Wednesday, 30 March 2016

What's Peter Been Listening To? My first (mis)adventures with scrobbling

The viz above shows the top 20 artists I've listened to on Spotify so far this year - here's the back story:

For the last few years I've enjoyed reading Andy Cotgreave's blog posts where he takes a look at his listening habits by using data from, here's a good example. And of course my pal Jewel has also played around with her listening data too. So I finally decided to get myself in on the action.

I should add also that this last year I've really fallen back in love with listening to music and discovering new bands. I was really into music as a teenager but kind of lost interest. But my Spotify subscription has really helped me get back into it and I probably listen to more new music than ever now - while still listening to all my old favourites.

So, first of all how to collect the data. Its pretty simple:

1) Get a Spotify account
2) Get a account
3) Link them on ALL your devices
4) Download your data here thanks to Andy's friend Ben

So to look at my data, first off lets check out the data quality:

As you can see, I've had a few problems. A couple of times and Spotify got disconnected. I kept an eye on and noticed it had stopped Scrobbling (Scrobbling by the way is just keeping a record of your listens). And then very recently I realised that it wasn't picking up my mobile listens - I didn't know I had to change the settings on my devices individually.

So I've lost quite a bit of data, but oh well. I'm also not 100% convinced its picking up ALL my Spotify plays.

What else have I seen?

I scrobbled 1,271 Spotify plays, of 887 tracks by 314 artists.

I bucketed my listening into 5 genres:

1. Hip-Hop (mostly pretty old-school)
2. New Indie
3. Old Indie and Rock (this is a wide category)
4. Jazz
5. Other

New Indie is winning the day but there's a solid showing across the other genres. I really don't listen to other types of music much - but my Old Indie and Rock list is quite diverse.

Looking at how my listening changes by day of the week and hour the day is quite interesting. Jazz is purely an evening and weekend thing -  which makes sense as its usually on during dinner, or while I'm sat in my comfy chair reading a book.

You can also see that after I switched on recording from my phone there is a lot more listening in the morning as I am walking into work. A lot of that is hip-hop as my downloaded songs include a few hip-hop focussed playlists I created. As my mobile numbers increase I expect to see a greater contribution coming from my saved songs.

I also went to a few concerts this year so I thought it would be interesting to see how my listening was affected by those.

I definitely seem to listen just before and after a concert.

Last but not least - what artists and tracks have I been listening to the most? Well its a tie between The War on Drugs, whom I have long liked, and Diet Cig who are a newish Brooklyn band I'm currently obsessed with. The top 20 includes some new bands like Tacocat (shout out to Jewel for the intro), some nostalgic choices like Bis and Idlewild, and a couple I just left on play for an afternoon or evening like Gruff Rhys and the Nat King Cole Trio. In fact there's a pretty even split between bands I listen to regularly, and ones I binge on once and them I'm done.

I've also started using a service called which is a group of folks who build playlists for you. This has had an influence on my listening habits and introduced me to Shunkan who made my top 20. I've been using Spotify playlists like Discover Weekly too. I discovered Diet Cig there but mostly its one and done and it makes up a good proportion of the long tail in my data.

In all the top 20 artists account for 49% of plays.

(I hope you enjoyed that but you can file this blog entry under data narcissism quantified self, so don't worry if it wasn't interesting to you) 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. hi!

    Nice job :)!

    And thank you for the link provided to the exporter. That is just awesome!
    I did get my data from there, but I have a problem trying to convert the date field to Tableau-date. How did u manage to do that?

    So the date-field is like this:
    09 Apr 2016 16:57

    Tried to parse it like this:
    DATEPARSE ("dd MMM yyyy H:m", [date])

    And it does not work :|


    1. Hi Niko, I didn't use dateparse, I just told Tableau my field was Date Time type in the data source window. Hope that works for you too.

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