A subscription to Spotify may not be the most fun thing to unwrap, but it-and many other premium web services -- make great gifts that anyone could appreciate. Here are some of our favourite subscription-based gifts for this holiday season.
For the person in your life with whom you want to Netflix and Chill, there's a subscription to everyone's favourite streaming service. You can get them a streaming subscription (between $US7.99 ($11) a month and $US11.99 ($16) a month), you can get them a DVD subscription ($US7.99 and up), or if you're really generous, you can get both. Or, better yet, grab one of these handy Netflix gift cards and let them apply it to their existing account. The physical cards come in denominations of $30 and $50, or you can send them a gift card over email for any amount you want.
Spotify is one of those services that a lot of people would probably use, but aren't necessarily motivated to pay for the higher-quality, ad-free experience. That makes Spotify Premium ($11.99 per month) a perfect gift. If you're giving it to a family member, you can actually get a discounted price, so you'll want to sign them up yourself. For everyone else, there's the Spotify gift card, which you can grab at Woolworths, 7 Eleven or on Spotify online.
Not everyone is compelled to choose from a huge library of music -- some prefer the effortless, customised radio experience of something like Pandora. For those people, give the gift of no more ads with a Pandora One subscription ($US4.99 [$6] per month). You can create a digital or physical gift card right on Pandora's web site.
Let's be honest: the gift of online backup may seem pretty snooze-worthy. But we all know that one person who really needs it, and refuses to pay for it (or set it up). Give them access to Crashplan+, our favourite backup system ($69.30 per year). They will thank you when their hard drive crashes and they lose everything. You can purchase gift subscriptions right from Crashplan's online store.
Just when you thought the gifts couldn't sound less sexy, we've got a password manager for you. Hear us out, though: you know that one person that can never remember any of their passwords? They try ten times to log into their bank before caving and resetting their password for the eleventh time? That person needs LastPass, and a premium account ($US12 [$16] per year) ensures that they will get priority support and access on their mobile devices. You can buy gift subscriptions right from LastPass' web site.
Playstation Plus/Xbox Live
If you know a gamer that's addicted to their PlayStation or Xbox, a subscription to their online features is a slam dunk. PlayStation Plus ($69.95 per year) gets them access to online multiplayer, free games every month, online game saving, discounts, and video streaming options. Xbox Live Gold ($79.95 per year) does pretty much the exact same. You can get 1-month, 3-month or 12-month gift cards for both PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold at various retailers including Dick Smith and EB Games, as well as online.
We all have that one globetrotting friend that spends more time abroad than they do at home, and for them, there's TripIt Pro ($US49 [$67] per year). If TripIt wasn't an awesome enough service for tracking all your flights, TripIt Pro will also track your frequent flyer miles, automatically share itineraries with friends and family, and even alert you when a better seat is available on your flight. You can purchase a gift subscription on TripIt's web site.
A VPN Subscription
A VPN may be the geekiest sounding gift you can give (aside from maybe the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set), but it's one of those tools that everyone can -- and should -- use, whether they're streaming blocked content overseas or just trying to stay safe on public Wi-Fi. There are a ton of different providers out there, most ranging from about $10-20 a month, but our personal favourite is Private Internet Access ($US39.95 [$55] per year).