You've got the booze cupboard stocked, the munchies out and the living room floor cleared for some dancing. But what about the music? Here are five surefire gadgets and services to get the party started.
Imagine a radio station that only plays music you like or are likely to like? Sounds good doesn't it - well that's the premise of Last.fm making it an ideal choice for any party, be it your birthday celebrations or New Year's Eve. All you have to do is set up an account and start telling it your favourite tunes, the website will then do the rest.
If you've got iTunes installed on your Mac or your PC then select a party track and hit the genius button (it's the one that looks like it should belong in a nuclear reactor). The software then works to match songs in your collection that sound similar to the one you've selected. If no decent songs come up it will also offer you ones you can buy from the iTunes store. It means that you'll have a party playlist that sounds like you've thought about it rather than iTunes shuffling through your no doubt eclectic collection from Wagner to NOFX. For those adverse to Apple software, Peter Gabriel's The Filter plug-in does an equally impressive job for Windows Media Player and WinAMP users.
Sonos music system
If you've got some spare cash kicking around you could go to the extent of setting yourself up with a Sonos music system. The system allows you to put up to 32 units in 32 different rooms all connected to a central music hub and then control the music with a fancy wireless remote control. Why is it good for a party? Because you can set different music playing in every room at different volume levels so when your guests ask if you have a dance room, a chill out room and an R and B room you can say: "Of course".
If you've got a Sony Ericsson Walkman phone or a Sony Walkman MP3 player you've most likely got a neat little app called SensMe that arranges your music automatically into different mode compilations determined by the beat in the track. Moods available include Relax, Energetic, Upbeat, Pop Ballard, Lounge, Acoustic, Electronic, Classical, Extreme, Daytime, and finally Morning and Evening making it perfect for getting that party started be it a head banging rave or something a little more sedate. All that's left for you to do is plug it in to some speakers.
If the budget's tight (whose isn't), then it's worth checking out We7.com. It's a website where you can listen to, share and discover music without having to pay for it. No, we aren't suggesting a bit of illegal piracy here. The site lets you listen to full tracks and albums online, on-demand at anytime with the caveat that it gets to play you an ad at the beginning of every track. Not great for a party normally we agree, however the service is currently offering ad free listening until New Year's Day.