The other day I met a friend for a quick breakfast catch-up and the first thing she said to me, with a smart-arse smile on her face, was, "You were listening to Cliff Richard last night."

No friendly "hi", or "good to see ya". She couldn't help herself and cut straight to the juicy - and potentially embarrassing - personal stuff that I had got up to the night before that she had become privy to.

She was right. I had been listening to Sir Cliff on Spotify, which through its link-up with Facebook, means all your friends can see what you are listening to. Unless you make your sessions "private", which sounds a bit rude and makes you feel like you've got something to hide. Which I haven't. So open and honest is what I will be, even if I am listening to Cliff's greatest hits.

On this particular occasion I was doing some research ahead of the pop knight's concerts here next year. Honestly, I was.


And I didn't listen to Mistletoe and Wine or any of his other soppy and wet musical output. Besides, Cliff has had some cracking good tunes in his time, like tough 1950s rocker Move It. And I listened to Wired for Sound for old times' sake because his chart-topping early 80s hit was a formative song for me as a 9-year-old.

So Cliff is forever etched into the annals of my Spotify memory banks alongside, I might add, everything from Chopin (I'm cultured, me) to Baroness (the best heavy rock band around today) to Talk Talk (a band I have been rediscovering recently).

And I'll admit it now, if you are one of my interweb buddies, in the coming weeks you may even see an occasional Nickelback song pop up (again, it's research ahead of the Canadian rockers' show here next month).

As we have all come to realise over the last decade or so, the ability to check out anything that tickles your fancy is the truly wonderful thing about the internet.

And living in this day and age of social media - of which I would call myself a part-time user - it is now easier than ever to be a nosy parker.

The thing is, on Twitter and Facebook people openly let you know their every thought and move, but the cool thing about Spotify is that there is still a certain amount of mystery involved.

Put it this way, you can sure tell a lot - and make up a lot - about a person from what music they listen to.

And I admit I've been doing my own spying, because it's fascinating seeing the songs people you thought you knew pretty well are tuning in to. But be warned, it can be disturbing finding out your friends' deepest, darkest and dirtiest musical secrets. Because what exactly does it mean if, like one of my friends, they have been listening to the Smiths so much that it is verging on fetish-sized proportions.

And being a musical pervert also has more constructive uses, because the next time I see my young cousin I'll be handing him a memory stick full of good music to stop him from listening to - I can hardly bring myself to say it - John Mayer.

Then again, this from the guy who got busted listening to Sir Cliff and is about to "research" the music of Nickelback.

- TimeOut