What’s David been listening to?

This is the first post on a series that I hope to run throughout the summer. There are a few areas where I feel I need to improve, namely, SQL, Alteryx and the calculation side of Tableau. However outside work I need to work on something I enjoy or I just won’t do it. On Tableau I’ve decided to look for techniques that I have yet to explore and do something with it, things like, background images, LOD Calculations, dynamic colour swapping etc…

Back in December Andy Cotgreave posted this amazing analysis of his listening habits and he also shared the recipe behind it, a connection between Spotify and Last.fm which tracks the songs you’ve been listening to. It’s not accurate as I found, but it certainly is useful to understand your listening habits.

At the end of March Peter Gilks, posted his analysis of “What’s Peter been listening to?” which earned him a viz of the day and since then Jewel Loree has also done the same using the layout created by Peter. The very next day after Andy’s post I set up my accounts to start scrobbling (term used for last.fm tracking)  and now, 4 and a bit months after, I thought it would be cool to look at the music I listen to.

I typical listen to more music at the start of the week. This is not because I’m really grumpy and anti-social on Monday’s and Tuesday’s but it might be something to do with the fact that those are often my busiest days, also I listen more between 10 and 12 and then after lunch which coincides with my need to get on with it.

Sunday morning is also a heavy listening time of the week, and that’s probably because of a habit we have at home of cooking a nice brunch on Sunday mornings and I like to cook listening to music.


I’ve also found out that I should pay attention not to leave Spotify playing the same song over and over. On January 7th, I picked “Feeling Right” by Matoma, I believe I came across this on one of the running Spotify playlists. Somehow I left it looping 43 times between 11am and 2pm.

Not surprisingly my most listened to artist was Richie Campbell, who I saw last summer at a festival in Portugal and I can’t stop listening to. Never thought reggae would be so high in my list but I’d like to think that I listen to a bit of everything. Proving that is Ana Moura in second and Dream Theater in 3rd, who said fado and prog rock don’t go together? The top ten wraps up with latino Orishas, amazing bassist and grammy award winner Marcus Miller, old school grunge Pearl Jam and others. Now that’s an eclectic mixture. 🙂

I used Peter’s dashboard design to show my listening habits as you can see below, please click for interactive version:

What's David Been Listening to

Things I’ve learned:

As mentioned before I like to play with different fonts, though I need to learn that Tableau Public doesn’t support certain fonts. That happened with Agency FB on my Iron Viz submission and again today with Brush Script MT, though it works fine for titles it doesn’t render on axis or labels etc… But alas Jeffrey Shaffer’s got your back, here’s a list of fonts that work well in Tableau Public, they aren’t many but you can always try with others and see how you fare, I know that Century Gothic works well too.

The other bit that I hadn’t used in a while was to be able to place shapes where I wanted them, I’ve shared here before how to add shapes, but in Peter’s viz he decided where he wanted to place them. This is particularly useful when using a background image and here’s a detailed way to create them and a video to practice with.

Background Images Coordinates

Tutorial background images

If like in this case you are not using a background image, there’s a low-tech way to find the correct placement. Create a grid in excel and add numbers in regular intervals as to mimic a chart axis, decide on your placements and create a list like the one below.

shapes placement

Bring that to tableau and create the visualisation by adding the X axis to columns and Y to rows.


That’s it, a simple way to decide where to place your shapes without the use of background images. You’ll want to make sure your field name of your coordinates match the field in your original data so that you can blend easily.

I hope you have found this useful, please leave any comments below.

Thanks for reading