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The Battle of the AI Playlisters: How Spotify's New AI Playlists Stacks Up Against Songhunt

Updated: May 6

With the release of Spotify's new AI Playlists feature, we couldn't resist pitting it against our own AI-powered song search and playlisting engine,

For our extensive head-to-head comparative strengths and features review, we engaged both platforms with various prompts to evaluate their capabilities. Here's how they measure up:

For this query, Spotify's AI primarily suggested song titles featuring keywords related to the prompt, though not directly matching it. It also clearly favoured popular/well-known artists like Avicii, Imagine Dragons, and Macklemore. In contrast, Songhunt's top results included lesser-known songs that explicitly depicted biking through a city, such as Bicycle feat. Shungudzo by BC Unidos, and Hi Vis by Bakers Eddy, with subsequent suggestions remaining thematically close, such as walking/driving through a city.

Advantage: Songhunt

Spotify again delivered fairly predictable choices — soundalikes and Lumineers-ish folk-rock artists, such as Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men, and Vance Joy. Alternatively, Songhunt effectively delved deeper into the song’s lyrical content, analyzing themes and moods to provide a wider range of artists beyond the usual suspects, like Mitski, NEEDTOBREATHE, and a Nashville Cast cover.

Advantage: Songhunt

Here, Spotify's AI delivered a strong selection of tropical house tunes from the likes of Kygo and Sigala. Alternatively, while Songhunt effectively reccomended house songs for a party, it didn't specifically accommodate the tropical house genre. Songhunt's users can view and explore its extensive list of supported genres and sub-genres on the platform, but for those seeking truly niche or specific sub-genres, Spotify appears to offer a broader range of options.

Advantage: Spotify

Spotify struggled with this query, offering “positive/uplifting” tracks (unrelated to religion/spirituality) and delivering only three results after some delay. Songhunt's AI performed a lot better. Despite recommending one explicit song (by Eminem), the results, featuring Common, Fugees, and DMX, were spot on and thematically relevant.

Advantage: Songhunt

Spotify again delivered nice but safe/predictable choices, leaning towards popular female singer-songwriters/pop artists like Sara Bareilles and Christina Perri. Songhunt's holistic relevance analysis took into account lyrical, musical, and sonic similarities, which, in addition to Perri, Gaga and Taylor Swift, resulted in a more diverse range of artists.

Advantage: Songhunt

The Takeaways:

What’s Popular vs. New Music Discovery

It's evident that Spotify’s AI tends to prioritize trending artists and user behavior, which often leads to familIar and redundant selections, despite the millions of songs added to its database daily. In contrast, Songhunt specializes in content-based recommendations, focusing on deep musical, sonic, and lyrical analysis of the song. This approach pushes users beyond the familiar safety net of mainstream hits and chart-toppers, yielding more accurate and diverse recommendations, even while featuring a far more limited library of songs (roughly 300k). For those keen on discovering fresh artists and music not already in their Spotify library, Songhunt's discovery mode (which can be disabled if you're only interested in popular songs) is the way to go.

The Experience:

With AI song search, it's not just about the recommendations – it's about the journey to find them. Songhunt's interface offers a more transparent, hands-on search experience. In addition to free-text natural-language prompts, users can refine their searches using comprehensive lyrical and musical filters/tags, which are visible at all times for users to explore. Spotify's AI Playlist, on the other hand, exclusively relies on free-text prompts and chat-bot-like refinements, leaving users somewhat in the dark without access to all available options.

Lyrical Emphasis:

Many playlists are theme-driven, and Spotify’s AI doesn’t seem as adept at searching by writing style or specific narrative themes (such as ‘sustainability’ or ‘social media’). We found Songhunt's advanced lyrical analysis and similarity search outperform Spotify's, both in thematic relevance and writing style.

The Bottom Line:

While Spotify's foray into the AI domain is undoubtedly an intriguing and exciting move for existing users, Songhunt's tailored experience and its commitment to deep AI analysis and content-based recommendations continue to set it apart in the new music discovery game.

With Amazon Music announcing the launch of Maestro, its own AI playlist generator, it's clear the AI song search revolution is only gaining momentum. We're eager to see which other companies follow suit, and will be sure to conduct more head-to-head comparisons as new contenders emerge!

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