Financial terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed.
Heardle popped up in February 2022, based on the format pioneered by Wordle, which was itself bought by the New York Times for more than $1 million. In Heardle, players try to guess a song as quickly as possible based on its opening notes; they get six tries, getting a few more seconds of music with each attempt. Like Wordle, Heardle then lets users share their results for bragging rights. (Actually, Heardle’s lineage goes back to the early 1950s, when “Name That Tune” debuted first on radio and then as a TV series on CBS.)
According to Spotify’s blog post announcing the deal, “We see Heardle as 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.”
Spotify says the look and feel of Heardle will stay the same (although it updated the game’s logo and added Spotify branding) and will remain “free to play for everyone.”
The audio-streaming giant is making additional changes to slipstream it into the Spotify business: Starting today, Heardle players can listen to the full song on Spotify at the end of the game. Since its inception, Heardle had used SoundCloud as its back-end audio provider.
Heardle is available to users in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. According to Spotify, it will soon expand Heardle to markets worldwide in multiple different languages. “Further down the road, we are also planning to integrate Heardle and other interactive experiences more fully into Spotify to allow music lovers to connect more deeply with artists and challenge friends — and have some fun in the process,” the company said in its announcement.
The “heardle.app” domain name was transferred to Spotify on July 3, according to a WHOIS registry search.
Heardle’s creator has been publicity-shy. In March, Variety interviewed the “London-based web and app designer” who launched Heardle but did not identify them, citing their wish to remain anonymous.
In a Feb. 25 post on the Product Hunt website, Glenn Angelo — founder and director of London-based digital design firm Studio Omakase, per his LinkedIn profile — identified himself as the creator of Heardle: “A bad pun inspired me to make a Wordle-inspired musical intros guessing game,” he wrote.
Spotify sees Heardle as a gamified entry point to its platform for music lovers — ultimately aimed at driving up listening time and, by extension, customer satisfaction.
“We are always looking for innovative and playful ways to enhance music discovery and help artists reach new fans,” Jeremy Erlich, Spotify’s global head of music, said in a statement. “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.”
Here’s what the new Spotify-branded Heardle looks like: