Using github to automatically schedule, run, and store dataframes of your scrobbles in a repository.

One of the biggest issues you can run into when trying to analyse your scrobble data is waiting for it all to download when running download_scrobbles(). While the addition of update_scrobbles() partially helps this, it still relies on you having a relatively recent source of scrobbles available in a dataset.

The idea behind this post is to setup a github repo where you can store scrobbled datasets. You then put a small .R script in there that runs the actual download, and then use Github Actions to set this script running on a schedule. While it might sound complicated, it’s actually relatively straightforward.

Please note, this tutorial involves saving your API key into a (allbeit private) github repository. This is potentially a security risk, I am not a security expert, and I only recommend doing this if you are comfortable putting your api key in a repo. I cannot be held responsible for any exposure of your api key.


To get started, you need to learn a little about running Github Actions with R. The absolute best place to learn is , this tutorial by Simon Couch. The tutorial I’ve written here will focus on the deviations you need to make from Simons tutorial. It’s broken up into sections below, based on the sections of Simon’s tutorial. As it describes deviations, I highly highly advise reading and understanding his post first, then come here to adapt it.

The setup

The first deviation from Simons tutorial is you should create a private github repository, so your lastfm creds are not immediately public.

The R Script

First thing is to create the .R script that is placed inside the /R directory of your package. For scrobbler, this is relatively straightforward. Copy the text below, making sure to substitute your credentials in.


mydf <- download_scrobbles(

        file = paste0(

Note: If following the syntax above, make sure the ‘scrobbles/’ directory exists and is committed to Github. Git will normally not commit an empty directory. To get around this, create the ‘scrobbles/’ directory and add a blank text file inside it. You should then be able to commit the text file, and when you push to Github the ‘scrobbles/’ directory will be created.


The workflow file

Ive hosted a complete version of the workflow file as a Gist here. The easiest thing to go is copypaste that into your github workflow file. For those interested, I’ll highlight the important differences between this one and Simons below.

Lines 1-4

   - cron: "0 0 * * 0"

The - cron: command here is how you schedule the script to run at certain times. It uses a a special ‘cron syntax’. The easiest way to get the schedule you want is to use a website like ‘Crontab’. This particular syntax is scheduled to run once a week on Sundays.

Here, Ive also added the ‘workflow_dispatch:’ command. This allows you to navigate to the workflow file on github and run it by clicking a button. This is perfect for debugging, or if you want a current version of your data.

Note: If you run this more than once a day, make sure to update your code to save the filenames to catch the time (with Sys.time()) instead of just the date.


Lines 33-34

- name: Install curl
run: sudo apt-get install libcurl4-openssl-dev

As scrobbler talks to an API, it requires the R package curl which in turn is built upon the C library libcurl. This command ensures that libcurl gets installed on the server.

Line 58


Make sure to change the name of the R file to whatever you have named your script file.

Wrap up

With all of this together, you should have a repo that commits a .Rda file of all your scrobbles on whatever schedule you wish.

Remember to be considerate with this. scrobbler is not designed for a continuous stream of data, so dont set it to run every minute or something. Think about how often you need it, and base your schedule around that. I only look at mine every so often, so weekly works for me. If I need a later version, I can always run update_scrobbles on the dataframe, and it’ll update quickly.

If you run into any issues with this, please reach out - Im happy to assist in anyway.