Spotify is shutting down Heardle, the Wordle-inspired music guessing game it acquired for an undisclosed sum last July. Similar to Wordle, Heardle offers players six attempts to guess a popular song – but instead of typing in different letters to form words, players listen to a song’s intro to guess the artist and title. At the time of the acquisition, Spotify said Heardle would remain free-to-play for everyone. Now the company will leave Heardle on May 5 as it wants to focus on its other goals around music discovery.
We understand that the decision to close Heardle came about because Spotify wants to put more effort into music discovery through its recent app changes, not Wordle-inspired off-platform gameplay.
Last month, Spotify rolled out a significant redesign of its mobile app experience, which included introducing new TikTok-style discovery feeds for music and podcasts, along with other features such as Smart Shuffle for playlist recommendations and a new autoplay option. podcasts. It also rolled out an “AI DJ” that figures out what kind of music users like, then plays those songs for you. The feature also gets smarter over time the more you engage with it.
In light of these updates, Heardle was no longer an important part of Spotify’s overall music discovery effort. In addition, like many tech companies that have undergone stricter measures in recent months, such as layoffs, there is less of a financial incentive to work with side projects, including, for example, a fun music game.
However, Heardle was still quite popular at the time of the acquisition. According to data from web analytics firm Compareweb, the game peaked at 69 million monthly desktop and mobile web visits in March 2022. Just before the Spotify deal, those visits had dropped to 41 million. It’s possible they had continued to decline, making Heardle’s continued maintenance no longer a solid bet.
And since much of the Wordle craze also went downhill after The New York Times bought the flagship word game in January last year, perhaps Heardle’s own future prospects were also on the wane. We understand that Heardle retained some of its loyal users after the deal closed, but Spotify would not comment on overall usage or repeat engagement on specific metrics. Only after Spotify learned how Heardle players were interacting with the game was it decided to concentrate the company’s investments elsewhere.
In the game, after guessing the song, users could click a button to listen to the full song on Spotify. It’s possible that not enough users have done this, instead simply leaving the game to replay later.
In other words, Heardle ultimately failed to help Spotify achieve its goals around enhanced music discovery. And with the redesign, much of what Heardle had to offer was now duplicating the company’s other music discovery features – and doing so outside of the Spotify app.
But for those who loved playing Heardle, today’s announcement about the game’s imminent shutdown probably won’t be welcome news. Except maybe those Forbes employees who had to write down the daily answers and clues and the countless sites that run Heardle clones.
Spotify confirmed the game’s closure with a statement.
“After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with Heardle as we focus our efforts on other music discovery features,” a company spokesperson told AapkaDost.
The website will display a banner to users warning them of the May 5 shutdown.
We understand that there was no team dedicated to working on Heardle, so there’s no impact in terms of staff reductions or reorganizations.
As Spotify moves away from Heardle, it won’t necessarily have to give up other types of interactive experiences, we’re told. The company today offers its interactive AI DJ feature and other things like polls and Q&As that allow podcast listeners to connect with their favorite creators. It will also continue to invest in other gaming projects, such as the Spotify island on Roblox, the in-app Gaming hub, and other integrations with Xbox and PlayStation.