How to make a good playlist to keep the party going

Young people dancing at a party with music playing from a Bose SoundLink Max Portable Speaker

When you throw a party, it’s your job to run the vibe of the event, and the perfect playlist plays a huge role in setting the mood. The music you choose should cater to the tastes and energy levels of your group, but if you’ve never put together a playlist before, it can be an intimidating task.

Don’t panic, though — there are a few general rules on how to make a good playlist that will guide you through the process and ensure your event is one for the books. Here’s how to curate the perfect track list for your event, plus some playlist theme ideas and tips on choosing the best outdoor Bluetooth® speaker to amplify your soundtrack.

How to make a good playlist for your party

Whether you’re creating a soundtrack for a backyard barbecue, house party, or family gathering, there are several steps you’ll want to follow to ensure your track list is thoughtful, well-balanced, and a good match to the energy of your party.

1. Decide on the mood

The first step in putting together a great playlist is to decide on the mood or atmosphere you want to create. Will your party be low-key and relaxing? Do you want an upbeat, energetic atmosphere? Do you want people to dance? Your playlist should match the mood of your gathering.

If you’re new to making playlists, it can be helpful to choose a theme for your music. You can base your theme on a specific genre, era, or even musician, and by staying within those categories, your picks will feel more cohesive. Here are a few playlist theme ideas to consider:

  • ’90s hip-hop
  • Dance pop
  • Throwback hits
  • Top 40
  • Beyonce's greatest hits

2. Start with a few key tracks

Once you’ve decided on a mood or theme, it’s time to add songs to your new playlist. Start out with the essentials — songs that you consider a must-have for your party. These can be classics that everyone knows or quintessential songs within your theme. These tracks will serve as the foundation of your playlist, and you can build out the soundtrack around them.

3. Add some variety

To keep things from feeling repetitive, you’ll want to include variety in your playlist. Keeping the mood or theme in mind, look for tracks from different artists, genres, and eras, and don’t be afraid to throw in a surprise now and then. It could be a lesser-known song that you think your guests will love, or a forgotten gem from deep in the archives.

As you build out your playlist, pay attention to the order of the songs. Transitions will be smoother if the songs have a similar key and/or tempo, so you may need to play around with the order to find the most natural flow. For day-to-night parties, kick off your playlist with some laid-back, mid-tempo songs and work up to faster songs if you want people to dance after the sun sets — but make sure these don’t play while people are eating or still mingling. Then you can add more relaxed, low-key beats to match the energy of wrapping up a late-night party.

If you want to add more variety to your lineup, ask guests for music suggestions and requests ahead of time, and be prepared to pivot if you get a request mid-party. Most music lovers are more than happy to share their favourite tunes, and they’ll get excited when their pick comes on.

4. Don’t make the playlist too short or too long

You should have a general idea of how long your party will last, so you can time the playlist accordingly. It will put a damper on the night if your music runs out mid-party, but at the same time, you don’t want the track list to be so long that you don’t even get halfway through it before your guests start heading out.

To avoid both issues, make the playlist about 30 – 60 minutes longer than you think the party will last. This will ensure you have enough songs in case you end up skipping a song that isnt quite hitting, or if the party takes a bit to kick off.

5. Pick the right speaker for your party playlist

Nothing kills the vibe more than not being able to hear the music over the noise of the party, so its important to have a speaker thats up to the task. The new Bose SoundLink Max Speaker is the ultimate party starter, thanks to its powerful audio, paired with grab-and-go convenience that follows the party wherever it goes, and can connect to multiple speakers with Party Mode. Plus, its IP67 rated, so it can withstand party fouls like spilled drinks or a drop in the pool.

This portable Bluetooth speaker delivers impressive stereo sound and deep bass — perfect for showcasing your new playlist — and has a battery life of up to 20 hours to outlast even the most legendary party. Phone battery running low as you DJ? The SoundLink Max even has a USB-C port that lets you charge electronics from the speakers built-in battery, so your playlist is never interrupted. So go ahead, take the party to the max.

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