Music Tech

Emily White on Spotify’s AI DJ: ‘this is cool technology – in theory’

We asked some smart industry insiders to share their first impressions of Spotify’s new AI-powered DJ and what it might mean for the future.

Yesterday NUE’s Jesse Kirshbaum shared his enthusiasm for Spotify’s innovation and envisioned ways that it could evolve to be even more fun and useful.

Today, long-time music manager and #iVoted founder Emily White weighs in with some healthy skepticism.

From Emily White, Partner & Founder: Collective Entertainment & #iVoted:

I think this is cool technology – in theory.

AI already influences recommendations on all online music platforms. I’m sure there are many fans discovering new artists or music from catalogs of artists they’re just discovering through this and similar technology. I’m an outlier, but what I listen to during the day at work is incredibly random versus what I put on for pleasure during my off time. I’m not sure if AI can ever replace knowing what humans are truly in the “mood” for in a world of infinite genres.

It would also be great to have more transparency behind Spotify’s editorial team.

As major labels have equity stakes in the company, how do we know that these are pure opinions truly based on music as opposed to relationships? At the same time, I’m sure the editorial team are music geeks in the best way and DSP curation certainly isn’t new. As it’s no different than the Apple team deciding on who would be featured on the front of the iTunes store in years past.

I don’t think this technology affects radio as that is such a different use of how music is, dare I say, consumed. At the same time, when it comes to curation, I’d personally rather check out radio legend Norm Winer’s platform Noteworthy. Norm is personally curating the platform with his decades of experience in music, which is wisdom that is priceless. But what’s beautiful about the modern music industry is the power of choice.

I think I’ll stick with Norm and Tidal’s slightly higher payout rates. And if a Spotify user discovers music they love using AI DJ’s, then ultimately that’s the point, no matter the route one takes to get there.

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