Can your girlfriend tell a Boscoe from a Bruno? Does your way of keeping an eye on your friends include what they’re currently listening to on Spotify? Or do all your friends listen to their My Bloody Valentine on FLAC files? If so, then here’s the perfect guide to what you should gift all the music aficionados in your life. From handwritten playlists to vinyl record coasters, there’s a range of gifts to choose from. Handmade or not, your music-loving friends will love it.
Read on for 10 gifts for music loves sure to make their heart sing.
1. CAREFULLY CURATED PLAYLIST
Put your trusty stationery to use and design a playlist for your friend to enjoy. A mix of old and new, the playlist can be evocative of memories you share as well as new finds for the recipient to enjoy. Personal tip: if you’d like to personalize the compilation even further, you can arrange the song titles so they spell out a poem. The sight of your handwriting, its swirls and quirks, will bring a smile to their face. Add in some cute stickers or your own doodles. The perfect gift for them to hold onto and enjoy whether they’re riding the bus or taking a bath.
2. 33 ¹⁄₃ BOOK
33 ¹⁄₃ may sound familiar because it’s the rotation speed of a vinyl LP. However, I’m referring to the series of books published by Bloomsbury. Each volume is written about a single music album, intertwining the author’s own critiques with album related interviews and biography. 33¹⁄₃ offers any music lover a wonderfully in-depth analysis of their favorite albums. From The Kinks’ The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society to Angelo Badalamenti’s Soundtrack from Twin Peaks and Belle & Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister, there are over 150 titles to choose from. Hopefully, they’ll be surprised to discover something new. I sure did when I read their edition on My Bloody Valentine’s mythical Loveless. Order directly from Bloomsbury.
3. AN ORIGINAL SONG
Time for you to put your guitar to good use. Writing a song for a friend or a lover can be a creatively fulfilling endeavor. It doesn’t have to be the greatest song ever. Play around with it, and you’ll come up with something lovely and twee. I’m sure they’ll appreciate any jangly or folky tune you come up with.
“If I got an original song as a gift, I’d certainly enjoy the gift time and time again because music is timeless. It can live forever on my phone and in my heart. I’d feel like a lot of thought and effort and love was put into that song. It would mean so much,” said Brooklyn College sophomore Shakhram Gafurov.
As long as love is present, your efforts will be recognized. Even a cover of one of their favorites could be fun! A song to rest easy in both their hearts and their ears.
4. CONCERT TICKETS (for the future)
Hopefully socially distanced concerts will be possible next year. A lot of canceled shows are being rescheduled, so maybe your friend has a certain artist in mind. Maybe they want to see the Jesus and Mary Chain Darklands tour or Damon Albarn’s latest work The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows. There’s no greater feeling than seeing live music. To hear all of your favorite lyrics flood the venue and feel the vibrations of all the instruments, amps and pedals — especially with someone you care about.
“There’s something special about sharing a night in front of a stage, holding hands in the pit and singing until the last thanks. The music will ring in my ears long after the doors close, and there’s no one else I’d want to ride the bus home with,” said Ruth Asawa School of the Arts senior Natasha Jong.
Check Bandsintown to see when their favorite bands will play.
5. HEADPHONE SPLITTER
Sharing music can be a bonding experience. These headphone splitters offer just that. Your recipient will be sure to always have it on hand to listen to music together with their friends. Choose from a variety of options including a pair of avocados, a whale, a timeless red heart and more.
“When I first saw these headphone splitters, it was like seeing for the first time…eyes bulging and all,” said Susie Lin, a junior at York University.
My personal favorite has to be the 35mm film camera that has “Me & You” written on the front. Your friends will love how convenient and cute they are. Order directly from Legami.
6. VINTAGE CONCERT POSTERS
Instead of giving a gift they’ll stick in their closet and forget about, a poster is a fun decorative item for your fellow music lover to happily put on their wall. There are loads of cool pop-color designs from concerts in the 60s and 70s. The Bill Graham series offers psychedelic posters for bands like Jefferson Airplane to The Rolling Stones. Each one is a colorful and inviting trip to the past.
“I think vintage concert posters are some of the best gift ideas, collectible items or purely just wall decor because they can show so much about a certain decade and hold so much importance in just one work of art,” said College of San Mateo junior Phoebe Rae.
You can shop around on Etsy or your local music, thrift and design stores for the right fit. It’s the ultimate statement piece.
7. VINYL RECORD COASTERS
To complement their records stacks, decorate their coffee table with these up-cycled record coasters. Made from actual records, your music lover will receive a variety of old records of various genres. A quirky way to perk up their afternoon coffee break or a great conversation starter during drinks with friends. They’re a lovely gift to treasure and use while evoking nostalgia.
“It’s cool to know the history of the product and see how it is being reused today,” said artist Frances Montalvo.
Nostalgia is a central theme running through music after all. Available at Uncommon Goods.
8. LEUCHTTURM1917 SHEET MUSIC NOTEBOOK
For all the musicians and songwriters in your life, a sheet music notebook is a thoughtful way to give them more space to jot down their compositions. Leuchtturm1917 notebooks have exceptional quality. Choose from the many sizes, from pocket-sized to slim, as well as various colors. The pagination and blank table of contents make it easy to locate projects. They’ll be able to decorate the leather cover with their own choice of music stickers. It’s a terrific break from the computer screens of the 21st century. Order directly from Leuchtturm1917 or support a local stationery shop.
9. TURNTABLE CHEESEBOARD
Quite silly but useful, a turntable cheeseboard is an ideal gift for someone who loves both music and cheese. Everything is meant to replicate an actual record player, down to the steel knobs. Let your friend’s favorite cheeses become a symphony of flavor. The tonearm even turns into a cheese slicer. They’ll enjoy the otherwise tedious task of slicing cheese. It’ll be a big hit at any dinner party. Grab one at Uncommon Goods.
10. PERSONALIZED PLAYLIST WALKING MAP
Finally, if you’re searching for something very personal, this gift is for you. Create a map of a city or place you and your friend or significant lover share. The landmarks and spots can all be places special to the both of you. Perhaps you first heard a certain song at one supermarket together or you shared your first kiss at a neighborhood bridge. Assign a song to listen to at each location that is fitting due to either a memory, connection or mood. Make a digital or cassette mixtape of the songs. Then once you gift the map, you can embark on the wondrous music walk while listening to the playlist you made. Definitely use the earphone splitter above to make it extra intimate. Not only fun to make, but it also becomes a loving experience you’ll share together. The ultimate walk down memory lane, paving way for the future.