4 Secrets to choosing the right music for events

March 9, 2024

4 Secrets to choosing the right music for events

Regardless of the type of event that you’re holding - music matters. It sets the tone, cues up key moments, and energizes your guests. But far too often, the music decisions get left until the last minute with corporate event planning, and it shows.

Let’s walk-through the reasons that you need a music planning strategy for your corporate event, and how to impress your attendees.

Here are 4 simple steps to follow when planning music for your event

1. Decide whether you’ll have live or recorded music. 

Live music stirs emotions and has the power to bring people together with a positive shared experience. Hiring a professional DJ gives you access to their expertise and playlist. 

If your event budget is on the higher end, it’s wise to incorporate a mix of both live and recorded music. Hire a band for evening events, small music groups for luncheons, and play recorded music for everything from walk-ons to light background music during workshops. This approach gives the event polish and makes attendees feel part of something special.  

2. Choose music that’s “in tune” with your guests

Although music is the universal language, different songs, genres and styles, as well as eras of music will resonate differently depending on the audience. The music at a conference for young professionals should be different from the playlist for a meeting of seasoned industry executives. 

When in doubt, rely on songs everyone can appreciate, such as: 

  • “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  • “Come Fly with Me” by Frank Sinatra
  • “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell  
  • “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars

3. Speak to your band and DJ about a ‘do not play’ list. 

As important as it is for our entertainers to know what songs you’d like to hear, we also make it a big point to understand what specific songs, genres or artists should be avoided. 

4. Let’s discuss the psychology behind the music

Research shows that the psychological functions of listening to music include, among other things, mood regulation. The music you choose influences the event experience for every person and every moment of the event. Here are different ways music impacts the attendee experience:

  • Music adds structure to your corporate event. From the lively music played at the opening to the slower tempo tune played at the closing farewell—people take action cues based on the music. 
  • Event background music helps people relax and feel comfortable as they mingle and network. It creates a welcoming atmosphere that relaxes the mind without overstimulating. Bonus: It fills in those awkward silences when there’s a break in the conversation. 
  • Music activates the memory, reward, and pleasure centers in the brain (Dopamine). This helps establish positive memories of the event, and even improves the absorption of critical take-aways. 

Want to learn more about music for corporate events?

1) Research and consider your audience

2) Be sure to consider what moods you want to evoke with music at different stages of the event


Should I have live music at a corporate event?

Consider your budget first. Live music is more expensive but impactful, but often has a narrower range of options than recorded music or a DJ. Consider working in a mix of live and recorded music to reap the benefits of both!

Now you’re ready to select the perfect music for your event!