Choosing a Soundtrack for Your Next Party
You've got the food. You've got the decorations. You've got your unbreakable cups all lined up in a row. What's missing? If you didn't say "music" it's time for us to have a little talk. Your soundtrack can make or break your party - here's why, and how you can make the most out of your music.
Just a note - this list assumes you'll be assembling your soundtrack yourself from a phone or laptop. Keep your eyes out for an upcoming blog on hiring a DJ or live band.
It's All About the Vibe
There's nothing more potent than music when it comes to setting the mood. A good soundtrack will put your guests in the right headspace the second they walk into the room. Music can subtly get conversation flowing, or cover up any awkward spots if socialization stalls out. To hit the right pitch, take some time to determine the vibe you're going for. Quiet and sophisticated? Loud and raucous? Laid back? Groovy? Pick your mood and then move on to picking your songs.
Play with Genre
Creating a good atmosphere doesn't mean sticking in the same genre. Play around a little and mix things up. Mix upbeat pop hits with slower standards. Put in a couple of oldies. And don't forget the power of a sing-along. Classics like Sweet Caroline, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Livin' on a Prayer are guaranteed to bring life back to a party that's on the verge of slowing down.
Choose - Don't Shuffle
It can be tempting to press "shuffle" on your Spotify library. Don't give in! Your songs' order is almost as important as the songs themselves. Craft a playlist by thinking about whether your chosen songs are fast or slow, upbeat or somber, energetic or soothing. Create a flow by consciously arranging tracks that work well together.
Get the Timing Right
How long is your party going to last? Create a playlist that goes a little longer. Sure, you could throw together five or six hours of music, but that's a lot of work if your party's only for an hour or two. The other direction is just as bad - no one wants to hear the same song over and over if the playlist is too short.
Ask the Audience
Don't overlook the value of audience participation! Creating an auditory landscape can absolutely be a group project. If a certain track brings another song to a guest's mind, queue it up. A little of this goes a long way - make sure everyone is feeling heard, but there's no need to get trapped into playing DJ for the night.
Focus on Quality
Sound quality, that is. Even the best playlist will sound awful if played too quietly or through poor speakers. If you have any sort of home theater system, use it. Set a mid-level volume to make sure everyone can hear but no one has to shout. Make adjustments as necessary, then sit back and enjoy.