We follow up this week’s feature video on “How to ChatGPT with your hi-fi system” – which looked at Roon and Plexamp integrations – with another how-to, this time focussing on playlist creation inside Apple Music.
With the installation of two iOS Shortcuts, we can leverage Siri and ChatGPT to create playlists directly inside the Apple Music app. Those playlists can then be offlined for out-of-the-house use or fired over to an AirPlay-compatible streaming endpoint in a hi-fi system.
For example, I asked ChatGPT with my voice (all Siri, no typing!) to “Make me a playlist of 10 songs from the Britpop era that are NOT by Oasis or Blur” and 30 seconds later I was ready to kick it with The Boo Radleys, Suede, Supergrass, The Charlatans, Ash, The Verve, The Stone Roses, Elastics, SFA and Pulp:
If you want to give this a try, you’ll need three things:
- An iPhone or an iPad
- An OpenAI account
- The S-GPT and S-GPT Encoder shortcuts
Don’t go looking for S-GPT or S-GPT Encoder in the App Store. You won’t find them. Instead, we need to launch the Shortcuts app on iOS and install the S-GPT and the S-GPT Encoder shortcuts from inside there.
Both come free of charge thanks to developer Federico Viticii:
Now we need to log in to OpenAI and generate an API key, copy it to the clipboard and then paste it into the S-GPT shortcut prompt upon its first launch. We need only do this once:
It’s also a good idea to set Usage Limits under the Billing menu on the Open AI website as ChatGPT users are charged tenths of a penny for each prompt executed. Don’t panic. Even super-heavy users are unlikely to clock up more than a few dollars per month.
To gain one-click access to its ChatGPT-connected prompt, I’d recommend adding the S-GPT shortcut to your device’s home screen. You can do this by using the dropdown inside the S-GPT shortcut. (There is no need to do this with S-GPT Encoder as it is only an S-GPT ‘helper’ shortcut):
That’s the end of the setup process. Time now to have some playlist creation fun.
Pressing the S-GPT shortcut (on the home screen) drops a prompt from the top of the screen that is directly linked to ChatGPT via its API. We can type in our request using the on-screen keyboard but speaking it using Siri is much more efficient. Click the microphone symbol in the bottom right of the keyboard to activate voice control.
Now comes something important: it is essential that your prompt feature the word playlist. This is S-GPT’s trigger word for Apple Music playlist creation e.g. “Make me a playlist of David Bowie’s most popular songs in the 1980s”.
We do not see the S-GPT shortcut create the playlist on the screen and in real-time, as we do with the standard ChatGPT interface. S-GPT gives us only a circular progress indicator to tell us that things are happening in the background. We need to exercise at least 30 seconds of patience whilst S-GPT processes our request.
Once that initial processing is done, we will be asked to name our playlist before S-GPT creates the playlist and populates it. After a few more seconds, it will report back on how many songs have been added to the newly created playlist.
If everything went well with S-GPT, we should now see our new playlist inside the Apple Music app.
Let’s do it again.
“Make me a playlist of 90s IDM, focussing on music issued on Warp Records”.
Notice the error thrown up by S-GPT midway through the playlist creation process? This could be one reason why the resulting playlist only features seven tracks. On other occasions, I’ve seen S-GPT tell me that it has added zero (0!) songs to a playlist. These are quirks to look out for but my experience tells me that S-GPT prefers broader searches or searches that don’t go as deep into genre niches.
Moreover, we need to make sure our prompts are crystal clear in their specificity. For example, “Make me a playlist of songs that sound like Talking Heads” netted only songs by Talking Heads. Greater clarity of language in my prompt brought better results.
“Create a playlist of songs by artists who sound like Talking Heads”:
I’m a fan of early (dubstep) Scuba and the murky world of Burial but I know of very little music that sounds like either artist. Could I use S-GPT to broaden my horizons? Yes.
“Create a playlist of songs that sound like Burial and Scuba”:
At this stage, it seems that ChatGPT’s strongest suit, when integrated into a music playback system, is its ability to assist with music re/discovery. S-GPT might also be for people in a hurry — those who want a quick playlist before they make their first coffee or rush out the door to work.
As with anything bleeding edge, ChatGPT’s integrations are not without their kinks and wrinkles. Early adopters need to set aside a little extra time to accommodate any operational hiccups. S-GPT isn’t for someone who struggles with computers in the day-to-day or prefers the simplicity of physical media.
It’s also worth pointing out that ChatGPT integrations like this subtract nothing from listeners (like me) who generally prefer to listen to albums from start to finish. I present all of this because, probably like you, I am curious about what AI can do to assist music discovery and selection.
To quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, “The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams.”
Further information: S-GPT