R package to connect with the Spotify API.

Bruna Wundervald (Maynooth University) , Tiago Mendes Dantas (PUC - Rio de Janeiro)

The Rspotify package is finally on CRAN. Now you can install it straight from the official R repository. But what is Rspotify, right?

Basically, Rspotify is a package that allows you to access data from the Spotify API. To make things easier, in this post I’ll guide you on how to use it.

Step 1 - Create an app

The first thing you need to do is to create an app on the Spotify’s developer platform. You can do it accessing this dashboard

After accessing the page, you’ll need to login and create an app:

Since I’m not creating a commercial app, these are my screens. If this is not your case, you must declare it at this point and follow their instructions.

Now, you’ll need to save your client ID and your client Secret. You’ll also need to click on edit settings and change the redirect urls to http://localhost:1410/.

Step 2 - Install Rspotify

You know the drill, right? To install the stable version from CRAN, the official R respository, just run:



Step 3 - Try the functions

The first thing you’ll need to do is authenticate your API access using the spotifyOAuth() function. The authentication process should automatically open your browser with just:

keys <- spotifyOAuth("app_id","client_id","client_secret")

Note: you must replace ‘app_id’, ‘client_id’ and ‘client_secret’ with your own credentials, with the '', as characters.

If everything went right, then you are ready to go. Your authentication is saved in the keysobject, which will be used whenever you need to use a function that requires it. Let’s try now the getUser() function to get data about an specific user.

# Using  my own username
user <- getUser("t.mendesdantas", token = keys)

user$display_name # user name

[1] "Tiago Dantas"

user$id # user id

[1] "t.mendesdantas"

user$followers # number of followers

[1] 53

If you want to get the playlists from an user, the function needed is getPlaylists():

# getting the playlists made by Spotify
user_playlists <- getPlaylists("spotify", token = keys)
user_playlists %>% slice(1:5) %>% knitr::kable()
id name ownerid tracks
37i9dQZF1DXcBWIGoYBM5M Today’s Top Hits spotify 58
37i9dQZF1DX0XUsuxWHRQd RapCaviar spotify 57
37i9dQZF1DX4dyzvuaRJ0n mint spotify 61
37i9dQZF1DX4SBhb3fqCJd Are & Be spotify 45
37i9dQZF1DXcF6B6QPhFDv Rock This spotify 50

The songs from a specific playlist can be retrieved using the getPlaylistSongs() function. Let’s get the songs from the Today’s Top Hits playlist from Spotify:

playlist_songs <- getPlaylistSongs("spotify","37i9dQZF1DXcBWIGoYBM5M",
                                   token =  keys) %>%
  select(tracks, popularity, artist) 

playlist_songs %>% slice(1:15) %>% knitr::kable()
tracks popularity artist
Happier 97 Marshmello
Better 91 Khalid
Electricity (with Dua Lipa) 92 Silk City
Falling Down 94 Lil Peep
Promises (with Sam Smith) 97 Calvin Harris
What About Me (feat. Sosamann) 80 Lil Wayne
Natural 94 Imagine Dragons
Taki Taki (with Selena Gomez, Ozuna & Cardi B) 82 DJ Snake
Be Alright 95 Dean Lewis
Noticed 89 Lil Mosey
REMEDY 88 Alesso
I Love It (& Lil Pump) 98 Kanye West
Eastside (with Halsey & Khalid) 98 benny blanco
This Feeling 84 The Chainsmokers
Wake Up in the Sky 90 Gucci Mane

You can also directly search songs, using searchTrack(). Let’s search for the songs with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in their names:

find_song <- searchTrack("bohemian rhapsody", token = keys)

find_song %>% slice(1:5)  %>% arrange(desc(popularity)) %>%
display_name id popularity artists artists_IDs type
Bohemian Rhapsody - Remastered 2011 4u7EnebtmKWzUH433cf5Qv 81 Queen 1dfeR4HaWDbWqFHLkxsg1d track
Bohemian Rhapsody 2YSbHu9XF4bNYWt3MnIhgE 66 Panic! At The Disco 20JZFwl6HVl6yg8a4H3ZqK track
Bohemian Rhapsody 0lrkMvRttmoXjMNS8YONvj 58 Pentatonix 26AHtbjWKiwYzsoGoUZq53 track
Bohemian Rhapsody (Glee Cast Version featuring Jonathan Groff) 0tjeY2rdrKjUjtO5IwKusl 53 Glee Cast 0SCbttzoZTnLFebDYmAWCm track
Bohemian Rhapsody - Live 5FEV9pypGEx6ndrF3V0cX9 51 Panic! At The Disco 20JZFwl6HVl6yg8a4H3ZqK track

As the API brings us every song that contains the string passed to the function, arranging by decrescent popularity is a good trick to find exactly what we want. When we do this, the song from Bohemian Rhapsody, from Queen, appears as first in the list.

You may want to look for an artist, using the searchArtist() function. Let’s see what the API brings us when we search for bands with ‘Queen’ in their name:

find_artist <- searchArtist("queen",token = keys)

find_artist %>% slice(1:5)  %>% arrange(desc(popularity)) %>%
artist id popularity followers genres type
Queen 1dfeR4HaWDbWqFHLkxsg1d 85 9465068 glam rock,rock artist
Queen Naija 3nViOFa3kZW8OMSNOzwr98 68 390482 deep pop r&b,pop,r&b artist
Queen Pen 0VbIlorLz3I5SEtIsc5vAr 66 7988 hip pop,lgbtq+ hip hop artist
Queen Latifah 5m7wCUhYhBh7A3A3YMxrbt 59 62860 conscious hip hop,east coast hip hop,hip hop,hollywood artist
Queen Sparrow 3h4q64lvRUOBfBfjYToYfN 28 322 artist

Now, we have the exact id of the band, which will be useful in the next function: getAlbums(). This function is used to get information about the albums available on Spotify from an specific artist:

# using the id we found before 
queen_albums <- getAlbums("1dfeR4HaWDbWqFHLkxsg1d", token = keys)

queen_albums %>% slice(1:10) %>% knitr::kable()
id name album_type available_markets
60TXSuzXQoEy3p5cQEkLu7 Queen On Air album
03fubwn4664emOoK7WkOdK A Night at the Odeon album
5wTdQlDnvBtUO3ptbwqeyz Live at the Rainbow ‘74 album
2S5uBe3Ndy57SwB2dHkNva Queen 40 Limited Edition Collector’s Box Set album
2IY3Ty8CrUyvpibt8AcZmp Queen Rock Montreal album
2SFIh6siY4KYBNPHAV7xaI Made In Heaven album
4fODEKBcruDGTihYHvBXBD Made in Heaven (Deluxe Remastered Version) album
3uk2r2tVRHy9L15rHJhD2S Live At Wembley Stadium album
5yAM3CcaXF6DPRJW3oL6Ya Innuendo album
2LC6PPb29hs8rkPHBjUVXJ Innuendo (Deluxe Remastered Version) album

To get the more info about an specific album and its songs, you should use getAlbumInfo() and getAlbum(). For example, let’s check the album ‘Made in Heaven’:

id_album <- queen_albums %>% 
  filter(name == "Made In Heaven") %>% 

made_in_heaven_info <- getAlbumInfo(id_album, token = keys)
made_in_heaven_info %>% knitr::kable()
id artist name label popularity release_date album_type track_total
2SFIh6siY4KYBNPHAV7xaI Queen Made In Heaven Hollywood Records Inc. 34 1995-11-06 album 13

made_in_heaven <- getAlbum(id_album, token = keys) %>% 

made_in_heaven %>% select(id, name, duration_ms, track_number) %>%
id name duration_ms track_number
2nvOeJSDrYfUqPsX1QV31m It’s A Beautiful Day 152760 1
4PrIEi2GXvCKGX5FfgvZ5t Made In Heaven 325333 2
5xksN73zPWG6l5jyOnQBCM Let Me Live 285866 3
0ntPrUioU4nZf4xlYgXxCu Mother Love 286160 4
7f85HUTCTBRbXVQrhbwGeG My Life Has Been Saved 195400 5
3K1Z590k8xkKWcyWjDUL2S I Was Born To Love You 289773 6
7Lyci2dYU5I7Rgl1Gxgc7q Heaven For Everyone 336066 7
59xNhKR4abaCKdHzIxTApc Too Much Love Will Kill You 260133 8
5K7JrTWUDr7R0paSy4rVYh You Don’t Fool Me 324800 9
36XSfd5hlzRYNtUo9xMXHT A Winter’s Tale 229160 10
4JSwW10eamq8dmXljmdnYs It’s A Beautiful Day (Reprise) 181360 11
198X5Hqdx31ir9V8SJev8k Yeah 4000 12
0fesg0K7qtSHVhNAOZ3dy8 Untitled 1352973 13

So far, we have seen a lot of interesting stuff, but there’s more. We can also check the features from a specific song, using the getFeatures() function. Let’s check the ‘Made In Heaven’ song:

id_song <- made_in_heaven %>% 
  filter(name == "Made In Heaven") %>% 

song <- getFeatures(id_song, token = keys)
song %>% select(-uri, -analysis_url) %>% glimpse() %>% knitr::kable()

Observations: 1
Variables: 14
$ id               <chr> "4PrIEi2GXvCKGX5FfgvZ5t"
$ danceability     <dbl> 0.374
$ energy           <dbl> 0.755
$ key              <int> 8
$ loudness         <dbl> -6.507
$ mode             <int> 1
$ speechiness      <dbl> 0.0543
$ acousticness     <dbl> 0.318
$ instrumentalness <int> 0
$ liveness         <dbl> 0.344
$ valence          <dbl> 0.411
$ tempo            <dbl> 77.821
$ duration_ms      <int> 325333
$ time_signature   <int> 4
id danceability energy key loudness mode speechiness acousticness instrumentalness liveness valence tempo duration_ms time_signature
4PrIEi2GXvCKGX5FfgvZ5t 0.374 0.755 8 -6.507 1 0.0543 0.318 0 0.344 0.411 77.821 325333 4

Wrap up

In this blog post, we:

The RSpotify is a package with a tremendous potential. There a lot of cool, interesting analysis we can make with the information it brings us. Soon we’ll more posts about it!


For attribution, please cite this work as

Wundervald & Dantas (2018, Oct. 1). R-Music: Rspotify. Retrieved from

BibTeX citation

  author = {Wundervald, Bruna and Dantas, Tiago Mendes},
  title = {R-Music: Rspotify},
  url = {},
  year = {2018}