A Perfectly Curated Playlist Is the Ultimate Personalised Gift

Millennials are accustomed to having their favourite things set to customised. From resetting tech devices to suit your tastes and home entertainment systems programmed to know your preferences, to having meals based on your diet delivered to your door and even getting dog food made for your pet – everything now comes with a personalised touch.

This all makes buying a personalised gift a doddle. The gift industry has been dogged in its drive to provide us with increasingly quirky and unusual ways to personalise presents: a quick scan through the bestsellers of companies like Not On The High Street and Getting Personal will give you a thousand ideas to choose from.

But here’s the rub. A personalised gift, by definition, should only be relevant to the person receiving and that person alone. If it’s easy for anyone to buy, doesn’t it become less personal? Like signing your names to a heartfelt sentiment on a greetings card penned by a complete stranger.

The hallmark for impressing someone may still be showering the object of your desire in expensive gifts, but when it comes to giving someone a token of your love and appreciation, the old adage stands: the most touching present isn’t based on how much it cost but the thought that went into it.

And nothing says “I know what you like” more than showing how au fait you are with a person’s music tastes.

Pre-millennials actually had it covered with the good old-fashioned mix tape. Classic love songs for the partner, unexpected bangers for mates. But with the decline of cassettes and CDs, added with the fact that everyone still wants physical gifts to hand, the tradition of the curated playlist has slowly been fading out.

To be honest, at a time when everyone has their own mood playlists – from gym vibes to dinner party pleasers – it almost seems out of place to throw your selection into the mix.

Only people still love having personalised playlists made for them. Millions of Spotify users tune into playlists like Discover Weekly and Daily Mix that generate tracks based on the listeners’ personal preferences, with others following suit – Apple Music has added its Friends Mix, while Google Play Music cherry-picks tunes for you through its New Release Radio.

In fact, people love personalised playlists so much they’re even prepared to pay for them! After filling in a questionnaire about your personal music tastes, you can get 10 songs picked out just for you for a hundred and fifty bucks. We kid you not.

But what makes you, the gift giver, a far better expert than a stranger or an algorithm is that you actually know the person receiving it, thereby curating a playlist that comes with the one thing no one else can offer – personal memories.

When making your selection, think beyond simply picking tracks you know they love, or ones you think they’ll be thrilled to discover. Instead, focus on ones that come with stories. Why not go the whole hog and make the whole list a personalised account of your journey together?

The actual playlist you’ll put on your preferred music sharing platform (or even compile a YouTube video, complete with personal messages), but to get round the issue of a physical object to gift, how about writing down your reasons for selecting these songs and getting it printed? If you aren’t a dab hand at design, you can find someone to make you a bespoke one at Dribble, or better still, get an album cover designed to slip over your playlist turned into a vinyl with Vinylify.

The golden rules of the personalised playlist...

Don’t be a Snob DJ. Put on songs they will like, not ones you think they ought to.

Remind them of happy times: the track that was playing the first time you met, the song you all went crazy to at that festival.

Show you paid attention: the song they were obsessed with as a teenager before you met, the track their dad loved belting out when at his merriest.

Base it on their other interests: the soundtrack from their favourite movie with a song that perfectly encapsulates a hobby.

Reveal insight. Show you’re aware they once longed to be a ballet dancer or an astronaut by putting on Tchaikovsky or Bowie.

Make it relevant to the occasion. If they’re off on a sabbatical, make a road trip playlist. If it’s for Mother’s Day, pick songs that celebrate motherhood.

Don’t make it too long. Or too short. Somewhere between 12 to 20 should be ample to keep it personal.

Take your time. The more you think about what song you’re picking and why it’s specifically relevant to that person, the better the playlist will be. Trust us, they’ll notice the effort.

Main image credit: Edward Berthelot via Getty Images

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