Creating a playlist for your event or company is not something you do lightly. It takes a lot of time and consideration, but also a trained ear and musicality is important to be able to quickly determine whether or not a song will appeal to the desired target group. A lot of companies and event planners choose to outsource this: they give a briefing about the guests and the objectives and I put together a playlist that perfectly fits.

If you want to do it yourself, it is important to know exactly what the playlist will be used for. The playlist you hear at the reception of a company will require different music than the playlist you hear on a family day or during a networking event.

Here are 4 tips to get you started.

1. Mainstream music.

There is a quote that says: “commercial music, for the most part, is popular music and you always have to keep that in mind”. We totally agree with that. Throughout all our playlists, but also in my live DJ gigs, I always choose accessible and (mainly) commercial music depending on the sort of event and audience. By this we don’t mean that you have to limit yourself to only the flat American bake music, of course. We wouldn’t recommend adding experimental hardstyle to a playlist for your company.

2. Change popular with new music.

Sometimes it’s nice to trigger people with something new. In that case, don’t go for very experimental, but when creating a playlist choose music that is closely related to songs that are well known and that fit the overall playlist vibe. A new song is added to Spotify almost every second, yet only a handful of new songs make it to our radio stations every week. So there’s a lot more wonderful stuff to discover than what you might just expect. 

I applied this tip myself when I had to make a setlist for an international audience of 1000 guests from all over the world. I scoured all the local hit lists and selected songs that could easily be interspersed with the music I know from the radio here. In this way I presented the guests with a lot of unknown work that nevertheless sounded very familiar.

3. There is no I in “group”

They say you can’t think too much about yourself if you want to do something in a team. The same goes for putting together a playlist. Don’t (only) choose music that fits within your personal preference and don’t avoid the artists you don’t feel much for yourself. You have to appeal to a whole group and there will always be a fan or a hater among them. But … Bad songs remain bad songs and you can ban them from the playlist.

Perhaps your company has a certain vision or identity that is carried through in every communication? If so, it’s best to include it in the playlist as well. Playlists are just one part of my service with my custom DJ mixes I can do much more for your brand identity through music.

4. One playlist = one goal = one style.

When you compile a playlist, you do it for one specific purpose. And to reach that goal it’s important to choose one style. Unlike a DJ set, with a playlist you don’t know how the songs will follow each other since such a list is often played in “shuffle” mode. You’ll just have to go from Guns N Roses to Justin Bieber and then to 2 Unlimited from the 90’s. Choose a clear style (within which you vary sufficiently), avoid too much alternation between uptempo, ballad and harmonies and above all keep in mind for which occasion you are making the playlist. Each type of event needs a specific type of playlist.

As a final example, I was creating a playlist to be played in the reception area of, say, a trade show or conference. Since the purpose of this list is to get people excited about what is planned for that day, I chose a more up-tempo and energetic style. In addition, it was important to keep the vocal lines in the music to a minimum because of the possibility of foreign-language guests. This could actually reduce intelligibility at the check-in. I also did not want music with too large differences in volume or pronounced stanzas and choruses. The music should be a warm constant.