TikTok's chatbot shows how generative AI could dominate music discovery

AI For Business

AI chatbots have infiltrated nearly every corner of the internet, from workplace productivity tools to dating apps.

TikTok is the latest company to experiment with the technology, adding an AI assistant called Tonik to its music streaming app, TikTok Music, in October.

For those unfamiliar with TikTok Music, it's a Spotify-like app that blends some of TikTok's social features with audio streaming. It's available in Singapore, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, and Indonesia. The company hasn't announced plans to expand into other markets, but it did file to trademark the name in the U.S. in 2022.

Powered by ChatGPT from OpenAI, Tonik is designed to help TikTok Music users find information about artists and tracks, discover or create playlists, learn about upcoming concerts and other music news, etc. The tool can also answer non-music related questions.

I began testing Tonik last month by requesting access to the app through the TikTok Music website. I was curious to see how good this ability to generate personalized playlists from text prompts would be, and I also wanted to try out the safety guardrails TikTok Music had put in place to protect users from the odd responses that frequently occur in the world of large-scale language models.

While I was impressed with Tonik's ability to create playlists based on very specific prompts, there is a lot of room for improvement here.

TikTok's main video app, which is also developing its own AI chatbot, has become a key platform for music discovery. Could AI-generated playlists become part of TikTok's larger music story?

TikTok's competitors are also banking on AI: Spotify, which offers a personalized AI DJ, began testing AI-generated playlists in the UK and Australia in April, allowing users to request music like “a playlist of indie folk to warm your brain” or “relaxing tunes to get you through allergy season.” Apple Music is also considering adding a similar feature, according to Bloomberg.

After using TikTok Music's AI chatbot for a week, I see great potential in generative AI as a tool for getting truly personalized song recommendations.

Streaming platforms have been using AI to customize playlists for years, like Spotify's “Discover Weekly,” but these apps need user direction to generate the exact track list you need at any given moment. If you're doomscrolling while eating mac and cheese and want to hear songs that fit your mood, you can tell Tonik what you're doing and it will create a playlist called “Chill Out Mac and Cheese.”

Unlike some applications of generative AI, which leverage artists’ work without sharing revenue, music streaming chatbots could actually help performers find new listeners.

If TikTok can transform Tonik into a trusted music curator, it will be an advantage as the company tries to establish itself as a true player in music streaming, but it still has work to do to get there.

Playlists for every occasion (some restrictions apply)

After running through a variety of Tonik requests, I found that the chatbot was happy to create a playlist to match my mood and the weather, but that it tended to take my words literally and would stop generating when the text prompts got more risqué.

For example, I told Tonik that it was really cold and I wanted a playlist that would warm me up, and it generated a tracklist called “Cozy Winter Warmers” that included songs like Unlike Pluto's “Cold Weather” and the classic “Winter Wonderland.”

Tonik often tried to make recommendations by matching the exact words and song titles I typed in. When I requested a “sexy” playlist, it produced a tracklist of “Sensual Nights,” which included songs like “Sex Sounds,” “Sexy,” and “Sexyy Walk.”

I told the app that I was feeling down and wanted some music to help me relax, and Tonic created a “Hopeful Melodies” playlist that included songs like Depeche Mode's “Barrel of a Gun” and “Damaged People.”

“Cheers to feeling good and hearing great songs!” the bot told me.

"Need a playlist to get you in the mood after TikTok is banned? Listen to these tracks"

Tonic offered a playlist for listeners to “get in the mood” if TikTok is banned.

TikTok Music.

Tonik didn't flinch when I leveled up on my music needs. When I told it I'd found my foot stuck between two rocks in the Grand Canyon and needed some music to kill time while waiting to be rescued, Tonik generated a “Survival Mode Mood Booster” playlist with tracks like “Death Valley” and “How It Seems To End.” When I asked for a tracklist of songs for a midlife crisis, it created a “Midlife Melancholy” playlist, and when I told it I was trapped on a boat at sea, it created a “Shipwrecked Seas” playlist.

The chatbot wasn't afraid to veer into politics, spitting out playlists of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, but when I asked it what playlists it would listen to while “storming the Capitol on January 6th” or “smoking marijuana,” it replied, “I'm taking a break.”

TikTok says Tonik will not respond to input that violates the app's community guidelines.

And while it wasn't interested in creating a playlist related to “bad stealing,” a school theft epidemic, when I requested music to listen to while cheating on my homework, it did suggest a playlist of “guilt-free study vibes.”

“Need a sneaky playlist to get your homework done? Check this out,” it said.

Lost at sea? Tonik has your music covered.

Lost at sea? Tonik has your music covered.

TikTok Music.

Large-scale language models are still in their infancy, and almost all AI bots offer incorrect advice or simply behave oddly when their limits are tested.

Tonik has only been around for a few months, but as it gains more users, it will likely become even better at creating relevant playlists. I think there is a huge opportunity for music streamers who have perfected AI-generated playlists, an area of ​​AI that artists and their teams can really leverage. If TikTok Music gets there first, it could have a chance to break through in a very competitive field.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *