Picture of two screens showing spotify playlists
Spotify playlist of love songs. Photo by Heidi Finn on Unsplash

From listening to music while on your way to work or school to ending the day listening to your comfort album while cooking dinner; songs are a part of our everyday routine. Sharing and gifting music to our loved ones, is a practice that’s been passed down generations like family hand-me-downs. Earlier it was in the form of vinyl, cassettes, mixtapes and now, love is hidden in Spotify and Apple music playlists.

Lilith Hudson, 23, junior writer for Living Etc said, “I have a shared playlist with my boyfriend with our initials as the name. We add songs that remind us of each other, I think that’s the modern way of burning a CD and giving it to someone.”

With living costs rising everyday, a playlist is a well thought out gift which is bound to make the receiver feel loved. 

“I think people might complain that it’s not a valuable gift because someone hasn’t spent loads of money on it. But if you think about how much thought and time actually goes into curating songs, how you’ve actually got to sit down and think about what that person means to you, and the songs that represent that, it makes it really special,” says Lilith.

A playlist is like a love letter. So how do you make a perfect playlist that is perfect as a gift for your loved ones? 

First things first, think about your relationship with the person you’re giving the playlist to. Are they your sibling, friend or lover? This helps decide the songs that would finally go on your playlist. You can’t really give ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ by Elvis to your sibling, can you? 

Once you’ve decided who the playlist is for, you can dive deep into the creative and the fun part of the process. Emotionally speaking, a playlist can be structured to portray a significant moment in your relationship, like your favourite memory spent or the entire story of your relationship. However, technically speaking, a playlist should be structured like a movie – with an introductory start, a strong middle and a satisfying ending.

“It’s like making an album so it has to flow up. You need to have up-tempo moments and down-tempo moments.​ You don’t want songs that are in the same key twice in a row. You want different keys so it doesn’t start sounding like they’re all the same track,” says Euan Blackman, 21, singer of the viral song ‘LED Lights’. 

Your choice and order of songs helps enhance the key changes throughout the playlist. While you want your playlist to be a message, it needs to be equally enjoyable to listen to. 

“A good sign of a playlist is a mix of music from 50 years ago and music from, maybe, last week,” adds Euan. 

For example, if you’re gifting your partner a playlist, don’t shy away from using both ‘As Time Goes By’ by Dooley Wilson as well as ‘Paper Rings’ by Taylor Swift. 

If you want to add an extra edge to this gift, you can accompany it with an annotated poetry book, their favourite sweets, a small piece of jewellery or anything of their preferred interest. Everyone looks to the 90s as a simpler time, a simpler way to love, and you can materialise that nostalgia with this thoughtful gift.