If you tried to listen to Heardle this morning but were instead redirected to the Spotify website, it wasn’t a bug. In order to encourage music discovery, Spotify today disclosed that it had acquired the Wordle-inspired music guessing game.
Heardle is just one of several adored spinoffs that have emerged from the Wordle mould, the popular daily word game that The New York Times purchased. The first second of a well-known song from the game is provided to you. If you can properly identify the music in under a second, congrats! You won! If not, you get six chances to guess, and after each unsuccessful attempt, the clip’s length doubles. You have exactly 16 seconds to decide if you are the music expert you fancy yourself to be.
The look and feel of the game will remain the same for current Heardle players, and it will continue to be available for free to all players, according to a press release from Spotify. Additionally, as of right now, players can access Spotify after the game to listen to the entire song.
Before Heardle bought the game, players were urged to support it by making donations on the ko-fi website for creator tips. Its Ko-Fi page isn’t operational right now. However, there are still some Heardle rip-offs made by fans available online, including Lorde Heardle (… a genuine missed opportunity to call it “Lordle”).
The New York Times paid an undisclosed amount in the “low seven figures” to acquire Wordle, while Spotify didn’t disclose how much it paid for Heardle. The newspaper stated in its quarterly results that the Wordle acquisition had increased site traffic by “tens of millions” of visitors. After finishing the day’s Wordle problem, users are shown a brief advertisement for the New York Times’ Spelling Bee word game. After its January acquisition, The New York Times had its best-ever quarter for net subscription increases to Games, so it’s probably not a coincidence.
Even if Wordle may be more well-known, Spotify made a smart acquisition with Heardle. According to web analytics firm Similarweb, the game’s monthly desktop and mobile online visitors reached a peak in March with 69 million. 41 million people visited the Heardle website in the previous month.
Only needed 1 beat to know this masterpiece…#Heardle #10
— Spotify (@Spotify) March 7, 2022
This acquisition makes sense given Spotify’s attempts to improve music discovery and keep customers on its service. Similar to its well-liked Spotify Wrapped feature, which this year even included a game, Heardle has the potential to create organic social media shares for the app. Even Spotify’s official Twitter account is joining in on the fun.
Spotify has purchased a number of companies in the past few years, primarily in the podcasting industry, including Anchor, Megaphone, and Podz. However, this is Spotify’s first game acquisition. Even Netflix is attempting to use gaming to bolster its own content.