Some of us still have shelves of it, some download it, others stream it online; Simon O'Hagan spends a week with each of the main ways of consuming music in 2012. Music snobbery and the case for pop: Pop music’s accessibility can produce a backlash from discerning listeners, but high sales figures should not necessarily be viewed as a sign of an artist’s aesthetic descent. Why do some child prodigies flame out when others soar? At 17, Conrad Tao knows he could go either way. Not quite white: A review of Jews, Race and Popular Music by Jon Stratton. Word on the suite: Superabundant, super-confident, flashy — hip-hop is channelling the spirit of rock music’s golden age. How headphones changed the world: A short philosophical history of personal music. If you barely know your Def Leppard from your Deep Purple, you won’t be surprised by the obvious point of this map: Scandinavia is the world capital of heavy metal music. A review of Exploring U2: Is This Rock ’n’ Roll? Why Chinese people play Western classical music: Hao Huang on transcultural roots of music philosophy. Love that new single? Mathematical equation predicts music’s hits and flops.