Spotify has some disappointing news for Heardle fans: the company is shutting down the song-guessing game, which it bought last summer. “Thanks for playing Heardle, but unfortunately we have to say goodbye,” a message on the Heardle webpage reads. “From May 5th, Heardle will no longer be available.”
Players who want to keep a record of their stats for posterity should take a screenshot, Spotify says. The stats will no longer be available after May 4th.
Heardle emerged early last year in the wake of Wordle's massive success. In turn, it became one of the more prominent and successful Wordle clones. Third-party data suggests that Heardle reached a high of 69 million monthly visitors last March.
The makers of Heardle sold the game to Spotify in July. However, just before that deal was announced, Heardle's monthly visitor numbers had seemingly dipped to 41 million, according to TechCrunch, suggesting that the game's popularity was already tapering off. In comparison, The New York Times, Wordle's owner, says tens of millions of people are still playing that game each week.
When it bought Heardle, Spotify said it saw the game as a music discovery tool. Whether a player successfully guessed each day's song based on the intro or not, they were provided with a link to hear the full track on Spotify. It may be the case that Spotify wasn't seeing a high level of clickthrough rates, so Heardle may ultimately not have helped much in terms of music discovery. Moreover, the game is said to have aped some music discovery functions that are also present in Spotify's app.
It's hard to imagine that Spotify's daily song choices helped matters. Along with many classic tracks, Heardle often featured music that didn't exactly light up the Billboard charts but instead went viral on TikTok. It seems that Spotify didn't quite strike the balance of using Heardle as a music discovery tool while also making each song recognizable enough for fans to identify and keep their streaks going.
In addition, some players were frustrated that Heardle kept going back to the same wells over and over by featuring several songs from one artist over a relatively short time. Within the space of five months last year, Heardle featured six Green Day tracks, despite there being thousands of well-known artists and hit songs to choose from. Far too many Imagine Dragons songs have popped up over the last few months too (one would have been more than enough).
Spotify reportedly didn't have a team dedicated to working on Heardle, so there won't be any layoffs as a result of the game's closure. It's hard to imagine that picking one song each day and maintaining Heardle would have taken a ton of work. Engadget has contacted Spotify for comment.