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Spotify buys Heardle, the Wordle for music lovers

The music guessing game is now only available in certain countries

Spotify And Heardle Photo Illustrations Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

In a move similar to the New York Times’ acquisition of Wordle back in January, audio streaming giant Spotify has bought music guessing game Heardle for an undisclosed sum.

Heardle has already been rebranded and now runs using Spotify rather than Soundcloud, but otherwise the playing experience remains the same — and it’s still free for all players. However, as a result of the move, Heardle has been made unavailable in all but a small number of English-speaking countries: the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

In a statement, Spotify indicated that it intended to expand the availability of the game further. “Today, we’re starting with users in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. And soon, hundreds of millions more people around the world will have the opportunity to play and enjoy the game in their native language,” the company said.

In addition, if you head to Twitter, you’ll find some players complaining that their scores, streaks, and stats have not carried over to the new version of the game.

Heardle gives you six chances to guess a song from its intro, starting with a one-second snippet and extending it from there. Like Wordle, it offers a single challenge each day.

Why would Spotify want to own it? “We see Heardle as more than a trivia game: It’s also a tool for musical discovery,” reads Spotify’s statement, which suggests the streaming company is interested in any avenues for increasing engagement with music in its enormous audience — and is also looking for reasons for people to share links to songs on Spotify on social media.

The Spotify integration means that Heardle players can now listen to the song in its entirety at the end of each day’s game, whether they guessed it or not.

“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,” Spotify said.

As Netflix continues its push into gaming, it seems another media company is starting to think about how games and interactivity can help keep subscribers glued to its service.

The next level of puzzles.

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