Most people enjoy music. Others like it with a little bit more passion. Not only do they listen to music religiously, they collect a good load of music stuff, from records and concert merch to various types of memorabilia. Some even play music themselves, whether they prefer plucking on guitar strings, putting together DJ sets, or producing fire beats on Ableton Live. Suffice to say, music plays a bigger part in their lives than your average person.
If you have these people in your holiday list, it’s a good idea to get them a present that plays into their musical inclinations. Headphones and speakers are probably the most common option for gift-giving, although we know plenty who will love just a simple music-themed graphic tee or a music-themed novelty item they can put on a shelf at home. There’s a ton of accessories you can gift that work well based on what musical activities they engage in, as well as music-related electronic items, toys, and party favors of all sorts that they can probably enjoy.
Suffice to say, there’s no shortage of gift options for the musically-inclined in your holiday list. Here are some of our favorites.
Genius Music Playing Cards
This erstwhile standard card deck swaps out the traditional playing card graphics in favor of popular musical artists, each one beautifully illustrated by Rik Lee. Each suit corresponds to one genre of music, with each card in that suit featuring an artist from that genre. Hearts get all the pop artists in the set, including Elton John and Rihanna, while spades are decorated with rock and roll legends, such as Elvis and Kurt Cobain. Folk and Country are bundled up together on the diamond suit, which features Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift, and a whole host of artists in between, while clubs get the blues and R&B, where legends like Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, and Amy Winehouse make their appearance. The deck comes with two Jokers, too, each of which features David Bowie and Bjork, respectively.
This fun group game lets you show off your musical tastes, while letting you get to know other players through their own musical preferences. To play, one player draws a card, which describes a situation that can be matched with a song. The same player then plays a song on their phone that could make a good match for the description. After that, each player takes their turn playing a different song to go with the same card. After everyone’s played their pick, players then vote on whose song best represents the card and the person with the most votes win the round. The next player then draws a new card and goes through the same process again. The first player to win five rounds wins the game. It’s a really fun game that can keep everyone engaged, all while filling the night with fun music for the whole group to enjoy.
All You Need to Know About the Music Business: 11th Edition
Most music lovers we know dream of being in the music business in some form. That’s why we think your recipient might appreciate this book the Los Angeles Times dubbed as “the industry bible.” Written by a veteran music lawyer, this volume covers essential information for anyone who wants to be in the business, with detailed discussions about record deals, royalties, songwriting, publishing, touring, merchandising, licensing, streaming, marketing, and all the things that happen in between. Granted, the book makes no guarantees about making it in the business, but it definitely drops enough knowledge that you wouldn’t be going in unprepared at any point.
This erstwhile normal-looking microphone is actually a standalone karaoke machine with its own built-in speaker, so you can go around singing your heart out and pestering everyone in the vicinity with no other gear. If you’d rather not sing acapella, you can also pair it with a phone or laptop for use with any karaoke app of your choice. Heck, you can probably just open YouTube and play karaoke videos on there. Music from the app will play through the speaker, serving as accompaniment for your stirring vocal renditions. It has an SD card slot, so you can load your own karaoke music for standalone play, as well as a rechargeable battery, so you can plug in to keep it charged throughout the day.
This fun, playful synth makes for a great gift whether for folks who actually create music or those who just like to mess around with sounds using a funny-looking toy. Despite its goofy looks, it can actually pull of some awesome tunes, especially once you get the hang of using the touch fretboard on the neck and pinching the mouth to alter the sound that comes out. It’s a real musical instrument, after all, although the same goofy looks and carefree play style is what makes it extremely approachable even for folks without actual musical experience.
For music fans who like to wear music-themed jewelry, this treble clef pendant makes a beautiful addition to any necklace or bracelet, allowing you to celebrate your musical inclinations all day and night. It’s small, measuring just slightly over half an inch tall, so it’s very subtle and tasteful, with the option to get it in 925 sterling silver, 18K gold vermeil, or 14K solid gold. You can give it as a present on its own or pair it with a chain for a complete jewelry piece.
Musical discovery is a wonderful thing and this service makes it happen in trendy vinyl. Buy your recipient a subscription and they will receive a monthly vinyl mixtape that contains 10 songs from new artists from all over the world. Meant to serve as a special vinyl experience, each mixtape is filled with carefully curated fresh songs from up-and-coming acts that are pressed in colored vinyl. All records are slipped inside a cover jacket with original art commissioned especially for that month, along with a lyrics booklet that includes information about each artist featured on the mixtape.
Yes, you can go out and buy records in hopes that your vinyl-loving recipient will like them. Or you can just let these guys curate a box of records, both new and vintage, based on your recipient’s tastes. So long as you know a bit about your recipient’s musical preferences, these guys can do the grunt work of finding music that lines up with their listening habits, using their extensive experience to maximize the chances of turning up gems. From hip hop and punk to jazz and classic rock to timeless Americana, these guys know how and where to scour for the best vinyl recordings. The $100 box contains anywhere from three to eight records, depending on their going prices, so you might want to order a more expensive box if you want more vinyl in the set.
Yes, it looks like a standard thumb drive. However, this unassuming USB dongle is actually a pretty capable DAC and headphone amplifier. Just stick it into an open USB slot on your PC and plug in your headphones to its 3.5mm output to get an immediate boost in sound, with your music sounding louder, cleaner, and clearer, complete with support for hi-res tracks up to 24-bit/192kHz. It completely bypasses the PC’s internal sound card, by the way, instead using its own hardware and software algorithms to process music correctly.
This portable mixer lets you turn your smartphone into a veritable recording studio, making it a great gift for recipients with a penchant for performing and recording their own music. It can take input from microphones, musical instruments, and other audio sources, then perform real-time sound monitoring and multi-channel mixing to turn your erstwhile amateur jam sessions into quality studio recordings. The rig supports up to 11 audio inputs, with mixing support for up to seven separate audio sources, individual knobs for up to four inputs (mic, guitar, instrument, headset mic), and a whole lot of other niceties, all while serving as a capable audio interface for various music apps.
Yes, the guys who built the fancy steam toaster also made a portable Bluetooth speaker that’s also fancier than your average fare. Is it overpriced? Yes. Is it a technological marvel? Not really. In fact, they probably stripped out a lot of modern audio technology to deliver it in this form. However, it does achieve what it sets out to do, which is to create a speaker with vocally-driven sound that emulates the live music experience while preserving the acoustic integrity of the song. And it does that in style, with a fancy light show inside the case accompanying the audio with some striking visual delights. It’s not the speaker you’ll probably want to use for everyday listening, but it’s definitely one you will reach for when you’re craving for a different listening experience.