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8 brilliant gift ideas for music lovers

Are you having a hard time finding gifts for friends and loved ones this year? Are you looking for a gift for someone who is always tapping their foot and singing in the shower?

Music related gifts can be a real crowd pleaser. It could be the gift of music itself, something to enhance your listening experience, or a toy that lets you get creative.

Here's our list of gift ideas for the casual and not-so-casual music lovers in your life.

1. Music streaming subscription

Just 10 years ago, if you wanted to buy music for someone, you probably would have chosen an iTunes gift card (or even physical media). These days we're used to subscription-based streaming technology from Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music.

The most important thing to remember when considering a subscription is which service the recipient is using and the platform of their choice. There's little point in buying someone a Spotify membership if they've built an Apple Music library and are happy with the service, so do your research first.

In terms of cost, this really varies and depends on what you'd like to spend. Apple Music uses iTunes credits, so you can purchase a standard iTunes Gift Card for this purpose. Apple Music membership costs $9.99/month, so you're looking at around $60 for a 6-month membership, or $120 for a year.

You can purchase a Spotify gift card that provides enough credit for three months of use in the US store. Pandora also offers a one-year subscription to Pandora Plus.

Important: If you're buying a gift card, make sure the currency matches the recipient's store. As an example, US iTunes Gift Cards can only be used in the US iTunes Store.

2. Vinyl turntable

It's no secret that vinyl records are becoming popular again. It is the only physical audio medium that is experiencing an increase in sales and the number of quality turntables available continues to grow.

There is something to be said for listening to music on vinyl. Purists argue that the sound quality is unparalleled, or that pops and crackles only serve to add character to recorded works. Others prefer the physical aspect of having music on record, and are proud to support artists by buying LPs from smaller labels.

However, there is no right turntable for everyone. For those just starting out, or anyone who appreciates the portability and novelty of battery power, the Crosley Messenger turntable offers great flexibility.

Crosley CR8016A-GY Messenger, 3-Speed ​​Battery Powered Turntable, Gray Crosley CR8016A-GY Messenger, 3-Speed ​​Battery Powered Turntable, Gray Buy Now On Amazon $66.90

For the aspiring DJ who must have it all, the Audio Technica LP1240 offers more cranking torque than the Technics 1200 series, with USB output, a pre-amplified line stage, and all the speeds and features you'd expect from a $1500 Stanton. .

Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Professional Direct-Drive DJ Turntable (USB &Analog) Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Professional Direct-Drive DJ Turntable (USB &Analog) Buy Now On Amazon $449.00

Don't forget to brush up on the things you need to know when shopping for a turntable.

3. Framed vinyl records

If your intended recipient already has a record player, why not spend money on something else vinyl-related? After all, vinyl enthusiasts can't get enough of the stuff.

Art Vinyl is a company specialized in frames for vinyl records. Starting at around $50 for a single frame, or around $130 for a pack of three, the convenient layout lets you change records effortlessly when you want to listen to them (or just want to change the decor).

You can pair a frame with something from the recipient's Discogs wish list, or a new vinyl you press for a smart gift that looks and sounds great.

4. Smart home speaker

Smart home speakers offer wireless sound and a smart assistant to help you around the home or office. You currently have three main options:Apple HomePod, Google Home, and Amazon speakers that come with Alexa.

If sound quality is your primary concern, the Apple HomePod (our review) won't disappoint. It's a high-capacity smart speaker that works with Apple Music natively or via AirPlay for use with iOS devices. That means the recipient will have to use an iPhone, iPad, or Mac (and an Apple Music subscription wouldn't hurt).

Google makes a few different Home-branded products:the basic Google Home, the smaller Google Home Mini, and the best-sounding option:the Google Home Home. Unlike HomePod, Google Home can use YouTube, Pandora, Spotify and more to play music.

Amazon seems to be building Alexa support into just about anything, but the best sound-focused offerings are the basic Echo, the smaller Echo Dot, and the Amazon Echo Plus. Amazon's offering is the only third-party smart home speaker to include Apple Music support.

All-New Echo Plus Bundle (2nd Gen) with Philips Hue Bulb - Charcoal All-New Echo Plus Bundle (2nd Gen) with Philips Hue Bulb - Charcoal Buy Now on Amazon $149.99

5. “Silly” Bluetooth Speaker

You don't need to buy the smart home hype to give the gift of wireless sound. Bluetooth technology has come on in leaps and bounds since speakers hit the shelves. Now it's possible to buy some surprisingly impressive and space-filling solutions for all budgets.

For a Bluetooth speaker for everywhere, check out the JBL Flip 4. It's waterproof, packs a 3000mAh rechargeable battery, and can connect two smartphones at once to share sound. You can also wirelessly connect more than 100 JBL speakers together, if you ever want to.

JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker (Black) JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker (Black) Buy Now On Amazon $79.49

If you're looking for something a little more substantial for your home, Bose produces a range of portable speakers like the Bose Soundlink. If you've ever listened to one of Bose's mighty little speakers, you'll know the company packs a surprisingly good punch into such a small package.

Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II - Smooth Black Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II - Smooth Black Buy Now On Amazon $129.00

If your budget can stretch a bit more, check out the Sonos One. It comes with built-in support for Amazon Alexa. The Sonos One can fill a room despite its modest size, and it's moisture resistant, so you can really put some meatloaf in the shower (meatloaf not included).

All-new Sonos One:The smart speaker for music lovers with Amazon Alexa built for wireless music streaming and voice control in a compact size with incredible sound for any room. (Black) New Sonos One:The smart speaker for music lovers with Amazon Alexa built for wireless music streaming and voice control in a compact size with incredible sound for any room. (Black) Buy Now On Amazon $179.00

Still not sure which Bluetooth speaker to go for? Take a look at the best Bluetooth speakers for smartphone users.

6. High quality wired headphones

Most of the time, your choice of headphones comes down to your music preferences, but that's arguably an industry figment. Bass cans are great for modern electronic music, but they turn classic, rock, and metal into a muddy, inaudible sludge. The best headphones you can buy are those that don't try to change the music, but provide a faithful reproduction of the original recording.

That usually means opting for headphones or studio monitors, which don't try to boost the bass or add unnecessary punch to the treble. One such company that has made a name for itself with quality, handcrafted, American-made headphones is Brooklyn, New York-based Grado Labs.

Even their most entry-level models, like the SR60e and SR80e, provide a highly sought after, balanced response and exceptional clarity for their price range. Plus, they ooze style with an iconic, adjustable design and a faux-leather headband that ensures a comfortable listening experience.

Grado SR60e Headphones Grado SR60e Headphones Buy Now On Amazon $79.00

7. Wireless headphones

Not all music lovers are audiophiles, and even those who are can appreciate comfort when they see it. Wireless headphones don't sound as good as wired ones, and you're much more limited in which models you can choose to cut the audio cord.

For iPhone, iPad, and Mac users, Apple's W1 headphones are arguably the best. Apple's AirPods (our review) are a wireless version of the company's iconic white headphone in-ear gifts. While the sound is pretty good, there's no noise isolation or form-fitting silicone for comfort, so they're not perfect for everyone.

Also better suited to Apple devices are the BeatsX (our review), Apple's other small wireless in-ear headphones. Since they are called Beats they are also quite heavy, but they sound good and are very comfortable. Both AirPods and BeatsX are super easy to pair, with fast charging and a built-in mic for talking on the phone or chatting with Siri.

BeatsX Headphones - Black BeatsX Headphones - Black Buy Now On Amazon $99.95

For Samsung users, the company's Level U Pro wireless headphones really hit the mark, at about half the price of the BeatsX. For everyone else, the Phiaton BT100 offers noise-canceling technology in an in-ear headphone style at a decent price.

Phiaton BT 100 NC Wireless and Active Noise Canceling Neckband Style Headphones with Microphone Phiaton BT 100 NC Wireless and Active Noise Canceling Neckband Style Headphones with Microphone Buy Now on Amazon $69.99

8. KORG miniature synthesizers

For music lovers who are not content with simply listening to music, KORG's latest range of Volca mini synthesizers can provide hours of fun. For beginners, check out the KORG Analog Drum Machine, KORG Loop Synth, and KORG Mini Sampler.

Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine Buy Now on Amazon

More last minute gift ideas!

While this list was intended for people who buy music-related gifts for other people, you might want to pick up some of these goodies for yourself. If so, that's fine, you can treat yourself once in a while.

And if you're looking for last minute gifts, check out our last minute shopping guide. 3 Last Minute Digital Gifts That Don't Require Shipping 3 Last Minute Digital Gifts That Don't Require Shipping Need a last minute gift? Going digital may be your only hope of being on time. Here are the best last minute digital gift ideas. Read more !