The years when your musical tastes truly mattered to your identity are long gone, we are constantly told. The younglings no longer define as metalheads or b-boys or goths or disco queens or indie shambles; they just leave themselves at the mercies of the blessed algorithm and let the music play, a title that only comes to mind because I heard Radcliffe and Maconie play it yesterday on their 6Music show, which shows how old I am, doesn’t it?
And yet... and yet. The continued success of Spotify’s annual Wrapped, which gives users a handy summary of their listening habits over the past year and – this is the important bit – encourages them to share it with everyone else, suggests that people think the things they listen to do actually matter, do actually express something about the listener, even if they happen accidentally. To this extent: