Is Spotify’s AI DJ Overstepping Boundaries, or Does it Have Good Taste?


Spotify’s AI DJ, “X.”

The use of AI in making art has been a topic of heavy debate as of late. Is AI art stealing? Is it helpful for artists? The answer will most likely remain subjective to anyone. However, it seems like AI is now opening a new door: the realm of curated music. Recently, Spotify introduced a new feature, an AI DJ. This is different from their now famous curated playlists, featuring daily and emotion-oriented mixes.

The DJ option is hosted by “X,” an AI voice who begins the section of music and sometimes will come in to introduce the next band or “vibe,” often based on your past listening experience and some of the top picks by Spotify editors that week. I first began using the DJ on Sunday Mar. 5, and took note of my usage of it from that day to Saturday, Mar. 11. For the week that I’ve used it, I experienced both genuinely good choices based on my personal preference and reminders of past music mistakes I made in my younger years.

Averaging about 48 songs per day for the week that I used it, the featured tracks primarily fit my top genres listened to on Spotify: metal, punk, and industrial. This is on top of genres that, up to this point, I’d never heard before. On Monday, Mar. 6, it gave me five songs that were classified as Japanese rock, as well as attempting to play the genre Americana on Friday, Mar. 10. This leads into another feature of the DJ: if you’re listening to something and not feeling the vibe, then you can just tap a little button in the bottom right corner, and it’ll skip into the next selection of music X has picked out. This is oftentimes based on recent listening. 

For me, this meant artists like My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Ministry, Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, and more regulars. But occasionally, I’d be mistaken for someone who grew up in the 1970s to 1990s. I’d be told that bands like ZZ Top, Alice In Chains, Elton John, The Clash and Duran Duran are from my childhood. This isn’t entirely false, as I listened to this music growing up thanks to my parents, but it’s just funny that this is a possibility. People have also begun posting on Instagram and Twitter possibly deepfaked audio of X calling them broke, mentally unstable, and other things before playing music.

As a new feature, in the week that I’ve used it, I’ve had nothing but positive reactions to X’s selection of music. My only gripe is that they’ll sometimes play music from 2017, which for me was a time of listening to artists who made video game parody songs, and it now makes me cringe uncontrollably.

It’s interesting to see how Spotify is now accepting AI in a larger role than before, with the songs being selected by an AI, using a similar algorithm as the one used when you play an artist’s or album’s “radio.” This option is currently only available for those in the United States and Canada on a smartphone, but it does seem to be gaining popularity, which means that it is possible that this feature will be unveiled for everyone at some point soon in the future.