Managing your playlist is a crucial part of being a great DJ. A well-managed playlist can make or break a gig; it takes skill, experience and attention to detail to create and maintain a playlist that sustains the right energy and vibes. Leroy explains some of the key areas to creating the perfect DJ playlist.
Choose the Right DJ Software:
DJ software can make managing your playlist much easier and more efficient. Software such as Serato, Traktor or Rekordbox you can organize your tracks by genre, BPM, key and other parameters. You can also create playlists, add cue points and mix tracks seamlessly using other features, helpful for auditioning two tracks together before you hit the club.
Know Your Audience, Know your Genre:
Who are you playing to? What venue are you playing at? And what time is your set? These are the first questions you should ask yourself when you’re creating playlists. Also, consider the age group and demographics to see what resonates with them. If you can, it’s worthwhile visiting the venue you’ll be playing at in advance!
Plan Your Set:
Planning your set is critical to ensuring that your playlist flows smoothly and keeps the energy level high. Start with a few opening tracks that set the tone for the rest of the night, and gradually build the energy with more upbeat and high-energy tracks. You can also try for peaks and valleys in the set, where you can drop in tracks with a little less energy to give the audience a break before ramping up the energy again. It can be tempting to play back-to-back bangers however this isn’t always appropriate especially if you have an earlier set.
Keep a close eye on new track releases from your favourite artists. Follow music blogs, listen to new tracks on streaming platforms, and attend festivals or local clubs and events to discover new tracks and artists. You can also join DJ communities and forums to exchange ideas, share playlists, and get recommendations from other DJs. However, this shouldn’t come at the expense of consistency with your genre, sometimes digging through older playlists is perfect for adding ‘forgotten gems’.
Have a Backup Playlist:
No matter how well you plan your set, there may be times when you need to change direction or adapt to unexpected situations. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a backup playlist that you can fall back on if need be. This playlist should include tracks that are versatile and work well in different situations.
Listen to Your Audience:
Finally, don’t forget to listen to your audience. Pay attention to their reactions to different tracks and adjust your playlist accordingly. If you notice that a particular track is getting a great response, consider playing similar style racks or music that can match the same energy. If a track is not working, don’t be afraid to move on to something else.
Managing your playlist is a critical skill for any DJ. Knowing your audience, planning your set and being confident with the genre of music you want to spin, you’ll be able to create playlists that are well thought out and get the reaction you want in the club. Ultimately building your skill as DJ and building your profile as a great DJ!