Playlist Perfection

September 5, 2017 by Joe Bunn

Creating Playlists can be one of the most time consuming things that you do as a professional DJ, but if you get them dialed in correctly, your job becomes so much easier. Let’s take a look at how I handle organizing a massive music library.

The best way I’ve found to handle organizing music is using iTunes vs. Serato. I like it for several reasons, mainly due to the fact, that it’s a great backup in that you can sync your ipod or iphone to a computer and have an exact copy of your playlists on a device other than your main DJ computer.When I use iTunes, I take advantage of using folders and subfolders.

Here is the current setup I’m using:

My main folders are: Corporate, Decades, Genres, Holidays, The Essentials, This Week, Weddings

Let’s start with Corporate. Since these aren’t exactly always couples events, I like to have a corporate cocktail and dinner list under this folder that aren’t so “lovey dovey”. I also have a “cool cocktails” list under this folder that is great for like fashion shows or retail store gigs.

Under Decades, I have exactly that, the top 100 to 300 songs from each decade starting with the 50s.

Next, I have Genres. These are usually just random genres that I don’t play that often, but that I might need, for example Latin, Classic Rock, Country, Greek, Indian, etc. They all fall under that folder.

Next comes holidays. Here is where I have playlists for pretty much the major holidays-Christmas, Halloween, Mardi Gras, even the 4th of July. They come in handy!

The Essentials is really my go to folder. Under this folder, I have playlists called Current Charts, which is basically the top 100 songs from iTunes (which I update every month). I also have my personal favorite go to hip hop and dance songs in a playlist. And I also have a third playlist which is basically the top 200 party songs that usually mimics the one that Mobile Beat puts out each year.Side note: One thing I do like about Serato is that for these bigger playlists, I can put a little red mark beside the ones I really love in Serato and even sort the list for all the red marked ones to come up first.

Moving on, the “This Week” folder is going to contain playlists for all of the stuff I have going on for this week. The thing that I mainly do these days is weddings and for those, I usually have three to four playlists for each wedding. For example, I would have one playlist for just their prelude and ceremony music. The next playlist would be for the cocktail hour (if they were really specific about the artists they loved). The next one would be all of the specialty songs (intro song, first dance, parent dances, cake cutting song, bouquet/garter songs, etc.). Finally, the last playlist would be all of their personal requests from the music planner they filled out online.

Another one of my most used folders is Weddings. Under that I have several cocktail lists from Motown stuff to country ones and corresponding dinner ones (less tempo, more chill). Also under the wedding folder, I have a “most requested” folder which is pretty much a copy of the lists in DJ Event Planner. So I have Top bride/father dances, top introduction songs, top garter toss songs, etc. etc.

And that’s about it. Of course I have a bunch of personal playlists and such in there, but I’ll save you the boredom. Take some of the down time in your schedule and really work on these playlists, you’ll thank me later!

Joe Bunn Joe Bunn (53 Posts)

Joe Bunn started his DJ career at the age of 14 in his hometown of Wilson, NC. He did shows all throughout high school, college at UNC-Chapel Hill, and eventually moved to Raleigh, NC in the late 90s where he started Bunn DJ Company. The company grew from a couple of DJs to 15 of the area’s best mobile DJs. Over the past few years, Bunn DJ Company has expanded to Charleston, SC, Charlotte, NC and Richmond, VA. The company performs at over 800 weddings a year and another 400 private, corporate and charity events. Joe has been on the board of both ILEA (International Live Events Assocation) and NACE (National Association of Catering & Events). In addition, he is a writer for many national DJ publications such as Disc Jockey News, Mobile Beat Magazine and DJ Times. Joe still DJs almost every weekend, but in recent years has been helping other DJs across the country grow their businesses. He has given seminars at Mobile Beat Las Vegas, Wedding MBA, DJ Times Expo, local/regional organizations, NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill. He has also been hired by DJs all over the world to help their businesses in every aspect from branding to sales.


Filed Under: Digital DJing, Mobile DJ Business