Music has the power to completely make or break an experience. It’s likely that you’re familiar with the phenomenon of awkward silence- that moment of transition that causes people to feel uncomfortable and tense. The best way to avoid that experience is to fill it with music.
This concept is especially true at a business conference where there is lots of talk and little energy. The music played at a conference will make the event stronger, directly influencing the flow of events, ambiance, and the energy of the room. Music, at any event, is an extremely important factor—and can be the difference between a room thriving with conversation and one that falls flat on its face.
The Business Conference Music Playlist | What Role Does it Play?
When choosing music for events, like a business conference, you want it to be on-brand with the event itself. And, typically, that means choosing a playlist which keeps the energy high, conversations flowing, and people focused. Music is a great interactive conference idea that can definitely make an impact. But remember that it’s an event, not a party, and the last thing you want is to distract your attendees.
But before you start event planning and crafting your playlist , what role does it play exactly?
The Important Role Music Plays
Consider the music played at an event to be one of the guests itself. This guest is a speaker, constantly shaping the dialogue that’s taking place and even controlling the tempo of the room. It’s the glue between each moment. In many ways, it informs people on how to act (whether it’s time to quiet down, converse, or focus).
A few things to consider:
- The Music Reflects the Event – The music, while also influencing the mood of the room, needs to reflect the event itself. If you’re hosting a business conference surrounding environmentalism and eco-sustainability, it might be an odd choice to have a playlist composed solely of heavy metal. Just as well, if you’re throwing a corporate event yet your brand is somewhat of a rebel within those confines, allow the music to showcase who you are.
- The Music Can Guide the Crowd – The music you choose can help guide the audience when transitioning between speakers to networking time. It can tell them, now is the time to talk and be social, or now is the time to quiet down. For instance, selecting a specific song for the moment speakers walk up to the microphone will automatically tell the crowd what’s about to happen.
- The Music Can Tell People How to Feel – Music has a direct correlation with the way we feel. Thus, you can use it as a tool to draw your desired emotion out of the crowd. For instance, when guests are walking in, playing an upbeat, high-energy song can foster the perfect ambiance. But when you’re about to introduce they keynote speaker who is going to talk about an important subject matter, transitioning to a relaxing instrumental can settle the audience into a more pensive state.
Live Music or Streamed?
Something else to consider when it comes to a business conference music playlist is whether it’s going to be live or streamed. Live music depends greatly on the budget, location, and the business conference activities. It’s usually the more expensive option between the two and can, if done correctly, be a key factor that makes the event memorable.
Live music typically means higher energy. By having live musicians in the mix, the conference adds another layer to the experience. The problem? It can be distracting if not planned to work with the flow of the event. Live music should be incorporated when you want the guests to pay attention to it, such as during breaks or after programming concludes. You don’t want to play live music during or between speakers as this might take away from the message they’re delivering.
Streamed music means control. It also means being at the mercy of your sound equipment. But with streamed music—especially if you hire a DJ—you can curate conference songs and create a schedule around the event itself. You lose the personality of live music, but perhaps your event doesn’t call for live musicians. By creating a conference music playlist, you can map out the schedule to determine what songs play at every hour.
Things to Consider When Curating A Business Conference Music Playlist
With the above in mind, before you create your playlist, it’s important that you consider a few key factors about your conference itself. This will directly influence the music you choose.
- The Formality – How formal is your business conference? Should you stick to instrumental music and create an ambiance with classical and jazz music (being that these genres are often linked with professional and classy settings), or is it appropriate to mix it up with some modern hits and oldies? Also, remember that conference songs and music for business meetings are two entirely different things.
- The Agenda – Do you want to help create pacing with the music you’re using? If so, consider the agenda. Perhaps you begin the cocktail welcoming with some classical guitar, switch to some high-energy songs during “networking hour,” play instrumental music between speakers, then finish the night off with rhythmic music to get the crowd moving!
- Your Budget – Renting sound equipment and plugging in an AUX cord can absolutely be the music solution for your business conference. However, a sound engineer, a band, or even a DJ could make a huge difference. Most times, this comes down to the budget you have for the event.
- The Venue – It’s paramount that you take your venue into consideration when you’re creating your business conference music playlist. How big is it going to be? Will upbeat, high-energy music be too much for the small space? Will your equipment be able to support the sound necessary?
- The Theme – An amazing aspect of music is that you can allow it to communicate a message for you. Is there an overall theme for your event? Is there a specific genre of music that can communicate your message? Tying the entire event together by deploying a thematic playlist could be what makes the entire experience cohesive.
By considering these factors, you’ll be able to choose the perfect playlist for your business conference.
The Fool-Proof Playlist
Below, you’ll find a curated playlist that’s perfect for most business conferences. It’s also broken down into a generalized event agenda.
The Welcoming Jams
When people walk into your event, you immediately want them to feel energized and happy. For the upbeat welcoming:
- “Uptown Funk,” Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars – Think of music that incorporates the “feel good” nature of this song. From “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake, it’s this form of music that will immediately put your attendees in a good mood.
For the classier upbeat welcoming:
- “Fly Me to the Moon,” by Frank Sinatra – If your business conference calls for some classics, then choose them according to the same upbeat, “feel good” sentiment. Think “I Hear Music” by Billie Holiday and “Stockholm Sweetnin’” by Scott Hamilton.
Now that your attendees are plugged-in, energized, and focused, there is an opportunity to bring their attention to your main event and speakers.
- Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Major, Opus 9, No. 2 – While you might think that going classical is a massive switch, then you’re correct. What you’re doing here is creating a transition, signifying to the audience that it’s now time to settle down and focus. This is usually a single song in the playlist, but you can also think Beethoven’s Symphony 7, Allegretto, and 2nd movement.
- A Generic Speaker Song – If you want to help with flow, then choose a song that will be repeated every time a speaker takes the stage.
- Let the Speaker Choose – If you want the music to be personalized, let the speaker choose what music will play as they walk up (given the song selection is appropriate).
The Ending Music
When it comes to ending music, consider what your objective is. For instance, grocery stores often use slower music because it helps shoppers lessen their pace, meaning they have more time to peruse the aisles—ultimately ending in more purchases.
Thus, when it comes to ushering your guests out of the event, consider playing:
- “Hey Ya,” by Outkast – By playing a fast-paced, uplifting song, you’re guests will exit the event in a positive attitude, and that feeling will stick with them once they leave. Think “I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor” by the Arctic Monkeys, and “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners.
Disclaimer: Licensing | Offensive Language
Despite what music you choose for your business conference playlist, it’s important that you consider licensing. For some popular songs and artists played publicly at a sizable corporate event, there are certain legalities that need to be addressed. Be aware that even hotels that play music in their lobby often have a licensing agreement in place.
Lastly, it’s a general rule of thumb to refrain from playing music that could be offensive. Stray away from music that’s littered with profanity or pushes a political agenda. You never know who you might provoke.
Your Business Conference Music Playlist
In reality, the fool-proof conference playlist depends on the variables of your given event. But by following the structure we’ve listed and remaining mindful about your agenda, legalities, and demographics, you can’t go wrong!
If you need guidance or support in executing a tailored music experience for your event, consider the event planning and production professionals at Vario. We work with clients to create unique event experiences that will delight and inspire guests using a variety of tools and technologies. Using cutting edge applications that are completely customizable to your event needs, we can help upgrade your guest experience with rich, enticing, and immersive content while enhancing the sales process to produce your most successful event yet.