That podcast ad you're listening to may soon be AI. Spotify is reportedly developing bots to mimic your favorite hosts.
Bill Simmons, founder of The Ringer, hinted at Spotify's future AI plans.
He said that the streaming service is working on technology for AI-generated ads.
AI trained on voices has been a controversial topic in the music industry in the last month.
Next time you're playing a podcast on Spotify, listen really close to its ad — it may be read by AI, not your favorite host.
Bill Simmons, founder of Spotify-owned podcast network The Ringer, said the streaming platform is developing AI tools trained on its hosts' voices to create targeted ads, as first reported by Semafor.
"I don't think Spotify is going to get mad at me for this, but we're developing that stuff," Simmons said in conversation with Derek Thompson, an editor at The Atlantic, on an episode of "The Bill Simmons Podcast." "There is going to be a way to use my voice for the ads. You have to obviously give the approval for the voice, but it opens up, from an advertising standpoint, all these different great possibilities."
Simmons, who sold The Ringer to Spotify for close to $200 million in 2020, outlined the potential of AI advertising to personalize ads for, say, a ticketing company, which could geo-target listeners for events in specific cities.
He also discussed the potential of AI to make podcasts more accessible through translation.
In theory, Simmons said, an AI bot that was trained on his former podcasts and writing would even be able to create a podcast that hit all of the beats that Simmons touches on during his own recordings.
"Would people rather interact with the bot or listen to my podcast?" he asked.
Simmons and The Ringer did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
"We're always working to enhance the Spotify experience and test new offerings that benefit creators, advertisers and users," a Spotify spokesperson said in a statement. "Advertising represents an interesting canvas for future exploration, but we don't have anything to announce at this time."
AI, generally, is a growing conversation topic: There has been a 500% increase in the number of daily podcast episodes discussing AI over the past month, according Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. And the use of people's voices to create AI-generated content has been particularly heated.
AI-created music that leverages the vocals and production styles of mainstream acts like Drake, The Weeknd, and Travis Scott has gone viral in recent weeks. Major labels have been quick to remove these tracks from streaming services, as to prevent others from profiting off the likeness of their clients.
The relative ease of generating AI music has opened up scamming opportunities too. Some fans were duped into paying for what they believed to be unreleased Frank Ocean tracks, only for those recordings to have been AI-generated.
Artists like Ice Cube have described this AI music as "demonic," adding that he would sue anyone making or distributing AI-generated tracks in his style.
But others, like Grimes, have welcomed the technology. She said she would be willing to split royalties evenly with anyone who could create a hit song using AI tools to imitate her sounds.
In response to the conversation, Spotify took down tens of thousands of AI-generated songs that were uploaded to its platform by the AI startup, Boomy, at the beginning of May.
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