Around 10pm on weekdays, I was on the sofa playing with my smartphone as usual. After opening up Spotify and picking up some Death Scroll background music for bedtime, the app was something new to me. A popup with a green circle on a blue background, New AI DJWell Spotify, I don’t care. I had heard a little bit about this feature, but I was still unprepared for what was coming next. Spotify contacted me.
“It’s really great to be here with you. I’m Xavier, but my friends call me X. And from this moment on, I’ll be your very own AI DJ on Spotify.” Yeah I’m an AI but listen I don’t set timers or turn on lights I’m all about the music your music I know what you’re listening to You can see the Rijadu Sisters there,” says the app, Recent Favorites my.
“So I’m going to be here every day and play the artists you pick in rotation,” he says, going back to the history of the songs you loved. I just push my limits a little bit.”
I’m all for testing my boundaries with this new digital friend. Spotify pushed them.of my friend Kevin Haller An article analyzing Spotify’s AI DJ announcement, I had the same reaction as him. It seemed like a strange, hype-based decision. Spotify has a (basic) AI picking songs for you. It has an algorithm that analyzes your listening habits and makes recommendations. Rebranding this as “AI DJ” seemed like a gimmick at best. But at the time, I didn’t read Kevin’s article closely (sorry Kev) and didn’t understand what it was really trying to say.
As the robot gave me the breakdown, the upper right side of the circle moved with the words, mimicking a human mouth.
“I come back every few songs to change the atmosphere. But if you’re not feeling the music, there’s a DJ button at the bottom of the screen. Tap it to go back early and switch,” says AI. I was. “Okay, enough talk. I mentioned the Lijadu Sisters. And let’s start with some other music you’ve been listening to.”
Spotify seems to want you to think it’s a man now. Specifically, an interesting person of color and arguably a carefully considered corporate strategy. Good, at least in a way. Modern DJ culture, like much of America’s heritage, stems directly from the black community.
But it’s not just people of color. Xavier “X” Jernigan A real person and head of Spotify’s charismatic cultural partnerships. And the AI that Spotify simply calls “DJ” uses his voice. The company said it trained a voice model based on his rhythm, intonation and slang. A Spotify writer has created a script for DJs, apparently allowing the app to say whatever it wants.
As I listened, the DJ popped in every 3 or 4 songs to introduce the next set. The recommendations are surprisingly good, cycling through genres and styles I’ve listened to, playing tracks I’ve never heard of, and picking a few obscure favorites with perfectly pronounced AI names. .
Robots cannot experience the weather
At first, it felt surprisingly human and real. But as the track progressed, things got weird.
“Next, I’ve prepared some of my favorite summer jams,” it said. Fair enough, but the DJ sprinkling of commentary struck an odd chord. “There’s something about those hot summer nights,” he said the DJ. The usually great voice glitched like a robot in the last few words. hang on. be? Jernigan is a real person, AI DJ is not. I am convinced that no computer program can experience summer. By the way, did this AI exist until last summer? As I listened, I became increasingly aware that echoes were coming from beyond the uncanny valley.
“It’s a little wild because it’s so big and it looks like it’s blowing up, but I’m honored and humbled to be the voice of it.” real jernigan recently told a newscaster on a local TV station in Los Angeles. Spotify Sadly, I didn’t return the interview request. (I swear to be a good person!)
“Wild” doesn’t quite capture it. DJ is still in beta, so you never know what’s coming next. But it’s rolling out to his 205 million premium subscribers on Spotify. DJ introduces himself as Journigan and often uses the words “me” and “us”, but it also seems to identify as something of its own, or perhaps another person of its own. As we listen, we find that the Spotify app has an unspoken identity, his crisis.
In Gizmodo’s article on Spotify’s introduction to DJs, I said, “It mimics the worst parts of listening to the radio,” which is a good headline I can’t decide if I agree with you. Radio, once the world’s brightest medium, is in a dismal state in 2023. Almost every major radio station in the United States is owned by a huge conglomerate, with tracklists pre-selected by corporate overseers, and “DJs” usually don’t say in music. What is surprising to me is 83% of Americans People over the age of 12 listened to terrestrial radio every week, and that number was even higher before the pandemic.
But DJs who talk about songs when you turn on the radio usually don’t have much personality. Often he even reads the script. But you can get a personal touch with an indie or college station.This is something I really miss in New York where I don’t have a car and I don’t listen to music on the radio. my radio show on a platform called brass rudIOa free service where the music is exclusively chosen and sometimes played by users, and when the microphone is on, they can do whatever they want.
Spotify’s DJ is the oddball in between. It sounds like you’re getting recommendations from a tasteful music expert (specifically, it’s actually your taste). However, this commentary is scripted and read by a computer. Spotify has human curators for some playlists, but most of the DJ’s picks are “hand-selected” by an algorithm. I don’t mind hearing you talk in a friendly voice about the music you’re listening to, but DJs usually don’t say much about songs and artists. Talking Heads.that largely It feels like something you’ve missed from your days stuck in California traffic, but it’s not. At least not.
Spotify’s AI DJ plays echoes from the other side of the uncanny valley
The whole is part of a much broader phenomenon. There is a mild anti-business sentiment flowing through the US, perhaps traceable to the disillusionment that prevailed after the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent bailouts. The giant consumer company has spent the last few years adopting a new kind of his PR strategy. They want you to think of them as individuals with distinct personalities.
It’s a hot trend twitter, Steak-umms and Wendy’s are parading around like they’re just guys you can talk to online. Sometimes an account takes on the persona of a company’s social media manager, but more often than not, it’s just Domino acting like he’s someone with ideas and aspirations.
This trend is especially pronounced in the tech industry, where companies strive to present themselves not only as people they can know, but as entities that they actually embody. was named after a human female. The new her ChatGPT-powered Bing had a very distinct “personality” before Microsoft stepped in. lobotomized it after it got all racist and weirdYou’re not just talking to your digital assistant. Many of these tools are scripted to make you feel like you’re talking to the company itself.
In that sense, Spotify isn’t doing anything new here, but it’s ahead of its technical competitors. No other technology company has given digital voice an actual human persona. Most companies can speak clearly in common language. “white” voice, unless you change the settings. However, one key difference is that you can’t talk to Spotify’s DJs, you can only listen to them. Spotify had its own voice assistant, Retire in 2022.
An even bigger change is underway at Spotify. The company doesn’t want to be the only music streaming service that is a real competitor in the tech industry. There are more than a dozen music streaming apps from major companies, all with the same pricing, almost indistinguishable music libraries, and imitative features.
That’s changing, at least as far as Spotify’s interface is concerned. The company recently adopted a TikTok-style visual feed that lets you scroll through visual content for songs and artists in the music tab. DJ is part of this project, which appears to be a broader effort to categorize what it means to be “on Spotify” in some sort of anthropological sense. We want to be a media company.
The web is moving out of the sameness stage of exploiting top-down creativity. Instead of embracing the unique and interesting aspects of their services, tech companies have hijacked the best of their platforms by focusing on monetization strategies and copying the capabilities of their competitors. It was a response to new economic realities. The booming Big His tech wave of growth that he once enjoyed is no longer possible. But it feels like that’s starting to change. In my early days online, most of the internet was reserved for young people and passionate weirdos. That’s pretty much how I feel these days. Being with a Spotify DJ reminded me of my recent travels. Wedding at Taco Bell in Metaverse (seriously). For the first time in years, the internet has become delightfully weird.
The DJ and I would go back and forth for hours and then come back over the next few days. “Next is a track that you loved, but it’s been a minute since he heard it,” said the DJ. memory I don’t think I’ve heard it since I had a girl play it in 2014. Remembering that moment makes me feel good, a recommendation that can only be made by collecting my data. Then the DJ said “what i learned todayby Hüsker Dü, a really great punk band that I haven’t listened to enough.
I haven’t sorted out how I feel about DJ yet, but I don’t hate him. But the next time the DJ chimed in in a smooth, bass-like voice, I was told I was hearing “share dee,” Hüsker Dü’s rather odd pronunciation, even taking into account the umlauts. DJ’s can be a little glamorous, but in the end robots always break the magic.
The early 2000s were far from the freedom of the web when it came to enterprise experimentation, too, but things are a little tighter than they used to be. At least on the Internet, “What the hell is going on?”