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The magic of AI & music streaming: How your playlists keep getting smarter, plus 21 apps to try

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Harmonizing tech with tunes: How AI tailors your music streaming experience

In today’s world, finding and enjoying music is easier and more personalized than ever, thanks in large part to a tech assist from artificial intelligence (AI).

Music recommendations that get you

Long gone are the days of flipping through CDs (or records!), or waiting for a great song to play on the radio or a TV show. AI is changing how we find and listen to music — almost as if you have a personal DJ who knows exactly what you want to hear.

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Take Pandora, for example. It’s not just playing random songs: it uses AI to select the tuneful vibe that matches your tastes perfectly. Or consider Spotify. It seems to almost read your mind, creating playlists that match your mood and preferences — whether upbeat anthems for your morning workout, or relaxing melodies for an evening wind-down.

But it’s not all about the giants like Pandora and Spotify, because the world of AI in music streaming is so much more wide and varied. Each service offers a unique mix of innovative technology and human expertise, from Idagio‘s AI-driven recommendations to TIDAL‘s focus on high-quality sound.

Whether you’re into rare tracks, love classical music, or want to discover new styles, there’s a music service that ‘gets’ you.

Here, see how these services use smart algorithms to figure out what you like, then suggest songs and playlists that make music streaming better and more tailored to what you love.

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AI for personalized playlists

In the dynamic world of music streaming, AI has transcended its role as a mere playlist shuffler, evolving into a sonic sorcerer weaving personalized soundscapes just for you.

Platforms like Spotify and Pandora have ditched the one-size-fits-all approach, instead using modern tech to craft bespoke experiences as unique as your musical DNA.

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๐ŸŽถ Pandora AI & music streaming

Pandora, the pioneer of personalized radio, relies on its Music Genome Project, a colossal library of meticulously analyzed musical fingerprints. Imagine thousands of invisible tags for each song, not just genre labels but capturing mood, energy, and even lyrical themes.

This allows Pandora’s AI to become a musical matchmaker, not just pairing artists but uncovering hidden connections and crafting stations that morph and evolve with your taste. It’s a dynamic musical landscape, continuously shaped by AI and human expertise. Each time you thumbs up a song, it adds another layer, fine-tuning your personalized music experience.

๐ŸŽถ VIDEO: “What is the Music Genome Project?”

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๐ŸŽถ Spotify AI

Spotify, a leader in music discovery, masterfully uses AI to create playlists like “Discover Weekly,” which seem to have an uncanny ability to read your mind and match your musical tastes. Its algorithms use your listening history, the artists you follow, and even the time of day you crank up the tunes to suggest hidden gems and familiar favorites when you need them.

Are you craving an adrenaline rush after work? Spotify whips up a high-octane playlist. In the mood for soulful ballads? AI serenades you with the perfect soundtrack for introspection. It’s not just algorithms and data, though. Spotify’s human touch curates genre-specific playlists and spotlights rising stars, ensuring you discover what you like and might love.

๐ŸŽถ VIDEO: “How Spotify’s AI-Driven Recommendations Work”

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AI-powered personalization goes beyond convenience, aiming to deepen your connection with music. Picture Pandora suggesting an indie band that shares your penchant for melancholic melodies or Spotify unearthing an artist who channels your love for 80s synth-pop. These are musical matches made in heaven, uncovered through AI and human curation.

More music streaming apps with AI personalization

The music streaming landscape is rich with AI-powered personalization beyond Spotify and Pandora. Here are a few more examples:

๐ŸŽถ Apple Music

Apple Music’s vast music library got a powerful boost with the seamless integration of Shazam, the popular song identification app. Now, when you discover a new tune with that tool, it doesn’t simply vanish into the ether โ€“ it magically lands in a dedicated “My Shazam Tracks” playlist within your Apple Music library.

The iPhone/iPad/Mac app syncs across all your devices under the same Apple ID, ensuring your musical discoveries follow you wherever you go. No more hunting for that catchy song across different playlists or devices.

By partnering with Bandsintown, Apple Music (formerly known as iTunes) now serves up concert recommendations for the artists you discover, turning that “ooh, I like this” moment into a potential “live music magic” experience.

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๐ŸŽถ TIDAL

TIDAL stands out for its focus on high-quality, lossless audio and exclusive content catering to audiophiles. Beyond just providing superior audio fidelity, TIDAL uses AI to study users’ listening habits and past music purchases.

TIDAL offers personalized recommendations based on that info — including exclusive tracks and concerts tailored to users’ musical tastes. This strategy helps users discover music closely aligned with their preferences, introducing them to unique performances and niche genres they might not find elsewhere.

Their emphasis on high-quality audio (one plan offers standard sound, the other delivers sound quality up to 24-bit/192 kHz) and personalized curation makes it a premium choice for music lovers who value depth and excellence in their listening experience.

๐ŸŽถ VIDEO: “Everything you need to know about Tidal”

YouTube video

๐ŸŽถ Amazon Music

This subscription service offers a vast library, and its AI engine adapts to your listening patterns, playlists, and even voice searches. The AI analyzes requests like “Alexa, play something chill” and creates personalized “Chill Vibes” playlists that change when your preferences do — seamlessly mixing genres and moods to suit any moment.

Amazon Music also uses AI to tailor “Daily Digests” and “My Top Songs” playlists. Their AI sifts through your library to bring back songs you haven’t heard in a while, mixing them with new artists that match your style. It’s kind of like like having a guide who knows both the well-trodden paths and hidden corners of your musical landscape.

The free tier of Amazon Music isn’t left out of the AI scene either. It offers personalized “On-The-Go” stations that adjust to your mood and activity, whether you’re commuting or working out. It’s cool to have an ever-changing soundtrack that can energize or relax you — depending on your mood — at no cost. Of course, as is the case with most freebies, there’s a much more limited selection of tunes available.

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๐ŸŽถ YouTube Music

YouTube Music harnesses YouTube’s vast content, blending audio tracks with music videos and live performances. Its AI analyzes your viewing history, recommending songs and visually engaging performances to offer you a more customized experience.

With assistive playlists, the Google company’s AI suggests tracks based on your history and preferences, simplifying the whole process for you.

YouTube Music’s generative AI feature allows users in the US to create unique playlist art, and the platform also offers a “Create a Radio” function and a “Samples” tab for exploring music video segments, further tailoring the user experience.

These features, alongside experiments like AI-made music in Dream Track, are proof positive of YouTube Music’s push toward innovative, AI-enhanced musical discovery.

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๐ŸŽถ SoundCloud

SoundCloud, a leading online audio-sharing and streaming platform, has recently enhanced its music discovery features by acquiring Musiio, a Singapore-based AI music curation company. This strategic move is designed to improve SoundCloud’s music intelligence capabilities and help identify emerging music trends and talent.

Musiio’s AI technology is adept at “listening” to music at an unprecedented scale, tagging audio, and curating playlists. This technology enables SoundCloud to predict which songs a listener might want to hear next, significantly enhancing the user experience. Musiio can rapidly tag or search large volumes of music, processing approximately 2,000,000 tracks daily.

All of that lets SoundCloud generate detailed information about each track — including genre, beats per minute, key, vocal, and recording quality. This capability is integral for SoundCloud, known for its unique position as both a music-streaming service for fans and an artist services business. (SoundCloud is the only platform maintaining a direct relationship with artists and listeners, which Musiio’s AI significantly bolsters.)

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๐ŸŽถ iHeartRadio AI & music streaming

iHeartRadio, a the largest radio broadcaster in the US, has advanced its digital music personalization through deep learning and AI technology. This approach allows iHeartRadio to understand what listeners enjoy most in their favorite music, such as rhythm, instrumentation, tempo, and vocals.

In a significant leap forward for its digital music service, iHeartRadio, in partnership with Super Hi-Fi, has launched first-of-its-kind AI technology.

This tuneful tech provides seamless song transitions, including precise crossfades, volume leveling, and gapless playback that eliminates the silence between tracks. These AI-powered enhancements mimic the polished production of live radio, offering an optimized digital music listening experience.

These enhancements are available across iHeartRadio’s custom Artist Radio stations, on-demand Playlists, Playlist Radio, and more.

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๐ŸŽถ Deezer

Deezer is a renowned European music streaming service combining editorial curation and sophisticated AI technology. Its unique feature, Flow, plays a pivotal role in this blend.

Flow is an AI-powered music discovery tool that creates a personalized, infinite mix of favorite tracks and fresh discoveries. It learns and adjusts itself based on users’ listening histories, likes, and dislikes. The more songs users favorite, the more personalized their Flow becomes.

In 2023, Deezer launched the next generation of Flow, enhancing its capabilities to include moods and genres. It caters to specific moods and genres, allowing users to tell Flow how they feel or what style they want, from romance to party vibes. This creates an adaptive and responsive listening experience.

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๐ŸŽถ JioSaavn

JioSaavn, popular in South Asia, has embraced AI to revolutionize how users experience music. The platform has received updates focusing on improving the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), with a notable emphasis on AI-powered music recommendations. Their ‘Living Search’ feature exemplifies this AI integration, offering recommendations based on users’ listening habits and preferred genres.

Behind the scenes, JioSaavn employs classical collaborative filtering methods such as Matrix Factorization and Word2Vec, complemented by deep learning models. This sophisticated approach enables the service to deliver quality recommendations across various regional languages, ensuring a diverse and inclusive music discovery experience.

The AI system analyzes numerous data points, including the user’s previous song choices and metadata like tempo and genre. This enables JioSaavn to align recommendations with the user’s music tastes and introduce them to new songs that fit their profile. As a result, they can provide a tailored listening experience, making music discovery easier for its users.

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๐ŸŽถ Gaana

Gaana, a widely-used music streaming service in India, incorporates AI in several innovative ways to enhance the discovery and enjoyment of music, creating a unique and engaging user experience. Gaana’s AI-driven approach analyzes user interactions, listening history, and device attributes to create a highly personalized experience on every device.

The technology stack behind Gaana’s AI includes a range of open-source technologies. Gaana’s recommendation system, is a vital component of its AI capabilities, enhancing the overall app experience for userโ€‹โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹s.

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๐ŸŽถ Anghami

Anghami, a leading music platform in the Middle East and North Africa, harnesses AI for song recommendations and creating personalized playlists. The platform’s engineering team employs data science to develop prediction algorithms based on user behavior, connecting similar playlists and songs to suggest content that matches each user’s listening pattern.

This approach includes tagging playlists for appropriateness based on time, location, and cultural dynamics, ensuring contextual relevance for every user.

Their content team curates playlists, but the selection process to display these is automated and tailored to the user’s specific music preferences. They have also introduced AI-powered personalized podcasts, allowing users to create customized podcasts based on selected topics.

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๐ŸŽถ KKBox

KKBox isย a popular music streaming service in East Asia, and it incorporates AI to enhance music discovery by recommending songs and creating personalized playlists based on users’ listening habits. Featuring over 100 million tracks, KKBox is available in regions like Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia.

The platform integrates exclusive cloud technology and an AI-based recommendation engine, facilitating a tailored music listening experience.

In 2019, KKBox announced a partnership with Microsoft, planning to leverage Microsoft AI technology for music arrangement, lyric generation, and predictive models for forecasting a song’s commercial success.

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๐ŸŽถ Yandex Music

Yandex Music, a prominent Russian streaming service, uses AI to enhance the music listening experience by recommending songs and creating personalized playlists based on user preferences. The platform is known for its intuitive and user-friendly interface, offering personalized recommendations, top charts, and new releases. Users can explore music by genre, mood, or artist, which makes discovering new music tailored to their tastes effortless.

One of Yandex Music’s key features is its personalized recommendation system. This system uses a combination of users’ listening history, likes, and dislikes to curate playlists and suggest new music. The platform’s robust search function allows users to easily find specific tracks, albums, or artists and search by lyrics.

Yandex Music also provides an offline listening option, allowing users to download their favorite tracks. Additionally, users can create and share playlists and collaborate with others, enhancing the social aspect of music listening. The platform includes radio stations based on favorite artists or genres for a more hands-off listening experience.

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๐ŸŽถ NetEase Cloud Music

NetEase Cloud Music, a leading streaming service in China, is another platform that leverages AI to enhance its music discovery features. They have introduced an AI feature called “Private DJ,” an innovative upgrade to its song recommendation algorithm. This aims to offer personalized song recommendations based on user preferences, and it goes a step further by providing explanations for its selections, interpretations of song meanings, and comprehensive information about the music.

In addition to the “Private DJ,” NetEase Cloud Music has launched several intelligent song recommendation functions, such as daily recommendations, heartbeat mode, and radar playlists. These features have been well received, with a significant portion of the platform’s daily active users listening to music through these recommendations. NetEase Cloud Music enhances user engagement by focusing on AI-driven personalization and provides a more tailored music listening experience.

NetEase Cloud Music also emphasizes the support and promotion of independent artists. The platform reported that many registered indie artists contributed millions of music tracks to its content library.

We’ve come a long way… but there are miles yet to go

Keep in mind that the AI-powered music landscape is constantly evolving.ย And if you ever feel like it’s not moving fast enough, just think: it was only 100 years ago that the old Victrola phonograph was the most popular music technology available.

Vintage Victrola photograph ad from the early 1920s from Click Americana and AndWhatsNext com
A real vintage Victrola photograph ad from the early 1920s (Via Click Americana.com)

Personalization isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but more like an extended remix of algorithms and human touch, making sure there’s something for everyone’s unique music preferences.

Soon, you’ll hardly remember a time before before there was a musical universe tailor-made just for you.

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