It's not too hard to buy a gift for someone who "likes music," is it? You just go to your local record store and pick some stuff out. I mean, what could be easier ... wait, what? Oh, yeah. Of course you're laughing uncontrollably because you've probably tried to buy a gift for a music fan before, and, in this world of endless blogs and 1TB hard drives, you understand there's no way to be sure that you've picked the right thing. So, to keep you from buying the worst present ever – a gift card – here's a quick quiz to ensure that you're definitely getting the right thing.
DOES THE GIFT RECIPIENT OWN A TURNTABLE?
If the answer is no, then you need to buy them one. It's not kitschy or trendy or snobby; it's essential. And one of the best options is Audio Technica's AT-LP60USB. It's cheap (less than $100), it's decent (way better than the ones you may find at Target), and you can use it to rip vinyl onto your computer or as a regular record player that you plug into a stereo.
DOES THE RECIPIENT HAVE A COMPUTER OR A SMARTPHONE?
If the answer is yes, then you need to get them a subscription to Rdio ($9.99/month), an online streaming service that gives access to more than 18 million songs. Sound like Spotify? Well, it is similar (and, like Spotify, has paid and free options), but Rdio's desktop and mobile apps are about 1,000 times easier to use than Spotify ... plus, you don't have to sign in with Facebook.
DO YOU JUST WANT TO BUY THEM SOME MUSIC?
Well then, some great CD box sets came out this year – complete studio album sets by Roxy Music and Joni Mitchell, an incredible archival Lost Tapes set by Can, and a collection of BBC Sessions by the Kinks, for example – as well as several incredible vinyl sets (the Velvet Underground's Verve/MGM Albums set is incredible).
Over the ears and through the woods
Make a fist – that's the size these colorful headphones fold down to, making them super transportable, plus there's a plug-in option to share music with friends.
These faux-fur animal hoodies have washable speakers built into the hood and a pocket for your iPod or phone. A little ridiculous, yes, but 10 percent of the price is donated to the animal cause of your choice.
With a vintage look, achieved by borrowing from the materials used in their amplifiers, these headphones come in black or white and are currently priced on Amazon for $90, if you're looking for a bargain.
Monoprice 8323 Premium
Although they look a little boring, they're sturdy, comfy and block out noise pretty decently. They also swivel 90 degrees to double as speakers, which is kind of cool?