Music visualisation is something that combines two things I love: storytelling and music.

By combining the interactivity of Tableau with the goldmine of data contained in the Spotify API, you can create whole new ways of interacting with and experiencing songs, artists, genres and playlists.

I recently used these tools to make a viz showcasing the work of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – a pioneer dub producer who sadly passed away earlier this month. Over his lifetime, LSP oversaw the creation of an extraordinary body of work – with over 1000 productions under his belt, in genres spanning dub, reggae, electronica, disco and more.

I wanted a way to showcase this work, while allowing the user to experience the breadth of his productions.


Click on the image to explore on Tableau Public


Using the Spotify API, I was able to download a catalogue of his work, and using Tableau I turned this in a galaxy chart expanding outward over the course of his career. But when it came to actually exploring the songs, I knew it wouldn’t be enough to simply see the song name or genre – I wanted my users to hear how LSP’s style changed over the years.

Using a Website embed, and URL action, I was able to add over 1000 different Spotify tracks to my dashboard – allowing users to scroll through them one at a time, and get a broad sample of his catalogue, without needing to listen to the whole thing.


Video Tutorial: How To Embed Spotify Tracks On Your Tableau Dashboard

Music visualisation isn’t just about the graphics you choose – like music, it’s about the experience. People want to hear the sound. In this short video tutorial, I’ll walk you through how to accomplish this by embedding dynamic Spotify tracks onto your Tableau dashboards.



Note: This method requires you to have downloaded data from Spotify API. Instructions on this are contained in the additional links below.


Additional Links

Alteryx Tip | How To Access The Spotify API In 3 Simple Steps – The Data School Australia
A short guide on using Alteryx to access and download song data using the Spotify API.

This is not a love song | How Spotify uses Tableau Public – YouTube
A great webinar by Spotify Data Visualization Designer, Skyler Johnson, on the possibilities of music visualisation.

Kieran Adair
Author: Kieran Adair