How To Enjoy The Summer Jams
August 17, 2018 9:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm having a backyard cookout birthday party next weekend. I would love to play some summer jams to enhance the mood. I do not have any kind of sound system speaker situation, I don't have music on my phone. What do I need to get to make this happen?

Difficulty level: I live next to a big grocery store parking lot and the back of my yard butts up against an alley where the trucks are always coming and going so things can get noisy. Some kind of little stereo/boombox/whatever that can overcome this without totally blowing out the sound quality would be ideal.

How do people make playlists these days? Can I input Doja Cat's "Mooo!", Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up" and like, a bunch of Bombay Dub Orchestra somewhere and an algorithm will generate a three hour playlist for me? And I can throw some money at it to remove ads?

I have a pixel 2 and am willing to mess around with music on it for this but don't really know where to start.

Mostly at home I listen to podcasts, complete operas and whole albums, and for background buzz I put on some of the somafm stations, but that's too ambient for this occasion. I either use my built in mediocre computer speakers or my swanky comfy sennheiser over ear headphones, neither of which is going to work either.

How do regular folks (who aren't snobby luddites like me) put on music outdoors for a party?
posted by Mizu to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For music: Pick an app that you can put onto your phone for free to play music: Spotify and Pandora both have free services, and you can easily search for summer party playlists to save you the hassle of actually being a DJ.

For the actual audio: You can spend as little or as much as you want. I'd suggest a decent Bluetooth speaker that fits your budget. Wirecutter has a pretty good list of options from $35-200, depending on what you're looking for (scroll to "the competition" to see the long list of speakers).
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:49 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Can I input Doja Cat's "Mooo!", Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up" and like, a bunch of Bombay Dub Orchestra somewhere and an algorithm will generate a three hour playlist for me? And I can throw some money at it to remove ads?"

You can do this with Pandora! You create personalized streaming stations and seed them with artists and/or specific songs, all sourced from their own library. I think you can add up to 100 different bands or songs for each station. There's also an option to shuffle stations if you like. Their ads will go away with adblocker (or, if you're a better person than me, a subscription.)
posted by prewar lemonade at 9:51 AM on August 17, 2018

Do you not have Spotify? You need Spotify (preferably paid for) and some kind of bluetooth speaker situation. My husband uses the cylindrical UE Boom for this purpose.

If you're having a party you can create a collaborative playlist in Spotify and invite your guests to contribute. Or you could just start song radio - tap on the three dots next to the song and hit 'start song radio.'

A lot of blogs/magazines publish playlists on Spotify. I adore The Fader's Songs you Need In Your Life for party purposes. Frank Ocean's Blonded playlist is heavy on chill summer vibes. I've also been enjoying Crack Magazine's Selections playlists - especially Jayda G and Tzusing's playlists.
posted by nerdfish at 9:53 AM on August 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Came back to add after the editing window closed - you can find entire DJ sets on Soundcloud. This one by Orpheu the Wizard and Jamie Tiller at Lente Kabinet is MAGICAL and contains some truly gorgeous obscure jams.
posted by nerdfish at 10:00 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding the UE Boom Recommendation. Hands down the best easily portable bluetooth speaker.
I also like the UE Roll.

Def check out the limited edition colorways they have on amazon.
posted by wowenthusiast at 10:03 AM on August 17, 2018

Agreed that you're going to want to go with the paid option for any of the music services; you don't want audible ads interrupting your summer jamfest because they're a mood killer. (And it's going to be like $10 for a month; you'll spend more on speakers.)

You'll also want to test your internet strength to the backyard for streaming purposes - with my housing situation, the internet isn't strong enough to reach down from our living room on the second floor to the backyard to stream audio, so I had to preload the playlist and its desired songs onto my phone (using iTunes; I have not tried the "offline music" option with paid Spotify on iPhone).
posted by Pandora Kouti at 10:07 AM on August 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

I don't think you need to roll snowflakes for this. You want music in your backyard for a special occasion. Great. Easy.

Get a bluetooth speaker and then sign up for a free month of Spotify. There are a million playlists for every taste and occasion.

posted by DarlingBri at 10:28 AM on August 17, 2018

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