Spotify has spent extravagantly in recent years. Initially, it acquired a slew of podcasting startups, followed by an audiobooks platform. And more recently, it purchased an unknown start-up with voice-AI capabilities… which may one day enable the corporation to make content automatically without necessarily relying on human ability. (I’m only speculating here.) However, its most recent transaction differs from the others. Can you guess? We’ll give you six tries.
For those unfamiliar with Heardle, it is a variation of Wordle, the word-game hit invented by Josh Wardle that debuted in October and was subsequently bought by the New York Times in January. As the name indicates, Heardle is an auditorily oriented music trivia game in which players are given small fragments of the beginning of a song and six opportunities to guess the track, with each incorrect guess releasing a few more seconds of the song.
This snippet architecture
This snippet architecture is an innovative solution to circumvent music licensing concerns. As a result of this acquisition, when a player correctly identifies a song or runs out of guesses, they are now taken to the music on Spotify. Heardle, which went online in February, is a significant member of the expanded universe of Wordle clones that proliferated in the aftermath of the original game’s popularity, dominating the intersection of the Wordle heads and music geeks in the Venn diagram.
This world of Wordle derivatives is astonishingly vast. Even a casual Internet search would reveal an astounding variety of Wordle formula variants, not to mention the Wordle brand name. To name a few: the geographically-themed Worldle, the choral-music-themed Byrdle, and, of course, the Taylor Swift-themed Taylordle, which is a portmanteau word. As an NBA fan, my favorite game is Poeltl, which is named after San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl and in which you guess the names of numerous NBA players. (It’s more difficult than you think.) You will discover deeper, occasionally intriguing variants in game play if you delve further.
Occasionally, it takes the form of reconfiguring the original Wordle concept, such with Quordle, which requires you to complete four grids simultaneously. Sometimes the objective is changed to something more obscure; see Nerdle, which reconstitutes the grid as a math game, or Semantle, dubbed the “Dark Souls of Wordle” by the Washington Post, in which you are required to guess a word based on words with similar meanings as determined by Word2Vec, a Google-owned natural-language processing model.
That is, you frequently find yourself battling a computer over the subjective concept of “identical meanings.” It’s very chaotic and cumbersome, but what’s remarkable is how popular these Wordle clones appear to be: Many of these versions continue to fuel “solution of the day” entries that are optimized for search engine optimization (SEO) over the whole internet.
Why did Spotify acquire a music-related quiz game?
Why did Spotify acquire a music-related quiz game? Well, likely for the same reason that the Times purchased Wordle: These simple, engaging games keep users engaged on the platform, and the longer they stay, the more valuable they are to the firm. In its news announcement, Spotify also suggested Heardle as a potential tool for music discovery, something that may prompt users to recall old favorites or find new music.
Which is true, yet the nature of this discovery does not appear to be all that different from discovering a music through a television advertisement or anything like. There is language in the statement that hints to future expansions, but for the time being, there are the normal transitional issues to iron out. As the BBC observes, some users have discovered that their prior statistics have been erased. Also, it would be wonderful if guessing possibilities weren’t so limited, as players can only select from songs that are indexed in the answer database. Only five songs for Rihanna? C’mon!
Still, Heardle is one of the most stylish alternatives. Most Wordle clones have a fresh-from-Github style, but Heardle, mostly because to its dark — some would argue already Spotify-esque — color palette and cool-looking advancement meter at the bottom, was rather sophisticated from the start. In addition, the actual game is viscerally sticky, evoking the pleasurable Pavlovian reaction elicited by hearing the opening few seconds of a familiar song, assuming, of course, that the player is familiar with the tune.