How to Create the Perfect Party Playlist

The aim of the game is to get everyone to enjoy themselves
The aim of the game is to get everyone to enjoy themselves 

The art of creating the perfect party playlist is one that takes practice and insight into the minds of the listeners. If you’ve ever seen a DJ perform at a nightclub then you will know that there is a great deal of skill that goes into selecting the right tracks to create an amazing party atmosphere; it’s certainly not just a case of plugging in your phone and hitting shuffle! So, if you have a party coming up, check out these top tips to get your party playlist popping.

Plan the length

The length of your playlist largely depends on how long you want the party to last. An all-day event will need some careful planning as you’ll need a playlist that lasts 7+ hours – that’s even before taking into account the potential for the party to go on into the night. Spend some time thinking about how long the playlist will need to be and work back from there. Promote your content online.

Have a backup 

For whatever reason, even the best-laid playlists can sometimes miss the mark so it’s always worth having a backup plan. Perhaps the party isn’t ready for 90s rave classics just yet, or maybe the energy in the room is a lot more sedate than anticipated. Always have a playlist or two in reserve just in case the party heads in a different direction to the one that you had planned originally – this will mean you’ll be able to go with the flow and not stress about creating a whole new playlist while your guests are waiting! 

Think about the party demographic  

Of course, a lot of your playlist is going to depend on the tastes of the people who are attending, so it’s important to have a think about the demographic of the guests. If you’re inviting a group of real music fans of similar ages, then you’ll have much more creative license over what you play – as long as it’s good! But if you’re inviting different generations with different ideas of what good music sounds like, you’ll need to cater to each age range without excluding the others. You’re not going to want to blast some death metal or hardcore drum and bass while grandma is trying to eat her sandwiches, so try to find a happy middle ground that will keep everyone happy.

Work out whether you will need chilled-out or up-tempo party vibes

Stick to a theme 

Themes are the perfect way to find the right songs for a party, as they narrow down a vast range of options to a far more manageable amount. Searching for songs within that theme will be so much easier as there will only be a limited number of songs in that genre. For example, throwing a 70s party would involve seeking out plenty of funky disco tunes, soul music, and glam rock songs, while an informal dinner party would require more chilled-out music, lo-fi, and smooth jazz-inspired pieces. Poker nights need awesome poker songs, and there are plenty of popular and lesser-known songs inspired by the game, while playlists for holiday get-togethers are spoiled for choice by the sheer number of seasonally-themed songs there are out there. 

Create a musical journey 

Shuffle playlists are great when you have no energy or time, but the real value in a good playlist lies in the journey it takes you on. Just like a legendary DJ playing a set in the biggest nightclubs in the world, musical journeys ease guests into the party spirit then gradually increase the energy in the room over a period of time to a rip-roaring crescendo. This measured build-up allows people to get into the party mood before hitting the dance floor and really letting their hair down. A good playlist will then slowly wind the party down afterward and naturally indicate to people when it’s time to leave. 

Whether you’re catering for an afternoon retirement party or an all-night rave, these tips should get your playlist on the right track and keep it there!


Author Profile

Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.


Leave a Reply