Hey DJ X, That’s My Song! 

Hey DJ X, That’s My Song! 

Vanessa Obioha

In the ever-evolving world of music streaming, personalisation has become the holy grail. We’ve all been there, searching for that perfect playlist or track that suits our mood just right. But what if you had a DJ, not just any DJ, but an AI DJ who knows your musical soul so intimately that it can choose the perfect tune for you?

Welcome to the world of DJ X, Spotify’s latest musical marvel.

The friendly greeting I received when I clicked on the DJ button on Spotify’s music app was, “Hey, how are you doing? I’m X. Glad to be your DJ. I’m gonna get you started with Savage Garden and a few other songs…”

My curiosity quickly shifted to nostalgia the moment I heard Savage Garden, and I couldn’t help but let out a delightful scream. “That’s my song.”

This new feature took me on a journey of memory and discovery, playing my favourite songs while suggesting tracks that perfectly matched my mood, along with introducing me to new artists from Nigeria and around the world.

Meet X, the AI guide who has become my musical companion. Currently, in beta, X curates a lineup of music while providing commentary on the tracks and artists in a remarkably realistic voice. Notably, it’s voiced by an actual Spotify employee named Xavier.

Think of X as your personal DJ, minus the turntable scratching and song interruptions. The music only pauses if you decide it’s time for a change by hitting the escape key, and X quickly understands when a song isn’t hitting the right note for your mood, promptly suggesting alternatives.

Delving into the technology behind this innovative feature, Spotify’s Managing Director, Sub-saharan Africa (SSA), Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, shares her insights: “Large Language Models have offered a truly impressive number of opportunities. While we are aware of the limitations of these types of solutions, we try to understand new technology through research and are actively reviewing opportunities to integrate these types of technologies to improve our personalization work. It’s clear that AI provides unique opportunities to further Spotify’s key pillars of discovery, ubiquity, and connection – for listeners, for creators, and for Spotify.”

Spotify is no stranger to the world of AI. Over the years, it has developed some of the world’s most powerful recommendation algorithms for audio. Its music app boasts personalised recommendations such as the Editor’s Picks. However, Muhutu-Remy distinguishes Editor’s Picks from the AI DJ as follows: “DJ is an individual, personal experience where we’re bringing context and voice in a way no one has ever been able to do before. Recommendations provided to users on DJ are a mix of editorial and algorithmic suggestions.”

Although DJ X was initially launched in the US and Canada earlier this year, it only recently made its debut in Nigeria.  The Head of PR and Comms in Sub-Saharan Africa, Miche Atagana, however highlighted that the feature has appealed to about 80 per cent of millennials and Gen Zs on the platform. The appealing factor?

“The idea that it understands what you want,” she says during a recent dinner with Nigerian journalists and content creators.

DJ X’s recommendations are linked to your account, ensuring that, regardless of how many devices you use to access the app, the suggestions are tailored precisely to your musical tastes.

While DJ X excels in understanding listeners’ musical preferences, it has yet to incorporate cultural nuances, such as recognizing special holidays like Independence Day and offering suitable song recommendations.

For now, DJ X is here to serenade you with some of your long-forgotten favourites and, of course, the latest hits of the moment. Whether you’re rediscovering cherished tracks or diving into uncharted musical territory, DJ X is your virtual companion, ready to curate the perfect soundtrack for your journey through sound.

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