The 2021 Gift Guide for Music Lovers

Music Lists Gift Guide
The 2021 Gift Guide for Music Lovers

Time has been tough to keep tabs on in 2021—we wouldn’t blame you for being taken aback by the fact that the holidays are approaching at high speed. Not to worry, though: We’ve assembled a handy guide to jumpstart any holiday shopping you’ve yet to do for the music obsessives in your life. Maybe these giftees play music, write their own, see it live every chance they get, or simply love to listen to it; they may take music very seriously, or just have fun with it. Whatever the case may be, you can find something for them below, and with a few of these 20 suggestions, you’ll also be supporting working musicians through your gifting. Happy holidays from your Paste pals.

Bandcamp Gift Card


Perhaps the most convenient and versatile gift option for the music lover in your life, a Bandcamp gift card takes guesswork out of the equation and lets the recipient pick which digital or physical releases (or artist merch) they can’t live without. And crucially, Bandcamp purchases support artists directly—about 82% of what you spend goes straight to the artist/label, a win/win for both your gift recipient and the musicians who soundtrack their lives. —Scott Russell

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The Beatles: Get Back


For the ultimate Beatles fan, Peter Jackson’s Get Back docuseries has become a long-awaited holy grail, promising insight into the Fab Four’s Let It Be album and final concert. Along with the docuseries, the Get Back book frames the creation of their final album through the band’s own words, accompanied by hundreds of previously unpublished images, taken by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney. —Ana Cubas

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Dan Wilson’s Words + Music In 6 Seconds Cards


A must-have for the aspiring songwriter in your life, this 75-card deck, written and designed by Grammy-winning hitmaker and Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson, is chock-full of useful advice on creativity, collaboration and more. Stuck on how to move forward with a song-in-progress? Reach for a random card and see where it takes you, or keep flipping through until inspiration strikes. Wilson has plenty of wisdom to share, such as: “Even the greatest, most brilliant songwriters can’t force a song to happen. They all have to surrender to the process, one way or the other.” —Scott Russell

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Death of Speedy Hot Sauce


If you’re shopping for an indie rock fan with an appetite for spice, this unusual bit of Speedy Ortiz merch is right up your alley. Inspired by the band’s recent reissue of early records (The Death of Speedy Ortiz among them), this hot sauce made by Willimantic, Connecticut’s Dragon’s Blood Elixir has a flavor profile described as “savory, yielding to fruity, leading into an herby/spicy finish,” with enough heat to make you sweat, but not so much that it overwhelms your taste buds. —Scott Russell

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Donda Stem Player


This may be one of those gifts you’ll end up wanting to keep for yourself. Following the whirlwind release of Kanye West’s long-awaited Donda, the rapper also released a handheld stem player that packs a lot of power in its small build. It’s easier than ever to remix your own songs or the songs of your favorite artists. Simply download the stems of songs and experiment with isolating and mixing them together. Maybe you didn’t want Kanye to fix “Wolves”? You can seek justice with the Donda Stem Player. —Jade Gomez

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Jabra True Wireless Earbuds


Most gift guides highlight high-end headphones, but it’s also understandable to want good quality sound without all the bulk. While Apple AirPods are compatible with non-Apple products, not all of the convenient features are available. Jabra’s True Wireless Earbuds come with a customizable equalizer and active noise cancellation, as well as a mode to hear background noise, up to 30 hours of battery life and a case that is far less likely to fly open in the case of a hard fall. All of the function without worrying about headphone hair! —Jade Gomez

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Kelefa Sanneh’s Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres


Music critic Kelefa Sanneh, who’s written for The New York Times and currently writes for The New Yorker, recently released his second book, Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres. The book follows popular music over the past 50 years, studying how popularity and genres in music both unite and divide communities. The book follow’s Sanneh’s first, Atlanta: Hip-Hop and the South, and his feature in the music-book staple Shake It Up: Great American Writing on Rock and Pop from Elvis to Jay Z. —Ana Cubas

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Lil Nas X Sweatshirt


If there’s one thing that brought 2021 together, it was the shared desire for Boosie to shut up. Commemorate one of the biggest cultural moments of the year with this charming sweatshirt that heralds what Paste loves the most: artists being unapologetically themselves and making awesome art. Ruffle a few feathers or make some new friends with this one. —Jade Gomez

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Marshall Jack Rack


One thing that brings guitar nerds together is the love for anything that can be made to look like guitar equipment. Take it a step further with something you know they don’t have: a key-hanging rack that looks like a Marshall amplifier. —Jade Gomez

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Masterclass Subscription


For the music fan who wants to learn an instrument, sing or just hear from their favorite artists, Masterclass is the perfect present that spans a wide array of musical interests. From country to EDM, Masterclass provides lessons from stars like Metallica, St. Vincent, Alicia Keys, Carlos Santana and more. Newest to the roster of notable musicians is Ringo Starr, who teaches drumming and creative collaboration. Plus, no gift-wrapping is necessary for this present. —Ana Cubas

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Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart


The best-selling authorial debut of Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, Crying in H Mart is an emotional memoir that details the musician’s complicated relationship with her late mother and her own Korean heritage. Zauner’s poignant writing offers unsparing insight into the life experiences that shaped her music, but you don’t have to be a fan of her band to be bowled over by this book. You may want to consider gift-wrapping some tissues along with it—no reader can hope to escape Crying in H Mart with dry eyes. —Scott Russell

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Mistaken Lyrics Coasters


There’s always a loved one who perpetually sings the wrong lyrics, and there are always songs in which you cannot unhear lyrics sounding utterly different from what the words truly are (“Hold me closer, Tony Danza”). These mistaken lyrics coasters are perfect for both impromptu karaoke and avoiding ring stains. They come in two series: classic rock and greatest hits. Each set comes with six coasters. —Ana Cubas

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Moxie Shower Head and Wireless Speaker


For those who prefer—or perhaps require—some accompaniment while they sing in the shower, Kohler’s Moxie is part shower head and part waterproof Harman Kardon speaker. The Bluetooth-enabled speaker stays in place magnetically (though you can take it out and use it elsewhere, if you like) and plays for up to nine hours on a single charge. No need to drip water all over your phone, either, as there are volume controls on the speaker itself. —Scott Russell

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Musician Saint Candles


For the mega-fan who has it all, there is no better gift than glorifying someone’s favorite artist on a saint candle. For devoted fans of Phoebe Bridgers, David Bowie, Britney Spears and many others, a faux-religious candle is calling out to be gifted. This gift is guaranteed to spark some laughter, and besides, who doesn’t love a candle? —Ana Cubas

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Questlove’s Music Is History


The Roots’ Questlove has written a handful of music books, each one better than the last. His most recent endeavor, Music Is History explores the past 50 years of American history through the lenses of popular music and the Black identity, analyzing things such as music’s blaxploitation era or disco craze. —Ana Cubas

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Save Our Stages Merch


The pandemic’s summer surge may be behind us, but independent music venues still need our support. What better way to give it to them than by giving the gift of Save Our Stages merch? The National Independent Venue Association has an array of SOS masks, T-shirts, enamel pins and more for sale—you’ll be supporting indie venues with your purchase, and your recipient will be raising awareness for the cause simply by sporting their new gear. —Scott Russell

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Ticket Stub Diary


The world is opening back up and tours are returning. If you want some concert-goer clout, nothing starts a conversation like saying that you have an entire book dedicated to preserving your tickets! This is perfect for your favorite memory-hoarder in your life, with the stacks of pictures and papers documenting life’s little pleasures. —Jade Gomez

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Vibes Ear Plugs


Wearing ear plugs at a concert may seem counterintuitive to some, but protecting your hearing is an essential part of being the best live music lover you can be. Vibes high-fidelity ear plugs are designed specifically for use at shows, offering comfort, clarity of sound and a low-key appearance in addition to their 22-dB sound reduction. They’ll make a fantastic stocking stuffer for your concert-going giftees. —Scott Russell

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Vinyl Me, Please Membership


Vinyl Me, Please is unlike some of the other subscription services that claim to be geared toward your specific tastes. Instead, they are the tastemakers, delivering classic titles across all genres. Best part: You can change your shipment every month, whether you want to switch from hip-hop to country, or to swap out an upcoming record for a past release. It’s perfect for the adventurous listener. —Jade Gomez

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Vox amPlug 2 Headphone Amplifier


If the musician in your life is getting noise complaints (including from you), Vox’s Vox amPlug 2 is worth considering, a battery-powered headphone amp you can hold in your hand. It plugs directly into an electric guitar or bass, is foldable for easy positioning, and connects to headphones so users can jam at all hours without waking the neighbors. In addition to the primary AC30 version, there are models with sounds specifically geared toward classic rock, blues and more. —Scott Russell

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