In the old days, you could give someone a CD or a cassette and be pretty sure they'd listen to it. The CD might sit on the table for a day or two but eventually they will put it in their car CD player and listen to the whole thing and think about you, which is why it is such an awesome sort of gift. If I really wanted to go the extra mile I could even create custom artwork for the jewel case, or attach a personal note.

I don't know how to do this with streaming services. On Spotify I could create a public playlist and send them a link, but they might not be signed up for Spotify, and there's a chance the email would just get lost or forgotten. On iTunes I guess I could buy the songs as a gift and they would show up in their library, but I think tracks tend to get buried and forgotten that way-- it ends up being just one more track in a giant database. Either way, I can't be sure which streaming services they have. And using any service precludes me from giving them rare or hard-to-find music that may not be part of the services' offering. I guess I could still burn a CD, but who still has a CD player?

Anyway, looking for a modern way for giving someone music in a way that is personal, keeps them engaged, and is guaranteed to work with whatever streaming services they may or may not have.

  • Buy them a small instrument, and give them the gift of music that will last a lifetime! Oct 7, 2023 at 10:01

9 Answers 9


If you really want them to remember the gift, don't send a recording. Think laterally, give tickets to a concert.

Live music is always more memorable as it is an occasion, the memories will include the atmosphere and the people they go with - probably you.

It doesn't have to be a stadium tour of some supergroup, small gigs down the pub can work just as well.

You'll also be supporting live music, which is never a bad thing.


If you're willing to burn a DVD, a flash/thumb drive could hold whatever you had in mind with room to spare for files such as relevant images and videos.

To increase the personalization of the "presentation package" you can throw your creative side into the gift packaging decoration to create a 'keepsake'

Good luck.


It's clear you've put some thought into your quest. With the exclusions you've listed, consider that you can create a YouTube playlist configured as unlisted. This still allows you to provide a link to the user. I don't know anyone who cannot view/listen on YouTube.

Additionally, you'd be able to see the number of views for that link. Of course, if it is played on only one machine multiple times, it may appear as having been played only once, but you'll know it was "viewed."

  • It's true most people can access YouTube and it's playable on a lot of devices (phones, smart TVs etc), but I know a lot of people who refuse to watch YouTube because of its role in spreading misinformation and hate speech. Ideally a method would avoid this problem. Although certainly as playlists go, it beats Spotify or Apple for likelihood of being playable.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 16, 2023 at 14:53

You can buy music and e-books from online vendors. They send you a link to download, and you can pass that link to your friend or relative.

You can present the link in an email of your own design to make it gift-like.


There are some cool spotify plates that you can gift with a specific song. I always thought they look cool. Something like this: https://www.regalooriginal.com/shopping/55407/metacrilato-personalizado-cancion-spotify.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwyOuYBhCGARIsAIdGQRMdjGgeUVjIgemUXgxh4gE-dcwDiLxuEEI0N5FOUKnYqTwoLU2D8OkaAsuZEALw_wcB


Hire an excellent band with various musical instruments, mainly wind instruments, make personalized arrangements citing the name of the person to be presented. Do this live record for keepsakes.


Use a QR code. You can send it digitally or even physically.

  • And what does it point to?
    – Stuart F
    Oct 16, 2023 at 14:54

Vinyl never disappoints (assuming your recipient has the means to listen to a vinyl record). If vinyl is out of the question, buy someone a download of one of your favorite records on bandcamp.

  • Vinyl always disappoints. As soon as I heard about CD technology, I stopped buying vinyl, and waited another 2 years before I could buy my first CD. That was 40 years ago and I've never regretted it. ¶ I really don't understand why vinyl has made a comeback. For the large cover art yes, as a collectable item sure, but for actually listening to it, there's no way. Hearing that click every 1.8 seconds from each minor scratch is more than disappointing. ¶ And why, on TV, does everyone almost always interrupt play by ruining the record? Oct 7, 2023 at 0:33
  • Are you suggesting the OP cuts their own record for the recipient, or something else? Just buying an album doesn't seem very personal.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 16, 2023 at 14:54

I guess I could still burn a CD, but who still has a CD player?

It is true that CD players are getting more rare and more expensive. Also, some music is only available as LP recordings which is very strange to me, since LP is a markedly inferior format to CD and physically very large, requiring you to buy a very expensive house to store all those LPs!

However, I would still recommend using a CD as a gift. Firstly, even though many computers today are very slim laptops with no CD drive, external USB CD drives are available very cheaply. It allows you to rip the CD into digital files, permitting you to do anything with the files, even listening offline or listening after you cancel your streaming service subscription. For someone that might consider cancelling unused streaming service subscriptions, a CD is something very memorable, since you can continue listening to it after the cancellation.

CD is something physical which is far easier to remember than digital files that are easy to lose into the vast storage space in your computer. Also, if something damaging happens to your hard disk drive (or solid state drive these days), you still have the original.

CDs also have a resale value. Buying digital files is something that can't be resold later. If you buy digital files, and want to get rid of them, and sell them to someone else, you probably will be arrested and even if you claim that you no longer have the files on your computer and you sold them exactly once, deleting after that, you still probably would be guilty of a copyright crime. CDs can be sold, and you can buy used second hand CDs for a far cheaper price than new CDs.

Because CDs allow you access to the original storage all the time even if you lose the contents of your disk drive, are easy to remember, and have resale value, a CD is the ideal gift, even in a world where practically nobody uses the CD daily for listening to the music but rather rips the music to digital files.

It's very annoying that not all music can be bought as CDs anymore. A CD is the ideal format, with perfect lossless audio quality. A digital file would be a good deal only if it had an insignificant fraction of the price of a CD, which it doesn't, CDs are approximately as cheap as digital music files.

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