Sonic Sage uses ChatGPT to find songs in your Plex library and Tidal (for those with a subscription). The new AI-based discovery tool takes artist radio or Pandora’s music genome technology to a new level.
Plex added the Plexamp music app in 2017. It was based on the Windows Winamp media player and included visualizations to accompany the songs in your library. It made your downloaded music library searchable and facilitated the creation of Spotify-like playlists. Ultimately, you had to purchase the Plex premium plan to use Plex Amp.
In 2021, Plex added the “Super Sonic” feature. Where Pandora relies on metadata, the Plexamp feature matched songs that were “sonically similar” to create radio stations and programming mixes.
Now, with the help of ChatGPT, users can use plain English to describe the kind of music they want to hear. During a demo call with Plexamp and Sonic Sage, Plex co-founder and CTO Elan Feingold requested “fierce female rockers of the ’70s”. The results appropriately included songs by Heart, Joan Jett, and Patty Smith.
The next natural language search demo explored the ever-expanding category of “deceased rockers.” Though it may be morbid, the results were a testament to what the ChatGPT engine can do.
Beyond discovering music from various performers, you can find specific types of music from a particular artist — like “Elton John’s dance songs,” which produced a list that included “Crocodile Rock” and “I’m Still Standing.”
In addition to Sonic Sage, several features for creating playlists are unique to Plexamp, including:
Library Radio – Shuffles the tracks that you listen to most in your saved music library.
Sonic Adventure – You pick a “start” track and a “destination track” and machine learning is used to ultimately connect the two songs.
Time Travel Radio – Similar to the Sonic Adventure but starts with oldies and transitions to current songs.
Guest DJ – Different DJ modes include DJ Stretch to add adventure to segues, DJ Contempo to keep the mood going with music from the same era, and DJ Groupie to play tracks from one artist.
Mood Radio — Goes beyond “chill” or “dance” radio stations to include genres from brooding, cathartic, and confident to intense, playful, poignant, swaggering, and wistful.
Aural Fixations – Like Spotify, this feature tracks your music listening habits and creates best-of lists from the most played tracks, albums, or artists.
As with many Plex features when they are first released, it takes a level of tech comfort to set up Sonic Sage.
First, you must create an account with ChatGPT and get an API key. Chat GPT charges for each query, but it’s such a nominal amount per prompt that it’s unlikely to cost more than $2 per month.
Sonic Sage works with your own music library and benefits those with large libraries. Still, it’s better when paired with a Tidal music streaming subscription, as there is the opportunity to discover new music.