The only time a long DJ playlist is a good idea is for School Proms or Teenagers parties in all other special celebrations prearranged DJ playlists should be about 20 to 30 tracks at the most and here's why.
100% play lists for DJ's are when the DJ is supplied with a list of all or almost all of the music to be played by the DJ during a party and often the order in which the music should be played. 100% play list are not the same as a very useful list of special requests and leave no room for the audience to make any requests on the night. there have been articles in a Wedding magazines that have said ''If you want great music at your Wedding reception, don't leave it to chance give the Wedding DJ a 100% play list''. Here are our thoughts in thinking long DJ playlists are a terrible idea.
Its your party and know exactly what you like, so you my be tempted to think a 100% or a very long DJ playlist is a great idea. There are also many DJs who will encourage you to provide a full list of all the music to be played at your party, they will do this simply because they don't know how to read a crowd and no clue what music will build the party atmosphere. Everyone wants their Wedding or special celebration to be perfect and the entertainment is a big part of the evenings celebrations, getting this right is essential. However a party is a unique event and its always impossible to predict in advance what will work best on the dance floor.
If you still think 100% DJ playlists are a good idea take this test. Sort through your music collection and work out a five hour play list. Note down all the tracks in the order you want to hear the music. In two or three weeks time sit down and see just how many tracks you skip through because you get bored. Now imagine your friends and family listening to this music, and consider will this music make everyone want to get up and have a dance. If you think it will, you would be wrong so please don't call us and we will not calling you.
Music creates a mood, and the mood you are in right now will be different in two weeks time. A party situation is far more complex than this. Music will change the collective mood minute by minute throughout a party. The aim is to make sure these changes are positive ones. Pick a record, one with great lyrics, and has a deep meaning say for instance the biggest selling record of all time, Elton Johns candle in the wind 97 perhaps it may put a tear into peoples eyes but its never going to get anyone on the dance floor. Unfortunately in a party situation a record like its raining men will usually create that up beat mood we are looking for. However, lets not get carried away; we are not saying playing the Weather Girls will pack a dance floor in fact in most cases it will have the exact opposite effect. Established party records work because basically everyone what's to dance and the ideal situation is when your 90 year old gran and 9 year niece know the tune and can dance to it. Most partys you go to or are involved in organising will not involve such a wide range of ages so forget the weather girls, its a bad example. However in a party music that creates a common bond may include Abba or the Bee Gees, or the latest number one and chart music, or party dances such as Cha Cha Slide or maybe none of these, or all of these. A good DJ will sense the changing moods throughout evening and try to create an emotional roller coaster that draws everyone together. If Y.M.C.A came on the radio most of us would quickly turn it off but often (not always) records like this have a great effect in a party situation. Joining into a party dance reinforces the feeling of collective good will, we all know the tune may be naff but ''it's a party, so lets have a laugh anyway.'' The fact is there is no magic formula to a great DJ playlist so the party DJ should play each tune and see how the crowd responds before playing the next.
A year or so ago Gangnam Style was a must play tune in many parties but by late spring 2013 it only worked at School discos and now its practically unplayable. New tunes become out of date, old music sometimes become popular again and different music styles are popular with different people. This is why the DJs ability to read the crowd and know what will create the right buzz is so important.
An experienced party DJ will have the skill to know what should and should not be played and what music will help build a party atmosphere.
We have performed at thousands of different parties and know what happens on the night is unique, everyone brings something to a party and it's impossible to predict what to play in advance. For example a while back we were sent a list of about 50 or so club, dance and trance type tracks requested for a wedding reception. No problem with that and after all its the happy couples big day so if they want it then that's what we play it. As it was a long party we also still had some room to splice in about 30 other tunes. However when we arrived we noticed most people were of quite senior years and at first glance knew the music selection was completely inappropriate for the majority of the audience. Although the client is always right we spoke to the Groom about the list. He honestly thought anyone over thirty was past it, and only the youngsters would be doing any dancing so the music was just for them. We suggested we should be flexible about the playlist and and see how it went. It was early on and we still had our 30 tunes to play so instead of laying down the dance beats and we put on a Neil Diamond track. The old folk set aside their Zimmer frames and invaded the dance floor. The bride was dancing with the groom's granddad and the groom with his new mother in law. The Bride and Groom knew their younger friends had something in common but they expected the two families to stay poles apart. The music selection brought everyone together and changed the complexion of the evening in a way the happy couple never expected.
Although we had all of the 50 requested tracks, in the end we played only about 10, every one of which caused a complete dance floor walk off . Not even the bride and groom danced to their own specially selected requested tracks.
However sometimes emptying a dance floor is not a bad thing, people never dance all night. In a packed party a dance floor remains full because it is 'refreshed' by people joining and others leaving it normally when the music changes. Variety of music is the main difference between a nightclub and a party. A party is not just about dancing but about social interaction, having a drink, a chat and a bit of a laugh. If there are fewer guests, then as long as the timing is right, a dance floor walk off can give everyone a break and a chance to gather their energies for even more dance floor action later.