Compile a Great Music Playlist: 10 Easy Steps


We all know how the music is the soul of every party. But music is a big part of our everyday life, not only at the parties. There is a genre or type of music for almost every occasion that happens in our life. Some would prefer listening to 80s alternative bands while some love rhythm and ballad. Most people have their favorite artists or their favorite songs that they listen to all the time. But, people also like background music, when they are studying or working. It is usually music with no lyrics like instrumental or ambient music.

Whatever the occasion and whatever the purpose, you need to have a certain playlist that is well made. Also, you want to make sure that you have a good set of speakers, OuterAudio features a wide range of audio equipment reviews so that you can make a confident decision. We are all familiar with the situation at the parties when there was no playlist made and people at the party chose the songs at the given moment.

This is usually a disaster and a mood killer because everybody has different tastes in music and yell the song they want to hear at the moment the music stops playing. So, you end up with either silence or yelling. To avoid that situation, as a host, you need to make sure that you have a great playlist (or multiple playlists).  If you have a friend that loves the 80’s music, have make a nice canvas print of the 80’s bands for them.

You might think that creating a great playlist is an easy job in which you just pile up the songs. But if you want a great playlist, you have to invest a little bit of effort and a little bit of your time. Treat it as a road trip, where you’re taking all your family’s preferences into consideration. You have to think of several things like the transitions, the taste of the people who will listen to the playlist, repetition, the actual occasion (is the music suitable for it), etc.

Here are several steps on how to compile a great music playlist.

1. Choose software (platform, an app or an old-fashioned way)

It seems like forever since people made mixtapes and some younger generations don’t even know what those are. But mixtapes weren’t as adjustable as the options we have today. Today we have various apps for making music playlists, and we can even make them on YouTube. Besides that, we have various platforms that allow making playlists.

Even though there is a wide range of online playlist making, you can still make the playlist by downloading the music and burning it on the CD.

Whatever the playlist you need to make, you have to choose the way of playing it even before you choose the songs. There are various software you can use either online or on your computer and even on your smartphone. Some software even offer suggestions based on the songs you have already picked for your platform, which is an option you can definitely use when making your playlist. When it comes to online playlist that depends on the users’ uploads, you should keep in mind one thing – that the song can be deleted in the meantime. Which means, that you can make a playlist on, for example, YouTube, but the user can delete the song that you picked and it would be no longer available.

2. Choose an occasion

You are certainly not creating the playlist just to keep in your computer. You probably have some occasion on your mind for which the playlist would be suitable for, whether it is working out, barbecue, party, relaxation, driving to work, etc. When you decide to make a playlist, you already have to have an occasion in mind, otherwise you wouldn’t know how and which songs to pick. Once you set up the direction, it will be easier for you.

3. Compile a bunch of songs that will potentially end up on the playlist

It doesn’t matter if you have the songs on your computer or smartphone, or you plan to search for them online, you have to do the wide list of potential songs. It is the easiest way to search for them by genre or artist. You certainly need to have some kind of a plan in your mind what kind of genres you will mix up. So, search the artists or bands in that genre and add to your wide list. Once you compile all of them, you can start eliminating those you don’t like.

4. Take guests and setting into consideration

If you are making a romantic playlist for your date, you can’t really play techno music. You have to adjust the playlist to the situation and the person or people who will actually listen to the playlist. You have to aim to make (or at least try to make) everyone happy with your music choice. We usually invite the people we already know, so we kind of know what is their taste in music. If that is the case, adjust the playlist to their tastes.

However, if there will be strangers, you might want to keep things simple and not complicate too much. Maybe put in more crowd-pleasers than some unusual music or alternative music.

5. The variety and mix of styles

If the crowd is older, you need more of the oldies. If your guests are a mix of older and younger people, you have to mix it up and put in the oldies and new age music. Or you can consider mixing those two up and find the remixes of the old hits. But the bottom line, you have to keep people interested.

Therefore, it is not recommended to make a playlist that has only fast songs or only slow love songs. Have a few different styles mixed up and don’t be afraid to put in some of your favorite songs, the ones that you listen to all the time. Also, don’t hesitate to mix the cheesy hits with lesser-known songs.

6. Aim for 30 to 50 songs per playlist

When you are making a list of songs, keep in mind the length of the overall playlist. You don’t want the music to end sooner than you expected it to end and before your event ends. You don’t want your guests to wait for the music in silence. On the other hand, you don’t need to make a playlist too long.

You don’t need hundreds of songs because no event will last that long and you are just wasting your time on creating such a long playlist. So, make a list of around 30 to 50 songs that is enough for a couple of hours of playing. If you are sure that the event will last longer, you can raise that number. But for most occasions, 50 songs is more than enough.

7. Only one song per artist

We all have our favorite artist so it is hard to choose just one song to put in the playlist. Therefore, people sometimes make a so-called playlist with 70 or 80 percent of songs from their favorite artist. That is very risky because maybe (and probably) other people don’t like the artist as much as you and then your playlist is no good.

So, one song per artist is the basic rule when making a playlist for other people. You can put more songs when you are making it for yourself, for example, for the gym or running outside.

8. Have highs and lows

It is not interesting to have a playlist that is all high all the time. The reason for it is that people usually really get bored fast if you hit the same tune, no matter how good they are. So you have to have an amount of really good tunes, and some of them that are average, just so people can take a break. If you shove all the great songs into your guest’s faces, they might no longer realize the difference between a great and an average songs and it might seem all the same to them.

9. Do the revision – edit the mistakes

Once you have got everything settled up, you know where (on which software) you will play the music, what are the songs and how they are arranged, you have to make revisions. The reason for it is that you only have a rough draft of the playlist and now you have to make it smooth. Some songs have endless guitar solos or a very strong bass or the strong language, etc.

When you choose the songs, you are focused on the choice of songs and not on particular things about them. After the second listening, you can really see what can be a problem and eliminate it, cut the bad, loud or inappropriate parts.

10. Test the playlist

After you have made the playlist, adjusted it to the audience, made the necessary cuts, you are ready to test it out. That means that you should listen to the playlist from the first to the last second. Then you can see how you feel when you listen to the song, and eventually imagine how people will react to it and figure out if the playlist is indeed suitable for the occasion.

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