“One challenge is that these livestreams are announced not very far in advance,” said Hannah Karp, Billboard’s editorial director, “so if you want to do early Christmas shopping you might not know what concerts are going to be out there after you give your gifts.”
Audio-only sites like Spotify and Deezer, in spite of their popularity, aren’t well structured for gift giving. “One of the fastest-growing forms of music service are family plans, so you’re automatically covering your immediate family members with unlimited, all-you-can-consume music if they’re in your own household,” said Chris Bierly, a partner at Bain & Company, a management consulting firm. “You wouldn’t give a subscription to your kid, because they’re already covered on your family plan.”
Perhaps with this in mind, Spotify doesn’t offer gift subscriptions to its ad-free premium service, although individual subscriptions can be purchased through third-party gift cards. Apple gift cards can also be used to buy its music-streaming service. (These prices vary by country.) Qobuz, a French website, offers gift subscriptions ($30 in the U.S. and Britain; €40 elsewhere) for two months’ access to its high-resolution music streaming in a dozen countries.
For concertgoers who miss being surrounded by other music fans, there are gift options that help support venues while they’re closed. The 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., for example, sells items like branded tank tops ($15) and bandannas ($10). Melkweg, the Amsterdam concert hall, sells T-shirts (25 euros, or about $30) and tote bags (€10).
“Merch has been an absolute lifesaver for the whole music industry,” said Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of the British charity Music Venue Trust.
“Particularly with a view to Christmas,” Ms. Whitrick continued, “it’s a great time to think, ‘Well, I can’t go mosey around the shops and look for X, Y and Z, but I can buy something fantastic to wear from an artist or a venue.’”