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Spotify Folding Song-Guessing Game – Billboard

Written by on 14/04/2023

Spotify plans to shut down Heardle, the Wordle-indebted song-guessing game that it bought less than a year ago. Players started to receive Spotify notifications this week informing them that they will “have to say goodbye:” Heardle is done as of May 5.

When Spotify announced the purchase in July 2022, the platform wrote that Heardle was “more than a trivia game: It’s also a tool for musical discovery.”

“Playing Heardle might just help you to rediscover old tracks you may have thought you’d forgotten, discover amazing new artists, or finally put a title to that wordless melody you’ve had caught in your head forever,” the platform added in a blog post. Spotify also noted that “for existing Heardle players, the look and feel of the game will stay the same, and it’ll remain free to play for everyone.” 

In a statement Friday (April 14), however, a Spotify spokesperson said that “after careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to say goodbye to Heardle as we focus our efforts on other features for music discovery.”

Wordle, in which users have six chances to guess a five-letter word, became remarkably popular at the end of 2021. The game was so successful that it was bought by The New York Times for a price “in the low seven figures,” The New York Times reported. The paper later revealed that “Wordle brought an unprecedented tens of millions of new users to The Times.”

Heardle emerged in February 2022, offering players six attempts to guess a song based on its opening. And Spotify initially appeared excited about the game when it acquired it for an undisclosed sum later in 2022.

“We are always looking for innovative and playful ways to enhance music discovery and help artists reach new fans,”Jeremy Erlich, the streamer’s global head of music, said at the time. “Heardle has proven to be a really fun way to connect millions of fans with songs they know and love and with new songs . . . and a way to compete with their friends as to who has the best musical knowledge. Since its debut, the game has quickly built a loyal following, and it aligns with our plans to deepen interactivity across the Spotify ecosystem.” Spotify also said it planned to expand the access to Heardle to “hundreds of millions more people around the world.”  

The streamer offered no information about its about-face on Heardle this week other than to say it would be prioritizing other avenues for “music discovery.” Driving discovery has been a theme lately for Spotify executives, who also repeatedly touted the platform’s power in this area during the Stream On event in March.

“Spotify recommendations drive close to half of all user streams,” Spotify co-president Gustav Soderstrom told the audience. “Each time your music gets played on a playlist like Release Radar, you receive, on average, three times more streams from that listener over the next six months. And when a listener decides to follow you, they listen to, on average, five times more of your music.”

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