So, you’re throwing a big party this weekend and don’t have the playlist to get the place rocking Whether you’re hosting an upscale cocktail affair, a kegger or chill holiday party, you’ll need to create the perfect playlist that feels right and achieves the atmosphere you’re looking to set.
Before crafting the ultimate playlist, you need to be aware who your audience is for seamless changes, appropriateness, and relevancy to avoid a scenario where you think the song list is great but the audience doesn’t appreciate.
I recently attended a party of a friend and met a DJ I’ve interacted with in the music industry, we talked about lots of things and discussed how music flows from song to song and what makes it not to flow taking note of several concerts in the recent past. I picked up some essential tips that I’m going to share with you today so that you can have a controlled playlist without DJ skills.
The greatest challenge I’ve seen when it comes to creating a playlist is forcing your musical tastes down people’s throats. Remember, even if it’s your party, there are lots of music that your guests love and enjoy. But don’t worry, you’ll be spinning decks in no time after reading this guide on How to Make a Killer Party Playlist. Here is a guideline that you’ll apply to make the ultimate list for a party playlist.
The Ultimate Playlist Basics
Before we get to the specific tips, here are the basics that you should consider to make a high starting point.
1. Know The Duration Of The Party
Depending on what kind of a party you’re planning, you can have a short or long list. However, I strongly recommend having a playlist that can go up for three hours without repeating the songs. When scheduling for a 24-hour event, a list of 50-60 songs would take you through the party seamlessly.
2. Don’t Shuffle Your Music Library
Save yourself from an awkward playlist that sounds disorganized or one that doesn’t flow. A DJ’s playlist for any kind of a party is usually very organized with tracks that flow from end to end. This explains why people love a mixtape from a DJ.
Create a theme and a purpose to make the playlist memorable. You can choose to stick to a single genre or have multiple themes. Ensure that your playlist is not too short, especially when you want to convey a particular purpose.
PS you might want to invest in some of the best home studio mixers that I reviewed.
3. Quality Sound Sound Is Key
Having surround sound with crisp, mid-range performance and thumbing base is key to a successful playlist and event. You don’t want to pump up the volume and make it hard for people to enjoy conversing when partying and neither do you want to play too low that people will keep requesting to pump up the volume. Ensure you customize the volume settings based on the music genre you have on your playlist.
Inexpensive home theatre systems are not suitable for playing music in an event where you have more than 20 people. A full range party speaker system is what you need to enhance the audio experience of the music you’ve curated for your playlist.
4. What Kind Of A Party Are You Making The Playlist For?
Is it a summer party, barbeque party, staff party, birthday party, or a wedding? This matters because of the kind of playlist you come up with sets the mood of the party. Besides, certain types of music shouldn’t be played on certain occasions.
Who’s The Audience?
Know the kind of audience that will attend a party is crucial as some songs are universal and may be excellent for any everyone. However, if you’re dealing with children, older people, or people you’re not familiar with, you need to mix your playlist up a bit. Keep both the younger and the older generations happy by playing the right music.
Special events like weddings and staff parties are particularly sensitive. Heavy metal and punk rock, for instance, isn’t something you’d want to play at a wedding evening party. Motown songs are danceable in a romantic evening like, “Ain’t too Proud to Beg” by Temptation.
5. Be Open To Requests But Not Too Many
Never turn your guests’ requests away. However, too many them can cause a disjointed playlist which might alienate your audience. Additionally, avoid crossing over to different genres and being all over the place. For instance, playing a track from Beyonce and then crossing over Macklemore can’t work.
To avoid a lot of interruptions from your playlist, ask beforehand if anyone has a special request or want to hear something specific. Even if you don’t like the song- bite the bullet. This will ensure that you merge the requests with what you have on your playlist to avoid a schizophrenic playlist.
Now, let’s get to the guideline that will have everyone up dancing to get your party going.
6.Think Like a DJ
To keep your playlist consistent and appealing to a broader age group, you need to factor in different musical tastes, what kind of mood and tempo you’ll create for smooth transitions. For instance, bring out favorite covers both old and new like Michael Jackson tracks and a few tracks by Drake such as “One Dance.”
However, be careful when adding new songs into your playlist as people are not interested in listening to music you just discovered yesterday. They want to hear something familiar and that which they’ve heard before. You might think a particular song impressive, but it’s all about the audience.
Also, think of what songs may not hit or go well with your audience. Flat tracks can get people clamoring for the “next track” button.
7. Work Your Way Up
Determine what songs you want to play first. You can start with gentle tunes as you build up to the big numbers to keep the excitement levels going in the right direction – a Blink 182 or Sum 41 track will make people listen to the next tracks.
You don’t want to start with the big tunes then quickly run out of ideas and cram it with disjointed sub-par fillers. Also, you don’t want to overwhelm your guests from the start of a party.
At the end of the night, you want to close the party with drunken sing-alongs like “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Play a few slow songs at the very end when people have started leaving the party but be careful not to play such songs early as they can crash your playlist.
As a rule of thumb, playlist curation ensures that you have an idea of how to want to play your music from start to finish. This requires going through a song list to judge whether each song is worthy of keeping the party atmosphere going.
Don’t be hesitant to make some changes in your song list with random or forgotten hits as they make the playlist even more exciting. If they were real hits, they’d get people on the dance floor. But don’t step out too much as this might leave your audience confused with your song choice.
It takes a lot of work and effort to skim through a song list and listen to those tunes that flow well and those that don’t, but in the end, you’ll come up with an ultimate killer party playlist for your event.
8. Get People Dancing On The Floor
Once you’re done determining which songs will play first on your list, the next task is to get people dancing. My DJ friend admits that it’s not easy to get people on the floor, but it’s possible. Songs that everyone knows are the easiest to get people on the floor and dance. To set the tone, you need to include danceable tunes back to back from the begging of the party.
Additionally, you can shake up the playlist a bit and mix things up stylistically. Don’t include too many songs from the same artist as creating a playlist is all about balance. Be creative and think outside the box, like arranging songs to educate and communicate with your audience. For instance, you can chronicle the history of a particular genre like jazz or hip-hop (here are the best rapping microphones if you love hip hop).
Here are some tips for your guests on the dance floor 😉
To Wrap It Up
Before I conclude, I know creating a killer party playlist sounds daunting. However, it’s possible to come up with an ultimate list that will be party-friendly and keep the guests happy. Based on a DJ’s personal experiences, crafting a playlist takes time, effort and a lot of editing, but when done right, you will play songs and atmosphere that everyone will remember.
Also, keep in mind that even if you’re the one hosting a party, include the music that you like and what other people will love and enjoy to listen. Obviously, for a car trip, or camp you don’t need to skim through the tunes. This guideline will give you an excellent starting point to help you make a killer party playlist for your next big event.