Heardle is one of our favorite games like Wordle: it’s a music trivia game that gives you six guesses to identify a song, based on just a tiny snippet of audio. Like Wordle, Heardle offers up a new song to guess every day, making it easy to slip into your daily routine. Also like Wordle, which was purchased by The New York Times in January for more than $1 million, Heardle has now been snapped up by a big company: Spotify announced on Tuesday that it’s buying the “music trivia sensation.”
In a post on its newsroom site, Spotify’s global head of music Jeremy Erlich wrote that “We are always looking for innovative and playful ways to enhance music discovery and help artists reach new fans.” Erlich said that Heardle fits into Spotify’s plans “to deepen interactivity across the Spotify ecosystem.”
The fact that Spotify has an ecosystem is news to me—I guess that’s a term you get to throw around when a whole lot of people use your service, even if an ecosystem is built around sustaining life rather than paying artists an unlivable fraction of a cent per song play. But Spotify has been expanding beyond music streaming in recent years, going big on podcasting and adding support for music videos and (soon) audiobooks.
Spotify may not be a gaming company, but the purchase makes a lot of sense. For years it has been especially focused on its music recommendation algorithms and smart playlists designed to keep people listening. The newsroom announcement says Spotify sees the game as a “tool for musical discovery,” making it just one more way to keep people engaged in its app. “Further down the road, we are also planning to integrate Heardle and other interactive experiences more fully into Spotify,” the post says. The focus on gaming as a fresh pasture is starting to look like a trend for streaming media companies, after Netflix announced its gaming plans last July.
Spotify says Heardle will remain free and the “look and feel of the game” will also stay the same, but you’ll now be able to listen to the full song after playing. In the future, it plans to add support for more languages.
The old Heardle website now automatically redirects to Spotify.com/Heardle, but the look is indeed unchanged, other than a new Spotify logo in the corner.