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Making a party playlist can feel like a big responsibility— probably because it is.
Good music is essential to any thriving party and there’s a lot to consider when putting your playlist together. You want the music you pick to be fun, you want your guests to enjoy your picks, and ultimately you want your party to be a blast.
But making a playlist shouldn’t feel like a burden. Parties are supposed to be fun, after all.
We want you to live your best life this summer, so here are some tips for making a great party playlist:
Make a playlist that lasts
You never really know how long a party will last. Regardless, you want to make sure you have enough music to last you through your party in its entirety. As Jessica Suarez of Google Play told Real Simple, she recommends making a playlist that will last at least three hours. But, depending on what kind of event you’re planning, you might want to have a longer playlist prepared.
Crucially, you want to avoid repeat songs, which have the unique ability to turn guests into amateur DJs, and then you’ll be subjected to whatever they want to listen to. Chaos!
Make sure you have the right sound system
We’re not suggesting you buy a big fancy sound system for the occasion, but if you don’t have standalone speakers, now might be the time to invest. No one wants to listen to your Spotify playlist on your computer…or worse, your smartphone.
One option under $100: The Wonderboom Portable Bluetooth Speaker, which is a petite and waterproof speaker.
Anker Soundcore is another portable option worth considering. It has a battery life of 10 hours, which is hopefully plenty to last you the whole night.
Consider who will be in attendance
Are you hosting your family? College friends? Work friends? Will children be present?
Taking your party guests into account is probably worthwhile when putting together a playlist. Maybe you don’t want to blast Trina if grandma’s coming over. Or, maybe your grandma is cooler than mine, but it’s still something to think about.
Think about the vibe
You definitely don’t want to play Fiona Apple for three hours straight if you’ve promised your guests a fun night full of (responsible!) drinking and dancing. Or, on the other end of the party spectrum, you don’t want a playlist of house music and Swedish electronica when you’ve invited a few friends over for a chill get-together.
It’s important to think about the environment you’re looking to create. Don’t throw off the party’s vibe!
Assemble a solid mix of music
Arguably nothing is more important than a good mix of tunes. As Suarez told Real Simple, you might want to play more relaxed tunes as guests are arriving and save the higher energy songs for when your party’s in the swing of things.
An easygoing song like The Stranglers’ “Peaches” is great song for the beginning of the evening. Big hits like Cardi B’s “I Like it,” and ABBA’s dance party classic, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” are great for whenever your party picks up and your guests are ready to fully let loose.
It’s also probably a good idea to sandwich your lesser-known personal favorites between more popular and recognizable songs for a nice balance between what you want to hear and what your friends want to hear. You can tuck Lizzo’s “Boys” between Le Tigre’s “I’m So Excited” and The B-52’s classic “Rock Lobster,” to give guests a taste of something new and different while also playing the songs you know they’ll be excited to hear.
Here’s a small 22-track playlist to give you a couple of ideas. Have fun!