It's holiday season, which means gifts, gifts, and more gifts! We get it, you're an independent musician, not a lawyer – money isn't a-flowing (yet). However, we really can't stress the importance of getting some type of gift for your industry contacts. Keeping a strong and happy network is going to help you down the road, and more importantly, it will be appreciated. You can set yourself apart with a small, cheap, and friendly holiday gesture.
Since holiday season is almost over, you might not have a ton of time left to get the perfect gift. Fear not – we have five last-minute gift ideas for you to send to your industry acquaintances!
1. A handwritten card
Handwritten cards are always a good way to keep up with your contacts and let them know you're thinking of them. Anyone can find a cute card, write a sentence or two, then sign – but it takes a personal friend to fill up a card with handwritten thoughts. Don't go overboard and write a novel (unless that makes sense for your relationship), but take a moment and let your contact know that you're thinking of him or her during this holiday season, and that you're looking forward to working together in the new year. This could be a chance to reminisce about old memories and throw out fun ideas for the future. Keep it light and friendly – and try not to write in chicken scratch!
2. Coffee (the good stuff)
What do you love more than anything in the world? Coffee! We thought so. Well, maybe it's not your favorite, but many, many industry people drink copious amounts of coffee to get through their hectic, busy days. Find your best local coffee shop and get them something nice. It doesn't have to be top-notch, but don't get them the bottom of the barrel, either; they probably already have it at the office. If you know they don't like coffee, go for some fancy tea. It's a simple but appreciated gesture, and they're sure to think of you fondly as they pour a cup in the morning!
3. Wine (more of the good stuff)
Trust coffee to get you through your ridiculously busy day, and trust wine to help you cope with how busy the next day is going to be. Buying your industry contacts a fancy bottle of wine can be expensive, so set a price cap. As long as it's not low enough that you're giving them $5 wine you bought from 7-Eleven, finding a happy medium wine bottle will be an appreciated gesture.
4. A music-related book
There are tons of great music-related books that your industry friends would likely enjoy. The only trick is to get something for them that you're confident will in no way be a jab at their knowledge. Don't give a music publicist a book called Music Publicity for Idiots. That wouldn't be very nice. But if you stumble upon something you think they will find interesting, it can be a nice, informative gesture. "I found this book on the origins of the guitar to be fascinating, friend who works in marketing but also plays guitar on the weekends."
5. A nostalgic vinyl record
Vinyl is making a comeback, if you haven't heard, but it's also been around for a long, long time. Go to your nearest record store and dig up some nostalgic records that your contacts will like. Chances are you can find some gems in a dollar bin! If you know your contact likes old soul music, getting him or her an old BB King B-side record could be a great (and cheap) gift.
Need even more great gift ideas? Check out the ultimate music lover's gift guide!
Sam Friedman is an electronic music producer and singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, NY. His music blends experimental ambience with indie-driven dance music. In addition to pursuing his own music, he is a New Music Editor for Unrecorded and is passionate about music journalism. Check out his music and follow him on Twitter @nerveleak.