Music streaming giant Spotify is announcing today an expanded partnership with Google Cloud to leverage artificial intelligence via the latter firm’s large language models (LLMs) to improve the Spotify listening experience. The collaboration aims to help Spotify better understand user content preferences and generate more personalized recommendations.

Spotify will explore applying Google’s LLMs to the following three areas:

  • Content discovery: AI models will analyze Spotify’s massive catalog of music, podcasts, and audiobooks to improve metadata and content organization, leading to more relevant recommendations for users.
  • Personalized recommendations: The technology will help understand each user’s listening patterns across spoken content to suggest new podcasts and audiobooks tailored to their tastes.
  • Safe listening: AI will help Spotify detect potentially inappropriate or harmful content across the platform to help provide a more secure listening environment.

The partnership deepens Spotify’s existing relationship with Google Cloud, a business unit of Alphabet (GOOG), which has been its preferred cloud provider since 2016. Spotify currently serves over 550 million monthly active users worldwide.

Doubling Down on AI for Other Content Formats

Spotify has invested heavily in artificial intelligence for years, using its own custom machine-learning platform built on Google Cloud to power its signature playlists and music recommendations.

The company says that this latest collaboration represents “the evolution of our technology”, as Spotify now looks to apply AI advancements like LLMs more broadly across its platform.

LLMs are trained on vast datasets to generate human-like text and content. They have exploded in popularity since the launch of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools from competitors including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

By analyzing users’ preferences and content patterns, Spotify aims to use LLMs to replicate its success with AI-powered music recommendations in non-musical formats. The company has been aggressively expanding into podcasts, audiobooks, and other content in pursuit of revenue growth.

Spotify’s chief product officer, Gustav Söderström, highlighted Google Cloud’s capabilities in generative AI as an asset for improving Spotify’s product experience. The partnership will combine Google’s AI expertise with Spotify’s own strengths in recommendation algorithms.

While the collaboration is just getting started, Spotify has already implemented AI-powered features leveraging Google Cloud.

Last month, Spotify (SPOT) launched an auto-generated transcripts feature for podcasts using Google Cloud’s Speech-to-Text API. Transcripts are now available for millions of podcast episodes, allowing free and paid users to read along while listening.

Spotify has also debuted an AI DJ that creates personalized music queues and uses generative AI to provide commentary and information about recommended songs.

These early examples demonstrate how Spotify plans to tap AI to enhance usability and engagement across its platform. Integrating Google’s LLMs represents the next phase of its product innovation efforts.

What Does This Mean for the Streaming Industry?

The deal signals both companies’ commitment to becoming leaders in applying AI to enhance customers’ experiences. Leveraging each other’s technical strengths allows Spotify and Google Cloud to accelerate development.

Their partnership also highlights the value of LLMs for tasks like search, recommendations, and content classification. Other digital media and entertainment platforms are paying close attention as Spotify pilots new generative AI capabilities with Google’s support.

For Google Cloud, bringing a partner like Spotify on board is a win as it competes with Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft, and others in offering a robust AI toolkit to its partners. Spotify’s large and highly engaged user base provides the firm an ideal testing ground for its LLMs.

The collaboration gives both partners access to prized data for training and refining algorithms. Spotify’s usage patterns and Google Cloud’s compute resources combine to further advance AI research.

Looking ahead, Spotify users can expect Google’s LLMs to enable more intuitive and user-friendly experiences as new features are rolled out. More personalized podcasts, audiobooks, and music suggestions are likely on the horizon.

Spotify will also keep exploring how AI can improve safety and content moderation. As generative models become more advanced, their ability to identify harmful content could be used as an additional shield for users. Both companies have indicated that this expanded alliance is just the beginning.