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Gifting Music 101 

A step-by-step approach for giving music technology

No one wants to look like every other first-world teenager on the planet by sporting the exact same ear cans (apologies, Dr. Dre), nor does anyone want some toy that is more gimmick than practical (see: patio rock speaker). Read on for a few suggestions for giving tech gifts that will actually enhance your man's music listening.

Problem: Matching tastes. Music—like clothes— is a gift that's easy to miss the mark on unless specifically asked for by the recipient. Also like clothes, tastes in music evolve with seasonality and trends.

Solution: e-gifting. Streaming sites like Spotify have made it immensely easy to give someone the surprise of a premium account. For under $120, someone can have a year's worth of ad-free, unlimited web and mobile streaming. Amazon also has an electronic gifting option for mp3 purchases. Either one will turn any music lover into a kid in a candy store.

Problem: Making it useful. No gift is worse than one that can only be used at very specific times, especially special occasions that rarely happen. A combi-hot dog-and-bun-toaster? Um, no thanks.

Solution: Inventive headphones. Decibullz in Boulder, Colo., has produced a stylish way to listen to music on the go with bright noticeable colors, and set themselves apart by offering fully customizable ear buds that conform to the contour of the wearer's ears, making them a go-anywhere, do-anything personal audio device.

With little more than a week left in crowd-source funding on Kickstarter, Decibullz has already raised more than enough capital to move forward, making this gift a lock for delivery in the first quarter of 2014.

Problem: Making it memorable. It's a bummer when neither party can remember what gift was given during Christmases past.

Solution: Overhaul how someone listens to music. Also available on Kickstarter is perhaps one of the most innovative home audio devices to ever be offered. It has so much pre-launch popularity that most every tech site has already featured it. The ROCKI Wifi Music System is a small handheld device that transforms already existing speakers, receivers, etc. into a networked community of sound outlets controllable by a smartphone/tablet app. That means that the music in each room in the house equipped with the device is customizable, depending on who is using the space, with albums residing on a single, wi-fi-enabled hard drive. And, only $49! So much cheaper than re-wiring an entire house to accomplish the same feat.

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