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How to Make and Share Music Playlists as Gifts

Hopefully Your Playlist Won't End Up Like This!

Hopefully Your Playlist Won't End Up Like This!

A Thoughtful and Thrifty Gift

Playlists have been around before they were called playlists. Back in the 1970s, they had 8 track tapes full of their favorite jams. When cassettes took over in the late 1970s, people made mixes of their favorite tunes and gave it to their friends and love interests. By the 1980s, CDs became the new way for people to make mixes. And by the 1990s it had its own stake in the black market. With the dawn of the internet and new technology, MP3s took over as the way playlists were made and shared.

Some of the best memories I have of my life come from playlists that I or others have made. Songs have this way of capturing memories that sometimes even pictures do not have.

Since the mid 2000s, in one way or another I have helped to make playlists for friends and family using iTunes. It is not only a thoughtful gift, but a cost effective one. Even middle and high school students can do this for their friends and family. All it takes is a little creativity and some patience.

Thinking of a Theme

Unlike buying a CD Box Set or Compilation Disc, there is no predetermined track listings for playlists. It's all up to you.

That being said, if you want to make and give a quality playlist you need to have some ideas in mind. If it's for a holiday like Christmas or Valentine's Day you can think of songs you know that person likes that remind them of that time of year or you can go outside of the box. The main idea is to think of what that person likes and tailor it to their specific tastes.

If you are making a playlist for an anniversary or birthday you have leeway to think of songs that remind you of that person or they like. But if you are still scratching your head for ideas here are some themes I think will work.

  • Songs From Their Year of Birth- This can be a lot of fun if they were born in a memorable year like 1969 or 1984. However, if you know they do not like songs from the year they were born or are very particular about musical tastes I would try for something else.
  • Sweet 16 Tunes- Even if they did not have a sweet 16 party, 16 is a memorable age for many people. If you know they had certain songs they loved to listen to- those would be great to feature.
  • Driving Songs- There are some songs that everyone loves to sing along to on the open road. You can even include songs like "Drive My Car" or "Start Me Up" that relate to driving. But be careful if you know they have a propensity to speed to certain kinds of music like metal and hip-hop.
  • Party Starter Mix- If you know this person loves to dance and have a good time- this is an ideal playlist for them.
  • Heartbreak Songs- This is great if the person has just gone through a breakup or tragedy of some sort.
  • Rainy Day Mix- There are a lot of songs that have something to do with water and/or rain. And if they live in a climate that gets a lot of rain say London or Seattle, this would be a great playlist for them.
  • Ultimate Crush Playlist- Infatuation is a common theme of songs. You can specify it by saying Ultimate Crush Playlist of the 1980s or something like that.
  • Prom Classics- If that person had or is anticipating a memorable prom you can put together a mix that might have them remember that night forever.
  • Spread Your Wings Mix-This would make a great graduation present for someone moving into the next phase of life.

The ideas are endless, it's just about keeping an open mind and knowing what that person likes.

Tips and Instructions

Things to Keep in Mind

When you sit down to make the playlist, you want to avoid all problems and complications that you can possibly anticipate. So before you sit at the computer, make sure you have your ducks in a row.

  1. Does the person have an MP3 player? Not everyone has an iPod or MP3 player yet. Some people still have CD players (hopefully not tape) and will need an actual disc.
  2. If the person does still have a CD, make sure you buy the right kind of CD to burn your playlist: What that means is make sure you purchase CD-RW or CD-R discs to ensure your playlists writes itself to the disc. And check the length of the discs so you have an idea of how many songs you can fit on your playlist.
  3. Are your MP3 programs compatible? For instance, if you have Rhapsody and your brother has iTunes it will not work but do not fret. You can always burn a CD and give it to him.
  4. Do you have the latest version of the MP3 program? As an iTunes user, I'm used to getting a request to update to the latest version of the program. In order to ensure everything goes well, I would advise you update the software before you get started.

Instructions for Making an iTunes Playlist

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Go To File and Select New Playlist.
  3. Untitled Playlist will appear on the left side of the screen. Right click to give it a name.
  4. Using your Library you can either right click songs and select add to playlist to put it your new playlist or you can drag the song to the new playlist on the left.
  5. When you have all of your songs, right click and select publish playlist and you can choose from either sharing the playlist with everyone or iTunes or sending it to a specific person. If they don't have those songs on their personal iTunes or the songs are album only- then you have a problem. But you can always select burn playlist to disc for them to transfer.

Instructions for Creating a Windows Media Player Playlist

  1. Open Windows Media Player.
  2. Open Library.
  3. In the left side of the window, select create playlist under the playlists toolbar.
  4. Name your playlist and describe it in a couple of words.
  5. Find the song you want in the library to add to your playlist.
  6. Drag and drop it to the list pane in the window.
  7. Save the Playlist.
  8. Clear the Playlist.
  9. Make sure you have a digital media receiver or computer with the same version of Windows.
  10. Click Allow for the playlist to be shared.


Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on November 07, 2012:

Hi loveofnight,

I'm glad you found this hub useful and helpful! Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!

Scroll to Continue

Loveofnight Anderson from Baltimore, Maryland on November 07, 2012:

This is really a great idea, and you have givin me things to consider before and during the prep. I like the way that you put this hub together. Thanks much

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 29, 2012:

I'm glad you found this hub useful, MartieCoester! Thanks for coming by :).

Martie Coetser from South Africa on October 29, 2012:

Just what I needed! Thank you, Alecia. How to make and share music playlist will be my guide... :)

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 23, 2012:

Playlists are a great way to remember events. Thanks so much for coming by and comenting Sunshine!

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 23, 2012:

It is such a good idea Learn Things Web. And most of the time you don't have the problem of someone getting the same gift. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on October 23, 2012:

My daughters made playlist CDs for their wedding receptions. I also received some as gifts and I still enjoying listening to them. It's a very thoughtful idea. Excellent hub Alecia!

LT Wright from California on October 23, 2012:

We went to a birthday party a couple of years ago and they put CDs into all the goody bags with the birthday girl's favorite songs. I thought it was such a good idea.

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 18, 2012:

Thanks so much PDXKaraokeGuy!

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on October 17, 2012:

Very nice, Alecia. I love making mix tapes. One of my fave hobbies. I like your ideas for choosing which tracks should go where! Very helpful!

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 15, 2012:

Hi Cogerson,

I remember when my cousin used to record songs off the radio onto a tape and this was only back in 2000. Since then, most people I know at least have a CD player to use. But I hope you enjoy making playlists for family and friends. Thanks as always!

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 15, 2012:

Thanks ivanmarginal! It's a fun and creative thing to try.

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 15, 2012:

Hi Jeannie,

I think this is the best way to have a cheap, yet thoughtful gift. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 15, 2012:

Thanks midget38!

UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on October 14, 2012:

Lots of great tips in this hub...I especially like using songs from the year they were born. There are so many ways to listen to music these days...although I need to get updated with the new tech ways of sharing music....I guess using a record and a cassette are no longer the popular ways to do Bookmarking and sharing this hub....voted up and useful.....thanks for sharing.

ivanmarginal from Jakarta on October 14, 2012:

Ah, it's a good idea. I haven't thought of it before I reading this. Thank you!

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on October 14, 2012:

I did not even realize you could share a Windows Media Player playlist. Thanks for sharing this info! Also, this is a clever way to show someone you care. What a great idea!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on October 14, 2012:

Ah, I used to manage concerts and the fact that the tracks given to me to burn into a list were in the wrong format were a problem I had to so manage under time constraints!! I love your suggestions as gifts. We are fast approaching the end of the year, so this is awesome. Sharing!

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 13, 2012:

Thanks unknown spy!

DragonBallSuper on October 13, 2012:

Awesome Alecia! Used to give CDs with songs as a gift.. :)

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 12, 2012:

Thank you so much as always teaches12345!

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 12, 2012:

Hi Alocsin,

It's pretty much like how the DVD is to the Videocassette. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

Dianna Mendez on October 11, 2012:

My daughter-in-law does this for me and I appreciate her thoughtful gifts. Your post is well written and helpful. Just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. Voted up.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on October 11, 2012:

What an interesting gift suggestion. I guess it's similar to the mix tape that was a common gift during the cassette era. Voting this Up and Useful.

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 11, 2012:

Thanks Redberry Sky! I agree it's a lot easier than trying to make mixtapes back in the day. Good luck!

Redberry Sky on October 11, 2012:

Cool ideas for playlists, Alecia, I might get to work making some of those for friends for Christmas! So much easier now than the fiddly 'mix tapes' me and my friends used to make for each other when we were teenagers. Love the Hub - voted up, useful and awesome :)

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 10, 2012:

I didn't know that about copyright laws rcrumple, but you're right most people make their own rules. I think having CDs is still reasonable because you never know when your computer/MP3 player will go belly up without warning.

I primarily use iTunes and I know people without iPods sometimes use Windows Media Player but it's good to know there are other sites as well. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!

Rich from Kentucky on October 10, 2012:

Alecia - Be wary of copyright laws. They state only one copy of a song can be made if transferring from album or tape to disc. Digital material cannot be copied, and laws will be enforced.

That being said, I don't know of one person who doesn't do it. I do it for personal use only as I am a cd person, and perhaps, will be one as long as I can by recordable discs (even though the price has gone up outrageously over the last few years). I personally hate the new Windows Media Player. Versions 8 & 9 were so much more user friendly than any since. I've switched to a program called Media Monkey which loads much faster and gives many more options. Great Hub!

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 10, 2012:

Thank you Mike!

Mike Robbers from London on October 10, 2012:

I use itunes and as I checked it offers similar ways to make & share music playlists :)

quite useful hub , many thanks!

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 10, 2012:

Thanks so much Jools!

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 10, 2012:

Thank you tipsheets!

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on October 10, 2012:

Alecia, interesting hub and a great idea :o) I like the Year of Birth idea especially especially now that most songs can be found online.

tipsheets from Philippines on October 09, 2012:

Great idea, Alecia.

Alecia Murphy (author) from Wilmington, North Carolina on October 09, 2012:

Thanks Janine!

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on October 09, 2012:

You truly brought back some great memories of playlists I had back in the day. That said very comprehensive article on how to create a playlist in this day in age with ITunes and MP3 players too. Have of course voted and shared all over!!

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