Spotify is testing AI-generated playlists

The company hasn’t committed to launching the feature publicly.


Spotify is testing an AI-powered feature that creates playlists from text prompts. TikTok user @robdad_ posted a short clip of it, captioned, “I just randomly discovered Spotify’s ChatGPT?” For the chosen guinea pigs, the feature is available as an option under Your Library after tapping the plus sign to create a new playlist. The news was reported by TechCrunch, which says it received confirmation from Spotify that it’s testing AI playlists. It isn’t yet clear if the music streamer plans to launch it publicly.

“Turn your ideas into playlists using Al,” the feature’s in-app description reads in the TikTok video (while noting it’s only available in English). Above a chatbot field for custom inputs, it also suggests prompts. These include, “Get focused at work with instrumental electronica,” “Fill the silence with background cafe music,” “Get pumped up with fun, beat, and positive songs” and “Explore a niche genre like Witch House.”

Section of a screen capture of a Spotify feature taken from a TikTok video. It reads
@robdad_ \ TikTok

@robdad_ chose the last option. “Here’s your Witch House Exploration playlist,” the bot responded. “Swipe left to remove any songs you don’t want as you continue refining your playlist.” Due to video editing, it’s impossible to tell from the TikTok clip how long Spotify’s AI took to generate the tracks.

The resulting (Grimes-heavy) playlist included “Bloom for Me” by Pearly Drops, “Goth” by Sidewalks and Skeletons, “Pin” by Grimes, “After Dark” by Mr.Kitty, “Suffocation” by Crystal Castles, “Cold Touch” by Kito and GrimesAI and “chain” by Aziya and “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Sevdaliza and Grimes. I’ll leave it to the Witch House experts to determine if the AI did a good job.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Spotify was tight-lipped about whether the general public can expect to see AI playlists. “We routinely conduct a number of tests,” a Spotify spokesperson wrote. “Some of those tests end up paving the path for our broader experience and others serve only as an important learning. We don’t have anything further to share at this time.”

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 9: Daniel Ek, chief executive officer of Spotify, speaks about a partnership between Samsung and Spotify during a product launch event at the Barclays Center, August 9, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The new Galaxy Note 9 smartphone will go on sale on August 24. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek (Drew Angerer via Getty Images)

If Spotify eventually launches the feature, perhaps it could include it as a carrot to entice users to pay for a more expensive subscription tier. The company’s premium hi-fi feature, announced nearly three years ago, still hasn’t materialized after rival Apple Music added lossless audio without charging extra. Expanded audiobook access could be another perk to throw into a pricier plan.

Earlier this year, Spotify launched an AI DJ feature (powered by OpenAI tech) that talks you through recommendations. It does so using an AI voice trained on the company’s Head of Cultural Partnerships, Xavier “X” Jernigan.

Like much of the tech industry, the music streamer appears eager to incorporate artificial intelligence into its products. In addition to the AI DJ, Spotify CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek said in a July earnings call that the company could use AI to “contextualize and personalize content.” The Ringer founder Bill Simmons noted in May (first reported by Semafor) that Spotify was developing “a way to use my voice for ads.” The sports analysis podcaster added, “You have to obviously give the approval for the voice, but it opens up, from an advertising standpoint, all these different great possibilities for you.”

Earlier this month, Spotify conducted its third round of layoffs in 2023. It’s only the latest chapter of what’s turned out to be a devastating year of job cuts in the tech industry.