The impact of a drop onto a liquid layer produces a splash that results from the ejection and dissolution of one or more liquid sheets, which expand radially from the point of impact. In the crown splash parameter regime, secondary droplets appear at fairly regularly spaced intervals along the rim of the sheet. By performing many experiments for the same parameter values, we measure the spectrum of small-amplitude perturbations growing on the rim. We show that for a range of parameters in the crown splash regime, the generation of secondary droplets results from a Rayleigh-Plateau instability of the rim, whose shape is almost cylindrical. In our theoretical calculation, we include the time dependence of the base state. The remaining irregularity of the pattern is explained by the finite width of the Rayleigh-Plateau dispersion relation. Alternative mechanisms, such as the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, can be excluded for the experimental parameters of our study.