Gift Ideas for the Music Lover

Some people are harder to choose gifts for than others. Think of the music lover in your life, for example, if all you know is that he loves music, the sheer variety of music genres alone makes finding the right gift a difficult task. Look deeper, though, to narrow the many possible choices to one gift he'll love.

Listen Up

When you think of a gift for a music lover, the obvious first choice is music. Yes, you can give a gift card to a music store or streaming service, but gift cards practically scream "I don't know you well enough to pick something out for you myself," so it should be a last resort or an addition to a second, thoughtful gift. Instead, pick out an album you think your music lover will enjoy. Steer clear of his favorite singer or band—chances are he's already bought that album for himself. If you know he hasn't, then get it for him, but coordinate with other friends and family members or you run the risk of ending up at a party where he unwraps five or six copies of the same CD.

If you have the time to put it together, a unique, personalized playlist crafted just for your music lover "could be one of those gifts that become truly special," says professional DJ Mitch Matthews. "I have friends who played my CD all the way around the world over a two-year trip, then constantly played it to their unborn daughter." Just keep in mind that the playlist, and any music gift, should be based on the tastes of the recipient, not your own.

New Way to Listen

If she doesn't already have one, a portable music player gives your music lover a way to carry the soundtrack to her life with her everywhere she goes. Buy the player with the largest amount of storage space you can manage with your budget—the more of her music library she can fit into it, the better. Pool money with friends or family members to give a device that is out of your price range. No matter how good the player, the music on it won't sound its best through dinky earbuds; so if your music lover already has a music player, give her a great pair of headphones to go with it. Research the huge variety of headphones on the market—wired, wireless, in-ear or over-the-ear and noise-canceling—to get the best value. Alternatively, give your music lover a speaker she can connect to her music player to turn it into a boombox.

Live Experience

For a music lover, not much tops hearing your favorite music at a live event. If your music lover's dream of seeing her favorite singer, band or musical live hasn't yet come true, that's where you come in. If the event is already sold out, keep an eye on reputable ticket-reselling websites, as well as the website of the event or venue itself, because more tickets may pop up for sale close to the event date. If you can't manage to get your hands on tickets, look for a DVD version of the event. Throw in some glow sticks for the concert-at-home experience along with a written promise to grab tickets to the artist's next event in your area.

Merchandise and Memorabilia

When the music lover already owns all the CDs for his favorite artists, turn to the bevy of merchandise and memorabilia available, including coffee table books, photos, posters, wall art, T-shirts and action figures. If you want to thrill him, give an item signed by his favorite artist. Gifts that are not artist-specific are welcomed too. Think bowls, clocks or picture frames made from vinyl records, coasters made to look like CDs, guitar pick earrings—the sky's the limit.

Something to Play

For the music lover who is also a musician in his own right, buy sheet music for his favorite songs in a version he can play on his instrument of choice. Make sure the difficulty of the piece is suitable for his skill level—you don't want music so complicated he'll give up in frustration. In addition to sheet music, give your music lover accessories for the instrument he plays—violin strings, a tuner, guitar picks, a new carrying case or whatever else he needs.

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