Now that we’ve made it through the onslaught of consumer holidays like Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and Bandcamp Friday, we’re now a full week into December. With less than three weeks left before Christmas, just a few days between now the first night of Hanukkah, and the holiday season now in full swing, the pressure to finish your gift list is surely is mounting. Short on time and possibly low on money, it’s probably becoming difficult to find gifts that are unique, personal, and that benefit local artists who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

If you’re looking to escape the fate of settling for a fast food gift card or an Amazon impulse buy for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list, you might be interested in Virtual Serenades. The service features a range of Milwaukee musicians, who make individualized videos for buyers that commission them to perform a song.

Virtual Serenades was launched in April of this year by composer and BookLive founder Jared Judge, along with a handful of Milwaukee musicians.

“We decided to start Virtual Serenades because, as musicians ourselves, we were hit hard by the pandemic. Most of our income was based on live shows, which was taken away,” says Blind Fiction singer and Virtual Serenades artist Tim Wright. “But as creatives, we knew we could help ourselves and other musicians earn some income, while also providing a unique way to help people feel connected in a time where that’s not currently possible.”

For a fee as low as $25 (and up to $75) in price, buyers can commission a custom music video from and impressive and eclectic arsenal of Milwaukee musicians like Wright, Ethan Keller, Cullah, B~Free, Timeless Soul, and Anthony Deutsch.

“Most of our artists perform from their own repertoire, but we’ve had artists compose special songs for special occasions, like a special birthday song,” Wright says.

Once an artist is selected and a short form is filled out to explain what type of video you’d like them to create, the chosen musician will send a completed video back within 48 hours. With the holiday season in full swing, BookLive is currently looking for more artists to join the Virtual Serenades roster. Interested musicians can contact Wright at tim@booklive.com to apply.

Finish your holiday shopping with a personal, local, and musical gift idea that’s made right here in Milwaukee. Check out Virtual Serenades today.

About The Author

Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.