how to dance the night away to Pandora music
November 16, 2012 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Please help me figure out Pandora music for a party we're having at Thanksgiving weekend.

We're having a party in seven days, and I'm losing it over music. The plan is to use Pandora but I don't know how to get the music we need to get people dancing. There will be 40 or so people ages 18-68. The last time I did this was with vinyl 45's back in the '70s, but that showed me how much the music influences the party vibe. I think we probably need at least these kinds of music: gentle while people arrive and chat; music to get people dancing; music to keep the party going; slow-down music towards the end. Almost any genre from rock and roll to whatever can work, but only special songs fit each moment.

Sound will be from a laptop connected to a great Bose system, but what to feed it?

I've dipped a toe in Pandora but haven't found how to pin down styles, vibes and tempos. So I need advice please on two problems: what specific music for each period of the party; and how to get it in Pandora.
posted by anadem to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
Michael Jackson or Lady Gaga station for dancing part.
posted by Fig at 5:16 PM on November 16, 2012

Are you positive you want to use Pandora for this? I've always found it not really optimal for things like this where you want a really specific style or tempo or mood. To me Pandora is best for exploratory music discovery rather than serving as a jukebox.

You might want to consider Spotify for this. If you don't want to deal with ads, you could pay for the unlimited service ($5.99 a month I think) and then cancel right after the party so you'd only have to pay $5.99. (Note: There are two levels of Spotify, Unlimited and Premium. Premium is $9.99 a month and it lets you have Spotify on your phone and offline streaming but since you're using a laptop and this is a one time event, Unlimited should be fine.)

The upside of Spotify over Pandora for this is that you could make a playlist that fits with all the varying moods of your party. Or you could make 3 playlists for your varying moods (gentle warm up, dance, goodbye, etc.). Plus there's the bonus of being able to play specific songs rather than just throwing a genre or artist into Pandora and hoping for the best. The downside being that you'd have to take the time to actually set up a playlist/playlists.

If you do want to use Pandora though, I'd recommend creating different stations for each "mood" or vibe you want, because the more variety you add to any one station, the more wild variations you get. So create one station for arrival, one for dancing, etc.
posted by katyggls at 6:33 PM on November 16, 2012

You want Songza. It has music geared towards specific activities; here on "Friday Evening", my suggested options are Unwinding, Happy Hour, Cooking, Eating Dinner, or Hosting a Cocktail Party. Once you click on each activity you get a range of musical styles to choose from. So you could choose "Saturday evening dinner party" in the "Jazz" genre for when people arrive, choose "Saturday night dance party" and choose "Creating a Sweaty Dance Party", or, "Creating a Cool Atmosphere".

You can browse all the options, regardless of time of day, to get a feel for the channels. You don't have to sign up and it streams just like Pandora does.
posted by stellaluna at 6:53 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Spotify and sticking to familiar music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Make three big playlists with the moods that you want, and then throw on whatever song you think works at any given time. Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work perfectly though--DJing (even in a very low stakes environment) can be really really hard.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:26 AM on November 17, 2012

Thanks all the answers helped me avoid panicking; in the end we had someone manage the music so didn't use online sources.
posted by anadem at 4:00 PM on December 17, 2012

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