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Spotify gets its Wordle

Plus, the best Prime Day audio deals

It’s a big ol’ Spotify day here at Hot Pod. The company is making moves, acquiring Wordle-inspired music trivia game Heardle, expanding its video podcast reach to new countries, and taking another hit podcast exclusive.Plus, a roundup of the best Prime Day audio deals. Let’s get into it.
Spotify acquires music trivia game HeardleSpotify announced Tuesday that it has purchased Heardle, one of the many themed trivia games that cropped up in the wake of Wordle’s blockbuster success. Heardle is Spotify’s first game acquisition, and the company hopes it will play a dual role: in addition to keeping music nerds engaged, it can act as a music discovery tool.“We are always looking for innovative and playful ways to enhance music discovery and help artists reach new fans,” said Jeremy Erlich, global head of music at Spotify. “Heardle has proven to be a really fun way to connect millions of fans with songs they know and love and with new songs and a way to compete with their friends as to who has the best musical knowledge.”The game remains a standalone website for now. Users must guess the song being played within six tries (like Wordle) based first on the opening notes, then from hints of increasing length. When the answer is revealed at the end, it will link to the song on Spotify (previously, it linked to SoundCloud). Spotify says the game has millions of current players; the company declined to disclose the acquisition price.Heardle’s Spotify integration is starting in the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand before expanding to other countries and languages. The company also plans to eventually integrate Heardle “more fully” into the app, though it did not say how or when that will happen. Although Heardle might be small compared to some of Spotify’s other acquisitions, it seems like a smart move that hits on what users love about the streamer in the first place. You can listen to music basically anywhere now, but Spotify has always excelled at shareable features (playlists, Spotify Wrapped) that keep users engaged.
Spotify expands video podcasts to six more countries
As the preference for video podcasts grows, Spotify is expanding the feature to six new markets. The company announced today that podcasters in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico can now upload video podcasts to the platform. Previously, video podcasts were only available in English-speaking countries, including the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Spotify is trying to expand its global podcast footprint generally, having recently announced new discovery playlists for podcasts in countries like Japan, the Philippines, and Argentina. But it is also attempting to ward off a challenge from YouTube, which already has a massive global presence. As the lines between podcasts and videos blur, YouTube is becoming an increasingly big player in the podcast industry and, according to one study, is already the biggest podcast platform in the US.
Hit Australian podcast Toni and Ryan goes exclusive to Spotify
This is the last Spotify item, I promise. The streamer has signed popular Australian podcasters Ryan Jon Dunn and Toni Lodge to a multiyear exclusive deal. The comedy chat show, which launched less than a year ago, ranks at number 26 on Spotify’s Australian podcast chart and reportedly gets more than 1 million downloads a month. The podcast will become exclusive to Spotify starting on August 8th. 
Prime Day audio deals: headphones, speakers, and subscriptions
It’s Prime Day! And not to shill for a trillion-dollar company (it doesn’t need my help!), but there are some good bargains on audio gadgets if you are looking for new headphones or speakers. The Verge’s stellar reviews team rounded up some of the best deals:The Beats Fit Pro are going for $159.95. The model usually costs $199.99, and this is the first big discount that has been offered. The team previously gave the buds a great review for their design and audio quality.Sony’s WH-1000XM4 wireless, noise-canceling over-ear headphones are available for $228, down from their original $348 price. The Verge says that these are some of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market.The stylish Marshall Stanmore II Bluetooth speaker is selling for $249.99, down from its retail price of $379.99.Audible has extended its Premium Plus membership free trial to three months (normally, it is 30 days), after which the audiobook and podcast subscription costs $15 a month. Again, hate to shill, but I am kind of an Audible addict, and it makes a great dad gift when you don’t know what else to get. The offer extends beyond Prime Day and is available until the end of the month.Amazon Music Unlimited is offering a four-month free trial, up from the usual one month. After the trial expires, AMU starts at $9 per month. 
ICYMI: Lewis Black sues Pandora for $10 million over copyright infringement
Insiders last week got a peek at my scoop on Lewis Black’s lawsuit against Pandora. Black joins Andrew Dice Clay and the estate of Robin Williams in suing SiriusXM’s audio streamer for copyright infringement. Like the other comedians suing Pandora, Black claims that his comedy albums have a copyright for the written material (not just the recording) for which Pandora never obtained. He is suing the company for more than $10 million. If Pandora loses, it could be on the hook for more than $70 million, and the case could set a precedent that would pave the way for more comedians (and maybe even podcasters) to claim copyright infringement.
That’s all for today! See you next week.