Today’s Neat Music App: An A.I. DJ Brain That Builds Playlists On The Fly

What are your biggest issues with playlists? Do they take too long to make? Are they too static and unchanging? Do you have a hard time striking a balance, or finding the perfect songs to match the mood? An Australian DJ understands your struggle, and has paired with computer engineers to build an artificial intelligence (A.I.) app to solve all your problems by DJing for you.

The app is called Muru – inspired by an Aboriginal Australian term for “journey”, it’s essentially creator Nicc Johnson’s DJ brain encoded into an artificial intelligence. Muru operates on top of streaming services like Spotify, analyzing the metadata of songs to determine how they could slot together. Then when a user punches in what they want the A.I. takes care of the rest – with plenty of room for adjustment.

For example, if you wanted to start with your favourite alt band and end with some smoother indie rock after a few hours, Muru would take care of that for you. The app also has some built-in sliders, so you can adjust the playlist on the fly. Want a bit more energy? No problem, just bump up the slider a bit. Trying to impress some musical friends? Bring down the popularity slider to hear some more obscure tracks. There’s also an era slider to move between generations, and a tempo slider for when you’re looking to change speeds.

Muru has plenty of visual cues to make the system easier to use. Each genre is colour-coded, so if you decide to start with upbeat electro and move to smooth jazz over the course of an evening the colours blend to show you where in the transition you’re at. There are also visual representations for timing, so you can keep an eye on the playlist’s clock as well. Overall the app is a neat mirror of what DJs do all the time – with the added benefit of technological discovery. Even if you’re not a fan of the A.I.’s musical tastes, having a computer automatically shuffle in some of the thousands of new songs added to streaming services every day is a huge help.

Muru is available now, but unfortunately the app currently requires a Spotify premium account and an iOS device. So if you’re looking for magic playlists and/or music discovery but don’t fit those parameters, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Muru does have a basic playlist builder on its website that shows you the gist of the full app’s functionality, but it can only play Spotify samples and seems to have a buggy URL.

Mathew Kahansky

Once upon a time, Mat studied journalism. That's how he became Alan's one-time intern and current-time contributor, and the rest is ongoing history - get it? Mat also studied biology and music, so he has a strangely specific knowledge set that doesn't really apply anywhere other than useless fun facts. He currently works for a music tech start-up in Halifax, and is a big fan of the em dash.

Mathew Kahansky has 291 posts and counting. See all posts by Mathew Kahansky

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