How to Make a DJ Playlist in 8 Easy Steps

Last Updated on December 9, 2022 by Project Party

Planning a party can be stressful. There’s so much to think about! What kind of food should you serve? Who should you invite? And, most importantly, what kind of music should you play??? If you’re stumped on the last one, never fear! This helpful guide will walk you through the process of creating the perfect DJ playlist for your next soiree.

Did you know that a good music playlist for a party will:

  • set the tone and atmosphere of your event
  • reflect your personal style and taste
  • build anticipation for when a song is about to play
  • keep your guests engaged and entertained
  • will be discussed and dissected heavily after the fact, and
  • can be a party starter and a great conversation starter.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s jump into the DJ playlist creation process!

To make your own playlist, you’ll need:

  1. a laptop or desktop computer
  2. Bluetooth speakers
  3. some music-editing software (like Audacity) – Optional
  4. a USB drive or mobile device for storing the playlist
  5. a few hours of uninterrupted time
  6. and, of course, a great selection of music.

Read on for tips, advice, and step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Decide on Your Theme and Music Genre(s)

Before you choose individual songs for your playlist, step back and ask yourself what kind of music you want to feature at your party. The tone of your playlist should match the overall vibe of the event. For example, if you’re throwing a rowdy house party, you’ll want to avoid any mellow tunes that might lull your guests into a drowsy state. On the other hand, if you’re hosting a more sophisticated gathering, you’ll want to stay away from anything too dance-y or loud.

Consider the genre (or genres) of music that will best fit the mood of your party. Is it going to be low-key and chill, or high-energy and wild? Once you’ve determined the overall tone of your playlist, you can start selecting individual songs that will help create the perfect atmosphere for your event.

Further, the theme of your party is key as you can use music to continue the experience. Throwing a tropical-themed party then you would include many songs that have a beach/summer/tropical vibe.

How to make a playlist decks

2. Make a List of Must-Plays

To start with your must-play tracks, answer these questions:

  • What are your favourite songs?
  • What songs always get guests dancing?
  • What are some hit tracks with your group of friends?
  • What songs bring back great memories?
  • What are some great sing-a-long songs?

The answers to these questions should help you compile a list of ‘must-plays’ as they’ll form the foundation of your playlist. Once you’ve got your favourites accounted for, you can start thinking about what else to add.

3. Do Some Research

You might be a bit limited with the tracks that you’re listening to currently so do some research. Some great places or ways to look for music you’ll like, or that’s good for your party, include:

  • Spotify, Apple Music or other streaming services
  • Youtube for music videos and live performances
  • for radio stations, music recommendations and user-created playlists
  • friends for personal suggestions, and
  • social media for new music or trends.

In particular, search for your theme on Spotify to find playlists created by other users that fit your needs.

How to make a playlist research

4. Build the Playlist

Now it’s time to start fleshing out your playlist with some additional songs. When adding new tracks, it’s important to maintain a good balance between fast and slow songs, as well as between old and new hits. You don’t want your guests getting bored or feeling overwhelmed, after all!
A good rule of thumb is to throw in one fast song for every two or three slow songs. As far as old vs. new tunes go, try to play at least one classic track from each decade starting from the 1950s up until today. This will please guests of all ages and help create a well-rounded mix.

Also, think about the timing and schedule of the night. When guests enter you might want to start off with a classic or recognisable track that everyone can get into. Throughout the night, pick up the pace and go for some more upbeat songs to keep the energy at your party high.

5. Test it Out

Once you’re happy with your selection, it’s time to test it out! Before committing to your final playlist, it’s always a good idea to test it out first. Create a rough version of your mix and then hit “play.” Does it flow well? Is there too much of any one type of song? Do the transitions between tracks sound natural? These are all things you should take into consideration before locking in your playlist for the big night.

Potentially, it might be a good idea to have your playlist on shuffle. This will keep the night fresh and exciting and ensure each song feels like a surprise. Plus, you’ll never hear the same track twice!

However, this won’t work if you have a set schedule you’re trying to follow but also don’t hesitate to get creative during the night if you find yourself needing to make some last-minute changes or if certain tracks are being received well by your guests.

How to make a playlist dance

6. Set Some Rules

It might be a good idea to set yourself or the party some rules as you don’t want your music to be taken over by guests. This way, you remain in control of the playlist and can ensure that all songs are appropriate for your party.

You could decide to:

  • limit requests to one or two per hour
  • enforce a ‘no explicit content’ rule
  • ban certain artists or genres
  • or even limit the song requests to a specific type or genre of music, and
  • hide the device playing the music from guests.

All of these will help ensure that your playlist runs smoothly and there are no unexpected surprises.

9. Get a Feel for the Response of the Crowd

A playlist isn’t static and can be changed during the night so keep an eye out for how your guests are responding. Are there certain songs or types of songs that are getting more attention than others? Are people dancing to certain tracks? If so, be sure to include more of these in your set.

On the other hand, if you notice people losing energy or getting bored, grab your device and start skipping to the next track. Make sure to also include some crowd pleasers, like a classic dance track or a popular artist, to get everyone singing along and having a great time.

It’s easy to fade out a song so don’t feel that you need to listen to the whole thing if it’s not working. With a few quick taps, you can go on to the next one and keep the party going!

8. Enjoy Your Party!

You’re all set and ready to go! So turn up the volume, enjoy your playlist and have a great time at your party. Don’t be afraid to make changes or take requests as the night goes on and above all, remember to stay in control of the playlist!

With these steps in mind, you’ll be sure to create an amazing soundtrack for your next event that everybody will enjoy. Have fun!

And, in our experience of being the DJ at house parties we recommend:

  • choose songs that will appeal to the crowd and not just you
  • balance the mix of old and new songs
  • make sure its dance and singable
  • test it out to make sure the transitions between songs feel smooth
  • set rules for requests, and
  • enjoy your party!

There you have it—a foolproof guide to creating the perfect DJ playlist for your next party! Just remember to keep things varied, balanced…and shuffled! With this helpful advice in mind, you’re sure to impress your guests and ensure that everyone has an amazing time at your event. Happy planning!