THE LONG HAUL: A Gift Guide for Musicians and Music Lovers
Photo by Yan Krukov via Pexels
It’s that time of year again when we all start to stress about what thoughtful gifts we might be able to get for our loved ones for the holidays. For this year’s guide (which is not sassy like last years’), I made a list of gifts that I think would be appreciated by the music-inclined people in your life. I divided the gifts into two categories: Musicians, specifically for touring musicians, since this section focuses a lot on travel-related gifts, and Music Lovers, for folks who love and support roots music, but aren’t traipsing all over the world to perform it on a regular basis.
I am loyal to Apple AirPods, especially the ones that include noise canceling, which is great for airplane travel, noisy van rides, and snoring bandmates. However, if you’re looking for a budget alternative, PC Mag recommends these $40 earbuds from Tribit.
Earbud/AirPod holder for key ring
One of the hardest things about Bluetooth earbuds is keeping track of them! If you’re buying for someone who travels a lot, an AirPods case or other headphone keyring holder is a great idea. Just make sure you get the right shape/model for the earbuds in question. There are lots of fun, customizable options on Etsy, if you want to support small businesses.
Travel yoga mat
The travel yoga mat has been a godsend for me on tour, allowing me to do a short workout in greenrooms without getting directly on the dirty floors. (Trust me, they can be very dirty!) This is the one I have and I really love it!
Oil change or car wash
Regular oil changes, cleaning, and checkups for your tour rig are self-care! This is the touring musicians’ equivalent of a massage or pedicure. Jiffy Lube gift card!?
This item is on my own holiday wish list this year. I’m trying to be more conscious of the strain I put on my hearing since I’d really like it to last a long time. My bandmate, an electric bass player, keeps his earplugs in at all times while playing or listening at a loud show. I think he’s trained himself from standing next to drums for so many years. Anyway, I’m trying to wise up and find some good earplugs for loud shows.
I am really intrigued by this new model of neck pillow by Trtl, but I really think any version would work. This is one of those items that I’ve never actually purchased and I’m not sure why because I always end up stealing and using other people’s pillows. But it’s on my list this year and I think I’ll be snoozing on it all the way to Australia for New Year’s!
Subscriptions (Patreon, Substack, Masterclass, Artistworks, Trufire, audiobooks)
I always think it’s cool to help creators support other creators by gifting subscriptions to their favorite content channels. I love to support my favorite YouTube yoga teacher, for example, and George, my husband, subscribes to the Patreon of an Italian chef he loves to learn from. It feels good to be a supporter when you’re constantly asking folks to subscribe to your own channels. You realize that there is value in these subscriptions, and it’s also a good way to learn what you like and don’t like from subscription content — plus yoga and cooking techniques of course.
A quality suitcase
I am loyal to Away Travel (this is not spon con), mainly because they have a lifetime guarantee on their product and it’s ultralightweight, but I think there are lots of competing companies doing this now. I put so much wear and tear on my luggage, and it’s nice to know that I won’t have wheels falling off when I’m lugging tons of stuff through an airport. When a piece does inevitably start to wear out, I can just ask for it to be fixed or get a replacement for free, so it’s like checking off a box for the foreseeable future instead of the next year or two.
A record player
Help the music lovers in your life become vinyl collectors by purchasing them their first record player. You can get them super cheap these days! Once they are addicted, they can figure out their ideal audio setup with speakers, etc. — this is just the gateway drug. Once this person has a record player, they will feel justified in buying vinyl records from their favorite bands, which in turn will support touring acts and up-and-coming musicians.
This is a great gift to help someone who is already super into vinyl get organized and stay classy in their display. Check out these storage cubes for inspo!
Concert tickets or gift card to an independent music venue
A lot of folks have forgotten how to get out of the house and go see live music in the past couple years. But when they finally do see a great live show, they will remember the joy and necessity of it. Gift a loved one a concert of their choice while helping support indie venues that are still struggling to get back on their feet.
Encourage the switch over from Spotify! Not only does Tidal provide higher-quality audio, it also has more ethical practices on a number of levels, the first being that the artist royalty is $.01/stream compared to Spotify’s $.003, which makes an enormous difference over the course of a career. Here is a little rundown of the differences between Spotify and Tidal.
Remember that it’s always appreciated when you support your favorite indie artists, publications, content creators, and venues by purchasing merch, subscriptions, and gift cards as gifts. December is traditionally a very lean month, and these small purchases can go a long way!
Here’s hoping that you all have a great holiday season!