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Holiday Issue

Get it right this year when shopping for music aficionados

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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. 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?
Some great CD box sets came out this year — complete studio album sets by Roxy Music, Joni Mitchell, Weather Report, Etta James, an incredible archival The Lost Tapes set by Germany's 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 a must). For Elvis fans: Prince from Another Planet (3-disc set including audio and video of the King's historic 1972 Madison Square Garden shows). For Beatles fans: get them the Produced by George Martin DVD, a complete portrait of the man behind the greatest band of all time (includes interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr). For jazz fans: Pat Metheny's The Orchestrion Project, where the guitar master played accompanied by a mechanically controlled mini-orchestra capable of responding to his touch on the guitar.

Holiday Guide 2012
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