What to Consider When Choosing Event Music

Music plays a unique role at an event. It creates atmosphere and ambiance. It influences your guests’ moods and makes them feel comfortable in the space. The right music helps people relax and enjoy a memorable event experience.

This means you can’t tack on music at the end of your planning process. You have to plan your music at the same time you choose your venue, decor, food, and other elements. Here are some key points you should consider when you plan the musical portion of your event.

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1. Your Guests

Your guests are the most important element to consider when choosing music for your event. If you choose music your audience loves, you will create a memorable event experience for them. But if you choose music they don’t like, there’s a good chance they’ll leave early. This means you’ll have to put your personal taste aside and look for music that will engage your guests.

How do you know what kinds of music your guests like? The easiest way to answer this question is to consider the age range of your audience. Generally, people prefer music that was popular during their teens and twenties. Don’t forget to include those classic songs that people love to hear at parties.

Furthermore, a great way to find out what kind of music your guests want to hear is to ask them. Send out a questionnaire before the event to gather data on their preferences. If you see a trend, make sure to include that type of music at your event.

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2. Type of Event

The type of event you are throwing will also influence your music choices. It’s important to play music that’s appropriate for the occasion. You will make people uncomfortable if you play music that doesn’t suit in the event, even if they like the music in other settings.

For instance, a corporate meet-and-greet requires music that is light and calm. It should play softly in the background so it doesn’t distract people or interrupt conversations. A company picnic, however, should play music that’s lively and upbeat. Notice how both of those events would include the same people, but require different kinds of music.

3. Event Size

The type of music you choose for your event should match the size of your guest list. Loud and upbeat electronic music made for dancing wouldn’t suit an intimate dinner setting. Similarly, slow and quiet jazz music wouldn’t suit a massive party of young people.

Additionally, you’ll want to think about the size of the space, as well. A solo violinist may sound great, but he’ll be hard to hear in a massive convention hall. A live rock band may play exactly what you want to hear, but they would overpower a small private dining room.

4. Your Agenda

What happens at your event should impact the kind of music you play. Since music can influence how people feel and behave, it’s important to use the type and tempo of music that creates the right feelings and behaviors. This means you’ll have to adjust your music over the course of the event based on what’s happening at the moment.

For instance, you might hire a pianist to play soft background music during your welcome cocktail hour. His music should be fast enough to keep people moving around the room, but not so fast that people start dancing. Then you might have a jazz band play upbeat music during your networking lunch to keep the atmosphere lively. Play softer music when you want people to communicate, and louder music when you want them to move.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of times when you shouldn’t play any music at all, like during an announcement or lecture.

5. Live vs. Recorded Music

Event music

Before you choose a music vendor, you’ll have to decide whether you want live music or a DJ. They both have advantages and disadvantages.

Live music usually has more energy, especially if the band interacts with the crowd. It also adds a visual element to your music. However, live music is typically more expensive than recorded music, it requires more equipment, and their library of music is limited to what they know.

DJs don’t have the same presence as a live band, but they can play anything you and your guests want to hear. DJs are usually cheaper than live bands, as well.

6. The Vendor’s Demeanour

If you’re hiring a DJ or a band to provide music, try to get a sense of their feelings about your event. If they are optimistic, eager, and excited, they will probably provide a quality service. But if they seem annoyed, rushed, or bored, they probably won’t give the performance you expect. Attitude is something you can only gauge in person, so set up at least one meeting with potential music vendors to make sure they care about your goals.

7. Sound Capabilities

Event music

Check with your venue before you decide on a music provider to learn which kind of amenities are available to you in the event space. Is the whole space wired for sound? Will a DJ or band have access to power? Can you play the same music in multiple rooms? Will guests hear music outside if they step out to smoke?

8. Your Event Theme

Music is such a critical component of your event theme that it’s hard to separate the two. Your music should reinforce the thematic elements your guests see and experience. For instance, a Hawaiian-themed event should have music from Hawaiian culture. Any other styles of music could make us uncomfortable.

That said, don’t become a slave to your theme. Hawaiian instrumentals are great for mingling and eating time, but your guests will probably want to dance to pop and rock music. Make sure to tailor your music to what your guests expect.

9. Venue Logistics

Before you hire a music provider, you have to make sure there is space for their equipment and that they can get their stuff into the venue. Some venues have limited access, especially if the event space is up on a higher floor. It might be hard to get an oversized speaker through some doorways, for instance.

The location of your venue may also affect the price of the music. For example, musicians and DJs will charge more if they have to travel farther or if they have to lug their equipment into a difficult space. If your venue is hard to reach, sometimes it’s smartest to run a playlist on a phone through a few speakers.

10. Specific Music

If there’s something specific you want to hear at your event, make sure you bring it up to your music vendor before you hire them. DJs can access any piece of music, but they need the right licensing to play it. If they don’t have legal protections to play a song commercially, they may refuse. Live music performers need to know how to play your preferred music, or they at least need time to learn it.

11. Your Budget

Your final and most important consideration is your budget. DJs are generally cheaper than live music. The cheapest option is to play your own playlist through the venue’s sound system. Prices will also vary depending on the day and time of your event, how long you need music, and any additional services you require.

Make sure you understand exactly how much your music vendors will charge before you book them. Don’t let yourself be surprised with any fees you should have known about beforehand.

Download this free list of questions to ask music provider candidates before you hire them.

Take Music Seriously

The music at your event may seem like a minor element of the event planning process, but as you can see, it requires a lot of consideration. If you address these points when you choose music for your next event, you will create a memorable experience for your guests.

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