Spotify’s Daniel Ek weighs in on artificial intelligence

One topic that came up more than once as Spotify’s CEO participated Tuesday in the audio streaming service’s first-quarter earnings call was artificial intelligence.

CEO Daniel Ek responded to a few questions related to the matter, one of which pertained to the company’s AI DJ feature beta launch and AI receiving pushback in the music industry on copyright grounds. He told analysts and investors it was “important to kind of separate AI DJ from the sort of AI conversation.”

Spotify logo

Spotify’s AI DJ was unveiled for U.S. and Canadian users with premium subscriptions back in February. When listeners utilize it, the DJ is designed to provide a “curated lineup of music” and commentary about the tracks and artists it selects in a “stunningly realistic” voice, according to a press release from the time.


“So AI DJ, in and on itself, I think we’ve had nothing but positive reactions from across the industry,” he said. “I think the AI pushback from the copyright industry or labels and media companies, it’s really around really important topics and issues like name and likeness, what is an actual copyright, who owns the right to something where you upload something and claim it to be Drake and it’s really not, and so on.”


TURKEY – 2021/12/02: In this photo illustration the Spotify logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen near a pair of earphones. (Photo Illustration by Onur Dogman/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Onur Dogman/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Those, he said, are “legitimate concerns.” Spotify is collaborating with its industry partners on “trying to establish a position where we both allow innovation but, at the same time, protect all of the creators that we have on our platform,” according to Ek.

He had made similar comments about a “dual focus” of permitting innovation and watching out for musicians in response to a question about Spotify’s role in dealing with AI-generated music that pulls from other artists.


“And it’s important to state that there’s everything from what you’ve mentioned, sort of fake tracks from artists – which falls in one bucket – to everything of just augmenting using AI to allow for expression – which probably falls in the more lenient and easier bucket,” he added.

The issues are “very, very complex” ones that “don’t have a straight answer,” he said. He also described AI as an “incredibly fast-moving and developing space.”

Spotify logo on a phone

In this photo illustration the streaming service logo Spotify seen displayed on a smartphone next to a pair of earphones. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

An AI-generated song using Drake and The Weeknd’s vocals recently went viral, receiving millions of views on social media. It was posted on Spotify and elsewhere as well but has since been taken off the platform, according to the BBC.

Ek did note during the call one AI-related thing that could be “potentially huge” – aiding in producing music.


AI has been making headlines in recent months as it has started being used for tasks in various areas, including music, computer programming and office work. In addition to Spotify, some companies have also started offering features powered by AI, including Expedia, Snapchat and Salesforce.

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Spotify’s stock was trading at roughly $138 on Tuesday, marking a 25% rise in a one-year span.

Fox News’ Lauryn Overhultz contributed to this report. 

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