The experience is a bit like tuning into the radio: The continuous stream is presided over by an AI host that shouts out your fave artists, spins recommended songs, and occasionally spouts trivia between each set of tracks.
How to use Spotify’s AI DJ
Premium users can find the AI DJ near the top of the Spotify app’s music feed. Once you tap the designated card, it will take over your screen to play you a mix of new and old songs powered by Spotify’s recommendations algorithm.
You can expect to hear tracks by artists you have on repeat, songs from genres you like, and music from a specific period. All the while, the DJ will be on-hand to introduce each new theme with a brief intro. If you don’t like the artist or genre being played, you can hit the AI DJ icon to switch to something new.
Before you get too excited, this isn’t ChatGPT for music. Firstly, it’s only a one-way conversation as users can’t chat to the AI bot themselves. And, as mentioned above, instead of using some fancy new AI, the songs are picked by the existing tech that fuels Spotify’s personalised playlists.
As such, the generative AI part is largely relegated to the DJ’s voice and speech. A custom version of OpenAI’s popular chatbot ChatGPT is on script-writing duties (alongside a team of human music experts). And an AI text-to-voice platform generates what the human voice of Spotify exec and podcast host, Xavier “X” Jernigan, says.
Brits have been clamouring for the AI DJ since its debut in North America in late February, according to Spotify. But is it any good?
Spotify’s AI DJ: Our verdict
Spotify’s AI DJ is still firmly in the trial phase, so be prepared for the occasional bug. During my test drive, it randomly crashed and stopped talking on separate occasions, but was mainly stable.
Overall, it seemed fine-tuned to my tastes. It started by reeling off songs from the artists I have on constant rotation, from Doja Cat to SZA to The Weeknd, and then played a bunch of recent hip-hop summer jams that were fun to revisit. Later, it took me back to one of my fave musical decades, the Eighties, with big hits from The Eurythmics and Spandau Ballet.
Most of the time, the intros were short and sweet, which is good news for those averse to garrulous radio DJs. Though, it did drop the odd fun fact: Playing songs from 2019, the DJ’s dulcet tone reminded me of the year’s major cultural touchstones, referencing Avengers Endgame, the US women’s football team’s World Cup win, and Zendaya’s acclaimed performance in hit HBO series Euphoria.
Would I have preferred to learn more about the songs I was listening to? Probably. I’d love to know what inspired Stevie Nicks to pen Fleetwood Mac’s contemplative classic Landslide, for instance. But, that’s a minor complaint.
Broadly speaking, the mileage you get out of the new feature will depend on how you use Spotify. If you like nothing more than listening to the playlists it recommends, you’ll probably love it. If you’re more of a compiler yourself, and wince at the thought of an algorithm running the show, then you may wind up ignoring it.