Spotify’s new AI ‘DJ’ expands to 50 countries

The beta version of Spotify’s AI-enhanced DJ feature is coming to 50 new countries, after soft-launching in the US and Canada back in February. In recent months, it’s rolled out in the UK and Ireland, but now the robotic Wolfman Jack is headed to more countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, in addition to Australia and New Zealand.

There’s a caveat, but it depends on some initial understanding of what this tool actually does. The Spotify DJ is available to premium subscription members and provides algorithmic recommendations of what to listen to, just like any music streaming app. However, these recommendations are accompanied by AI-generated DJ commentary on what you’re listening to. So what’s the rub? The DJ, based on Spotify’s Xavier Jernigan, only speaks English, no matter where you live. This is not a big deal for Australia and New Zealand, but an annoying constraint for listeners in Ghana, Singapore and most other parts of the world. A Spotify spokesperson told Engadget that the company has “no more news to share on new languages at this time.”

Despite the language limitation, it’s still a nifty toolset. It combines OpenAI’s proprietary large language model (LLM) technology, which powers ChatGPT, with Sonantic’s AI voice generation platform. Spotify bought Sonantic last year, largely due to its focus on generating realistic speech. In addition to the AI-enhanced speech, the platform also gives for written information as to why a particular song was chosen.

This tool is available today for Spotify Premium users across the world, but this is a beta, so expect changes and improvements in the short-term and long-term future. Spotify says that it is “continuing to iterate and innovate the experience.”

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Lawrence Bonk