Podcast Advertising – Spotify’s AI-Generated Host-Read Ads Redefine Authenticity

  • AUTHOR: editor
  • POSTED ON: May 30, 2023

Spotify, the popular streaming service, appears to be pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence once again. After training their AI DJ on the voice of Xavier “X” Jernigan, Spotify’s head of Cultural Partnerships and a podcast host, the company now has its sights set on revolutionizing advertising using artificial intelligence.

According to statements by Bill Simmons, the renowned founder of The Ringer, Spotify is actively working on AI technology that can mimic the voices of podcast hosts to deliver authentic-sounding host-read ads. This means that podcast hosts may no longer be required to personally record and recite ad copy, as AI technology can seamlessly replicate their voices.

During a recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Bill Simmons himself revealed some exciting prospects for podcast advertising. He divulged that Spotify is currently working on a groundbreaking feature that would allow podcast hosts to have their voices utilized in ads, opening up a realm of possibilities for content creators.

Simmons explained that with this technology, he would be able to grant permission for his voice to be used in advertisements. The implications of this innovation are immense, as it would enable geo-targeting of ads based on the listener’s location. For instance, if a podcast listener resides in a particular city, they could receive ads promoting local events or exclusive offers relevant to their area.

Moreover, Simmons highlighted that this advanced system could potentially facilitate the creation of ads in various languages. With the host’s consent, advertisers would be able to deliver ads tailored to specific linguistic audiences, ensuring a more personalized and engaging experience for listeners across the globe.

Spotify has left breadcrumbs indicating that their foray into AI voices extends beyond the current AI DJ feature in the app. Xavier “X” Jernigan, dropped hints about the company’s plans to collaborate with other voice models in the future, intriguingly urging listeners to “stay tuned.”

In addition, Spotify has been making significant but discreet investments in AI development and research. With a dedicated team of several hundred experts, the streaming service is actively exploring various domains, including personalization and machine learning. The team has been leveraging the power of the OpenAI model and delving into the vast possibilities offered by Large Language Models, generative voice technologies, and much more.

Spotify’s impressive capability to generate AI voices is the result of a combination of intellectual property derived from its acquisition of Sonantic in 2022 and the cutting-edge technology developed by OpenAI. However, the streaming giant has indicated that it may explore the possibility of using its own proprietary AI technology in the future.

In the case of the AI DJ feature, Spotify employed a meticulous process to create Xavier “X” Jernigan’s AI voice. Jernigan underwent recording sessions in a studio, where he delivered high-quality readings of various lines with different cadences and emotions. These recordings were intentionally crafted to preserve Jernigan’s natural pauses, breaths, and idiomatic language, incorporating his unique phrases like “tune” or “bangers” instead of simply using generic terms like “songs.”

The amassed data was then fed into the AI model, which, in turn, generated the AI voice that powers the AI DJ feature.

This remarkable amalgamation of Sonantic’s expertise and OpenAI’s advanced technology has enabled Spotify to pioneer the creation of AI voices that closely mimic and embody the distinctive characteristics of real individuals. While the company has relied on external IP for this breakthrough, Spotify has expressed the intention to potentially develop its own proprietary AI technology in the future.

While more specified details about the rollout and implementation of this feature remain undisclosed, the potential benefits it brings to both advertisers and content creators are undeniably enticing.

As the podcasting industry continues to evolve, innovations like these have the potential to revolutionize the way ads are delivered and consumed, creating a more dynamic and personalized listening experience for audiences worldwide!

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Updated May 30, 2023
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