Why is Heardle closing? Why Spotify is ending Wordle-inspired music game explained - when is it going away?

Spotify says it will ‘“focus our efforts on other features for music discovery’ instead

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Less than a year after purchasing Heardle, the Wordle-inspired name-that-tune game, Spotify has decided to shut it down.

“After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to say goodbye to Heardle,” Spotify said in a statement. A similar announcement was posted on the Heardle home page.

The game was launched in the wake of Wordle’s popularity in the start of 2022. Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is Heardle?

Rather than guessing a word, with Heardle you are challenged to recognise a song from its intro. Users are given up to six music samples that increase in length, and you can search for the song, so you don’t have to worry about remembering the precise title.

After Spotify acquired Heardle in July 2022, users could go from revealing the song to playing it on the app. According to the blog post announcing the acquisition, Spotify’s goal in purchasing the game from its developers was to facilitate this kind of music discovery, or rediscovery.

Spotify did not identify the apparently publicity-shy creator and seller when it announced the purchase, but Variety identified the man as a “London-based web and app designer” in an interview. He declined to be identified further.

(Photos: Getty Images/Pexels)(Photos: Getty Images/Pexels)
(Photos: Getty Images/Pexels)

Why is Spotify shutting Heardle down?

Spotify intends to “focus our efforts on other features for music discovery”, according to the statement on the game’s end. The company did not provide any additional information regarding why it was ending the game.

According to Tech Crunch, Heardle’s closure resulted from Spotify’s desire to focus more of its efforts on music discovery through recent changes to the app rather than off-platform games.

The mobile app experience of Spotify was significantly redesigned last month with the introduction of a new TikTok-style discovery feed for music and podcasts, as well as other features, including Smart Shuffle for playlist recommendations and a new podcast autoplay option.

Additionally, Spotify unveiled an "AI DJ" that plays your preferred tracks after learning what genres of music you enjoy. The more you use the feature, the more intelligent it becomes over time.

As such, Heardle was no longer a significant component of Spotify’s overall music discovery initiatives. In the broader tech world, there is currently less of a financial incentive to experiment with side projects due to cost-cutting measures like layoffs.

Tech Crunch reports that the game did not have a dedicated team of staff working on it, and so its closure will bring no impact in terms of layoffs or organisational changes.

The purchase of Heardle by Spotify wasn’t well received by its users, some of whom complained that they could no longer access the game at the time. Others were upset that their game statistics had been lost because their scores hadn’t been transferred to Spotify.

When will it end?

Heardle is slated to shut down on Friday 5 May. If you want to screenshot your stats as a reminder of the brief game, Spotify says you have until 4 May to do so.

It is unclear whether Heardle can continue life elsewhere, as many fans of the daily music quiz will hope. It could be possible that another company swoops in to buy it from Spotify and host it elsewhere, or another similar game pops up in Heardle’s place.

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