Help Me Brainstorm the Planning of a Music-Swapping Party
October 17, 2013 4:11 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to invite a bunch of my music-loving friends over to bring, listen to, talk about, and trade music. My idea is to set up stations in different rooms in my house that people can use to introduce people to music they like, with the option of dubbing/downloading/otherwise sharing.

We're a mix of ages and tech skills, but I think everybody has access to internet/email at least. Most people would know at least a few other people there, but I'm the only one who would know all of them.

The stations would feature different hardware (turntables, laptops, tape decks, whatever) and seating to facilitate conversation. Other than that, I don't know where to start.

Some of my concerns:
-I'd like to prepare for the party to the point that I have something well-organized for people. A cheat sheet with a list of what each room has in it, tips like "Try to limit your use of the turntable to X album sides," that sort of thing. Not hard and fast rules (I want people to have fun and network with other music lovers more than anything), but general guidelines to encourage exposure to new music and sharing it.
-I want to make cross-platform sharing as smooth as possible. To that end, I plan to have turntables patched into laptops for recording through Audacity, burning to CD/flash drive, etc. I'd also like to be able to accommodate whatever gadgets people bring with them (iPods, tablets, etc.).
-It'd be great to facilitate people trading "wish lists" with contact information to make their own arrangements to trade music after the party.
-A few short activities throughout the evening might be fun. Something like "Everybody meet in the living room to play what you consider to be a quintessential track in your favorite genre" or some such.
-Some kind of web presence/email communication before and after the party would be cool (Facebook event page?).

I'm open to any brainstorming on this-- setup logistics, software/cloud tips, activity ideas, whatever. Has anybody hosted such an event? If you were invited to one, what would you expect/want?
posted by Rykey to Grab Bag (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've been pondering setting up a music salon of this kind. One thing that I think would be important is for nobody's music to take up more than, say, a single track's worth of time (~3 - 11 minutes).

We've never explored dubbing/trading music. I can't imagine how to finesse giving turntable and record access to people who don't regularly handle vinyl. That just sounds stressful (bad for your cartridge and your vinyl) and potentially socially awkward.
posted by sweltering at 6:59 PM on October 17, 2013

Enlist someone to manage the turntables. Some guys will fiddle with any setup, and that could get annoying. For music that is being traded, put it on a drive, and have a big monitor displaying a list of tracks and artists. Cloud storage for music would be nice, and you could leave it shared for a week or so. Wish lists - another monitor displaying wishlists, maybe in a google doc table -Track -Artist -Album -email of person who wants it -email of person who has it. Some people have their music on a drive, so if you have access to a hard drive dock, that could be handy. You could spend some time downloading music videos and keep different ones playing in each room.

Consider having standards for quality of music; some people have poor quality mp3s. Will there be people who don't know how to deal with DRM? ITunes won't play music that someone else owns, Winamp will, etc. There are tools to deal with this, but it can be time-consuming. A Twitter feed and Fb page are a good idea. Sounds like fun.
posted by theora55 at 7:31 AM on October 18, 2013

Consider that many people have their music collection online or just memorized, it's an increasingly common occurence to have youtube or other services being used as a jukebox in parties — with guests taking turns searching for cool music.

So, my suggestion is a youtube jukebox: a laptop with a good connection and a proeminent bookmark for Offliberty.

Also headphones! Lots of headphones!
posted by Tom-B at 9:13 AM on October 18, 2013

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