The Weeknd welcomes fans to the uncanny valley with a new Spotify microsite that allows them to “chat” with the singer via artificial intelligence. Upon logging into the site, a digitized version of The Weeknd addresses the user by name before launching into a sort of mad-libs-esque monologue that draws on the user’s listening data to keep Abel’s CGI avatar talking. As he does so, the titles of the listener’s favorite Weeknd songs jump and flash across the screen while the digital character reacts to the new information in real time.
It’s just one more way Abel’s utilized tech to replace touring as a way to connect with fans — even if it is one of the most borderline off-putting (remember Ex Machina? It’s a little like that.). The Weeknd has always been on the forefront of new streaming tech, from the vertical videos for his My Dear Melancholy EP to the trippy animated videos for “In Your Eyes” and “Snowchild” from his latest album, After Hours. He’s also been staying in touch with supporters via his Memento Mori Radio on Apple Music, where he recently played a few unreleased tracks from his Kiss Land recording sessions, and via TikTok, where he staged a live virtual concert and previewed a new song.
Check out a preview of his “Alone With Me” experience above and try it out for real here.