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Spotify’s New ‘DJ’ Pairs AI-Powered Commentary With Song Picks

The streaming platform launched "DJ" for premium users in the U.S. and Canada

Spotify announced a new listening feature that incorporates artificial intelligence technology on Wednesday (Feb. 22). Instead of clicking through an editorial playlist like Today’s Top Hits or an algorithmic one like Discovery Weekly, premium users in the United States and Canada can now turn to “DJ,” which supplements algorithmic recommendations with commentary about the selections delivered via an AI voice platform. 


DJ “will sort through the latest music and look back at some of your old favorites — maybe even resurfacing that song you haven’t listened to for years,” Spotify wrote in a blog post. “It will then review what you might enjoy and deliver a stream of songs picked just for you. And what’s more, it constantly refreshes the lineup based on your feedback. If you’re not feeling the vibe, just tap the DJ button and it will switch it up.” 

Sulinna Ong, global head of editorial at Spotify, praised DJ as “a new and unique music experience” in a statement. “I’m personally so excited about DJ because we’re able to harness this power to tell an artist’s story, to be able to provide context around their work and their songs in a broader cultural arena like never before,” she added. 

Spotify’s blog post also noted that “early tests” of DJ — the feature is still in beta mode — indicate “that when listeners hear that additional audio context alongside their music recommendations, they’re more willing to try something new and listen to a song they may have otherwise skipped.”

The streaming service said that technology from OpenAI, the company that also developed ChatGPT, helps furnish “insightful facts about the music, artists, or genres you’re listening to” — facts sourced in part from Spotify’s editorial team. The AI voice of DJ is based on that of Xavier “X” Jernigan, the platform’s head of cultural partnerships, who previously hosted a morning show podcast for the streaming service. Spotify announced that it acquired Sonantic, an AI voice platform, last June.

Generative artificial intelligence has become a red-hot topic in tech in recent months thanks to ChatGPT and new image generators like DALL-E 2. AI is already being incorporated by tech companies like BandLab and Boomy, which aim to make the barrier to artistic creation lower by providing aspiring acts access to AI-powered music-making tools.