The thing is, the rules of this exchange are all up to the partners. The only real rule stipulated before entering is that you have to be ready to at least buy a new CD to gift, but this exchange is not limited to that.
Usually, after pairing up, you should contact your partner to set down the rules and exchange address information. You can make a list of your favourite artists, or list your favourite genres (or ones you absolutely don't like), or let each person completely surprise the other, or decide to exchange LPs, or decide whatever you agree!
I've been part of this Head-Fi tradition for many years, and I've always left it a surprise I believe. Sure, I like some music that I received better than others, but I have appreciated and listened to them all. It's the spirit of giving that counts and the enjoyment of (hopefully) receiving new music. And of course, you hope that the other person enjoys the music you sent them just as much as you.
Well said. This post made me change my tune...ignore my previous posts. I still want to participate, but rather than being selfish I'm keeping an open mind this time! I'll communicate my like's and dislike's to my partner, without making them feel like the process of exchanging a gift with me is just a huge burden rather than something fun. I don't want that. And also, I have no problem buying a new CD/vinyl for someone, and I'd also be willing to give someone a used LP (as long as it is in mint/NM condition) if the record is no longer being pressed (of course, this would only apply to certain records....last time I tried to buy Enya's "A Day Without Rain," the cheapest copy I could find was $110).
I will participate, and will do so in the way that was originally thought out. I'm ready to have some fun with this, and hopefully I'll be able to expand my musical horizons (and if that occurs, this sounds like it will be a great way to find a friend that will be able to offer further recommendations for music I'll enjoy, and I hope I will be able to do the same for them).