When it comes to music recommendations, Spotify is arguably the best. Bleat all you like about YouTube or Apple Music, but do those apps know you like Spotify knows you? Being the best wasn’t enough, apparently. Enter Spotify’s AI-powered DJ – a virtual companion that would, in theory, curate an even better playlist for you than the streamer’s regular algorithms and talk to you at the same time.
The problem is, we’ve never had the chance to try it. When Spotify first announced its AI DJ, it region-locked the feature to users in the US and UK before expanding to Canada and Ireland later. It told the rest of the world we’d get it eventually. That day has finally come.
DJ, spin that
Sure, Spotify could use a mixture of its own algorithms and generative AI to curate some better playlists for you. But that would be boring. Throw in a voice model, one that’s modelled after Spotify’s own Head of Cultural Partnerships, Xavier Jernigan, and the process becomes a whole lot more engaging, apparently.
We had to try it. And you can, too. You’ll need Spotify’s Android or iOS app, and a Premium plan to have a go. Open it up, head to Home and tap ‘Music’ (next to ‘Podcasts & Shows’). Scroll down and tap on the AI DJ to bring yours to life. Fittingly, it’ll introduce itself as Xavier, or X, before explaining its existence and the sort of music it’ll be setting you up with.
From there, it’ll play some music. That’s about it. Fortunately, ours hasn’t had an existential crisis… yet.
Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see the DJ feature yet. It’ll arrive at some point and be another Spotify feature you’ve forgotten about before you know it. Like those Blended playlists, remember those?
But it’s the music it’s recommending that’s worth looking into. Occasionally it’ll play some South African tunes or throw something entirely different together based on artists you haven’t listened to in a while. There were times it would pick a single artist and play some of their bigger hits, or even the stuff that never gets any listens.
And… it’s really good. In the twenty or so minutes we messed around with it, we’d found three new songs worthy of adding to a playlist. There were a few suggestions we weren’t so keen on, but we’re hoping it’ll use those AI powers to learn what we actually enjoy listening to.
It’s not all smooth sailing, unfortunately. For one, you need an active internet connection for Xavier to do its thing. That makes sense – it’s curating a playlist of new songs you’re not supposed to have heard before. And two, Xavier’s coddling nature. Every five or so songs, it’ll be back in your ear, ready to change up the mood. We’d like the option to send Xavier away to let the music sit for a bit.