Related: How Spotify trained an AI to transcribe music]
The text-to-speech system takes into account all the nuances of human speech, such as pitch, tempo, intonation and emotions. For example, if a sentence ended with a semicolon instead of a period, the voice inflection would be different.
There is a weekly writers room curating what they will say about songs in the flagship playlists e.g. B. the ones grouped by genres. There is another group of authors and culture experts who come to discuss how to word the commentary on the songs they offer to the users. Generative AI then comes in and scales this base script and adapts it to each individual user. “X” is technically still in beta, and Spotify engineers are eager to hear user feedback to add improvements in future releases.
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Think of each “For You” recommendation as a Lego brick, says Ziad Sultan, head of personalization at Spotify PopSci. “It’s not like it takes all the playlists and puts them together. Also, to create this playlist in the first place, we had to build a lot of Lego pieces that understand the music, understand the user, and understand how to create the right combo,” he explains. “A lot of that comes from the years of developing machine learning and sourcing the data, especially the playlist data, for example.”
“81 percent of people say what they love most about Spotify is the personalization,” says Sultan. “So they’ll still have the things they know and love. But this is just a new election, which is also about not voting.”
Check it out for yourself in the “Music” feed on the app’s homepage, or see it in action below:
Meet X, Spotify’s New AI DJ, first appeared on Popular Science.
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