Playlist Problems

Why won’t Spotify’s new AI playlist generator accept these queer requests?

AI image generators play into queer stereotypes. AI chatbots tell users that queer people are “regarded as the lowest in the social hierarchy.” Now, Spotify’s newest feature joins the ranks of AI with apparent anti-queer biases.

Spotify just launched its AI Playlist feature, which allows users to enter a prompt and receive a playlist catered to their request. 

In its press release, Spotify encourages its users to get creative with the tool: “Looking for ‘an indie folk playlist to give my brain a big warm hug,’ ‘relaxing music to tide me over during allergy season,’ or ‘a playlist that makes me feel like the main character’? AI Playlist has you covered,” it reads. “Whether you’re a beginner or an expert playlist creator, AI Playlist pairs our powerful personalization technology with AI to deliver that perfect musical mix, just for you.”

It sounds cool in theory, but when queer folks got their hands on the tool, they quickly discovered it has some strange limitations.

“New Spotify AI is homophobic,” wrote one user on X, along with a screenshot of two prompts they fed to AI Playlist. The first was “music for gay sex,” which AI Playlist replied to with, “That’s a spicy note you’ve hit! Let’s tone it down a notch.”

It would be understandable if AI Playlist couldn’t handle any explicit requests. But when the same user tried the prompt “music for sx” — exactly the same as their previous prompt, minus the word “gay” — AI Playlist happily obliged.

“Crafting a playlist for those intimate moments, filled with sensual and smooth tunes,” it replied.

Other users quickly shared their own experiments with the AI tool, all encountering the same issue: gay sex was taboo, but generic sex was a-okay.

But others noticed that specifying the kind of sex at all triggered the tool’s censors. A playlist for “straight sex” got a similar response: “Sorry but that’s a little too risqué for me.”

Still, even non-sexual queerness isn’t acceptable to AI Playlist. One user asked for “a gay pop slay playlist for vibes and dancing,” which the tool responded to with a generic “Vibes and Dancing” playlist. 

When the user said that the playlist was “not gay enough,” AI Playlist said, “Let’s keep it inclusive instead. Try something else.”

This oversight is a serious issue for Spotify’s queer user base, some of whom said they’d have to leave the streaming service if it’s not corrected.

The AI tool is still in beta testing and is currently only available to users in the UK and Australia, so odds are Spotify will address the discrepancy in the tool’s next update. For now, though, folks had plenty of suggestions for alternate playlists to get queer folks in the mood.

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