Following word guessing-game Wordle’s smash success early this year, and its subsequent acquisition by the New York Times, a rush of sequels, copies, and alternate versions cropped up all over the internet, including Quordle (Wordle, but four at once) and Absurdle (Wordle, but for masochists). Now, some of those variants have become popular enough to draw acquisitions of their own. This morning, audio-based version Heardle, which was previously hosted via Soundcloud, was bought by Spotify, who verified that the game will remain free to play and that users can transfer over their old data from the previous version of the game.
Heardle takes the basic premise of Wordle—-guessing an item in a category from a limited list of possibilities, with a set number of guesses—-and applies it to popular music. You have six chances to guess the song with each chance accompanied by a “hint,” a clip from the first few seconds of the song that increases in length. In contrast to Wordle, which reveals which letters you’ve gotten right with each successive guess, Heardle is all or nothing—-you search for the song name or artist in the box provided, and have to guess correctly to win.
Heardle is Spotify’s first game acquisition, potentially opening the door to a new market for the streaming service. It’s unclear at the moment how the game will be incorporated into Spotify as it currently exists, but the company plans to use the game as a “music discovery tool” to direct users to new music (presumably, limited to what’s available to stream on Spotify). Right now, the game remains a standalone website, but Spotify’s branding and URL are already attached.