Duolingo is working on a music app

by Ana Lopez

Duolingoa language learning app with more than 500 million users is working on a music app, businessupdates.org has learned.

The Pittsburgh-based technology company currently has a small team working on a music product and it is hiring a learning scientist who is an “expert in music education who combines both theoretical knowledge from relevant learning science research and hands-on teaching experience,” according to a job posting on Duolingo’s careers page. The company also posted a job that was applying a freelance music composition and curricular consultant, but the company is no longer accepting applications for that position.

The job posting suggests that the app will teach basic concepts in music theory using popular songs and teachers.

Duolingo has slowly grown beyond language learning to include several new aid projects that could generate significant revenue streams in the years to come. For example, the Duolingo English Test, which grew out of a hackathon project in 2014, is an online certification exam that tests language skills. The company also launched Duolingo ABC, a free app focused on English literacy for kids ages 3 to 6, during the pandemic.

In October 2022, the company announced Duolingo Math in its first subject expansion that goes beyond its original roots of language learning and literacy. The math app is free and similar to language learning; both require methodical thinking and the ability to apply functions to arrive at answers.

Music is a subject that is in the pedagogical middle of language, which requires nuance and context, and math, which requires focus on formulas to give correct answers, or sounds in this case.

Language, math, and music in Duolingo all require users to know the basics. And that’s how Duolingo sets itself apart: it focuses on building blocks, rather than specific mastery, as a way of learning a skill.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that there seems to be some executive buy-in to the concept in general: Duolingo chief business officer Bob Meese is an investor in Trala, a technology company that offers virtual violin lessons. It has recently been increased $8 million in his Series A.

So far, the broader view seems to be resonating. Duolingo more than doubled its paid subscriber base last year, according to the latest quarterly update. Total revenue has also nearly doubled to $369.5 million for 2022.

It’s unclear how Duolingo’s music app will pan out in the coming months – for example, we don’t know if the app will help people read music, write music, learn instruments, or all of the above – or if it’s just a small experiment within an organization known to love a test or 10. businessupdates.org has reached out to the company for further comment and will update if we hear back.

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