Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, is exploring using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to create personalized podcast ads that sound like the hosts themselves read them. The company is working on AI tools that will mimic the voice, style, and tone of popular podcasters and generate ads that fit the context and mood of the podcast. This information was revealed by Bill Simmons, the founder of The Ringer, a podcast network that Spotify acquired for nearly $200 million in 2020. Simmons discussed the future of AI and podcasting with Derek Thompson, an editor at The Atlantic, on a recent episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast.”
With their permission, Simmons said that Spotify is developing AI technology to use his voice and others for the ads. He said that this technology will open up new possibilities for advertisers and listeners, as they can create more relevant and customized ads. For example, Simmons said these AI-generated ads could geo-target listeners based on location and offer them tickets for local events or shows. They could also translate the ads into different languages, making the podcasts more accessible globally. They could also create ads related to the podcast’s topic and tone, such as sports, comedy, or politics.
Simmons even speculated that an AI bot trained on his previous podcasts and writings could create a podcast that sounds like him. He asked: “Would people rather interact with the bot or listen to my podcast?”
Spotify did not confirm or deny the development of this technology but said in a statement that it is “always working to enhance the Spotify experience and test new offerings that benefit creators, advertisers, and users.”
“Advertising represents an interesting canvas for future exploration, but we don’t have anything to announce now,” a Spotify spokesperson said.
Spotify has invested in AI and machine learning technologies for various purposes, such as personalization, recommendation, and content creation. The company recently launched Spotify DJ, which uses AI to create personalized radio stations with songs and commentary tailored to listeners’ preferences.
The use of AI to generate voices and music has been a controversial topic in the music industry, as some artists and fans have raised ethical and legal concerns about this technology’s potential misuse and abuse. Some AI-created songs that imitate the vocals and styles of popular artists like Drake, The Weeknd, and Travis Scott have gone viral in recent weeks.
Spotify has not revealed when or how it plans to launch its AI-generated podcast ads, but the company is exploring new ways to leverage its vast library of podcasts and its growing audience of over 400 million users.