What is the best way to build your Silent Disco Playlist?
If you, like most people who rent our headphones, are using phones or tablets to DJ with and are running three simultaneous playlists from Spotify, iTunes or similar services, this article will help you to choose which songs to put on your playlists.
If you are a live DJ or manipulating your playlist during the party, these same principles apply.
What is the single most important thing to consider when choosing awesome music for your party playlist?
Play something they know.
Play something that your guests know on all three channels. We recommend assigning each channel a general genre as a guideline. This makes it easier for the guests to stay in the mood.
It helps them to keep the channels straight in their heads and it helps the playlist creator/DJ’s to keep from repeating songs from channel to channel.
We generally choose top 40 for one of the channels, Retro for another and dance-able rock music for the third. (This is just an example. In a more urban setting, you might need old school rap, R&B or a Latin channel.)
Let me give some perspective from a traditional DJ dominating the room with loud speakers turned up to eleven.
When a DJ is using a traditional sound system, they have the benefit of being the only music in the room. The listeners don’t have the option of switching to a different channel. This gives the DJ more leeway in song selection.
If listeners don’t care for the song, they may leave the dance floor, but they are not going to turn it off by switching the channel on their headphones.
This is THE game changer that is driving the rapid rise of Silent Disco as a party medium. Suddenly it is up to the listener instead of the DJ to decide what song they are going to listen to. When you look at it that way, it is no surprise that Silent Disco is so popular!
It is the same model we’ve seen on TV and radio. Thanks to the Internet and streaming services we all expect to be able to choose our own media. Why should it be different at a party?
But even a DJ with a traditional sound system needs to play something the crowd knows if she wants to be asked back again. It is a rare club where the DJ can get away with playing unknown music and be able to keep people on the dance floor while doing it.
But with three channel Silent Disco parties, it is important time three to play something the crowd knows, because anything else is simply ignored by judicious use of the channel sector switch.
You’ve got to understand that the mind of the partying listener is always wondering what is on the other channels. They are always worried that they might be missing an awesome song that is playing right now!
So they switch channels every 30 seconds. And when they do, you have only moments to capture them. If they land on your channel during that boring instrumental part, they are gone to the next channel. Hint: If you are DJ’ing live for Silent Disco, queue up past the boring instrumental part!
If they land on your channel while it is playing a song that they don’t know, they are switching channels. You’ve lost them to your channel (for at least thirty seconds).
Play something they know!
There are several ways to “Know” a song. You could know the melody and the beat. It is even better to know the words to a song. The ultimate best way to know a song is to know the moves too!
A perfect example of a song with awesome moves that everybody knows, is the song, “Shout.” Yes, it has fantastic opportunities to sing the words back to the performer (or DJ), but it is those classic dance moves drive that song over the top!
Anyone who sees those dance moves, even if their headphones are set to a different song, knows what song those people are dancing to.
If that song is not on your list – you are missing a huge opportunity.
Now “Shout” is a superstar on the list, but there are a gazillion others that are far more subtle. Examples are any songs that ask you to do anything with various body parts. If it is not in the lyrics, it might be from a music video or movie soundtrack.
Gangnam Style is an example of how a music video can create moves for a song. We don’t even know what many of the words are, but it was the moves in the music video that made the song memorable. It was those same moves imitated by dancers that made the song so much fun on a dance floor.
Everybody knows how much fun it is to sing along to a pumpin’ song and it is even more fun to be singing and doing the moves in perfect time with your friends. Nothing could be better!
So choose songs that have memorable lyrics and moves.
Play songs that they ALL know!
The bests songs are songs that everybody at the party knows. If you play a song that only half of your guests know, and follow it with a song that all of your guests know. The latter will be more fun even if it is not near as good of a song.
Let me say that another way. The quality of the song matters less than the number of people who know it.
Play the best song ever written -but known by few, and your dance floor will be empty. Play a sub-par song – but one that everybody knows, and your dance floor will be packed!
One last word: It is tempting to allow a friend with a phone to run their playlist for awhile. We caution you to first take a look at what they are about to play. If she has a list of awesome songs -that not a majority of your guests know by heart, don’t let them use it.
Your party is NOT the place to promote obscure music or to enlighten your friends about the newest songs. Your party is for having fun. Your party is for bringing people together in a celebration of life.
There is only one way to do that.
Play something they know.