(Pocket-lint) - Normally this is the time of year we start to prepare ourselves for another New Year bash. Some of us would love to host an annual New Year's Eve party, complete with a perfectly curated playlist, but the ongoing pandemic is throwing a massive wrench into those plans.
Still, that's no reason not to celebrate, whether you're partying with whoever you've been quarantining with or trying to get together with some friends and family over Zoom to celebrate Christmas or the New Year, you can still craft the perfect playlist to share with friends. For some of us, that leads to a whole lot of questions: Is it cool to keep playing Christmas music at a New Year's Eve party? Kids might like it, but adults not so much.
So, it's time to move on to music that maybe isn't Christmas themed but will refresh us for a new year. In an attempt to help you with that seemingly impossible endeavor, we've rounded up six playlist tips for curating the ultimate New Year's Eve party megamix.
Choose the right streaming service
This one kind of goes without saying, but: Make sure you build your playlist on a streaming service that's best for you and your party.
There's Apple Music and Spotify, as well as others. If music videos are more your thing, try Google's YouTube Music. It wouldn't hurt to subscribe to your favorite streaming service if you're not already, just to avoid the constant ads popping up between songs.
Here are some quick links for learning how to make playlists on the top music-streaming services:
Oh, and here's a thorough comparison of the several music streaming services available in the UK...
Define the mood of your playlist
The best playlists are tailored to a specific mood. You can make your playlist as broad or as niche as you like, but it really should have a focus. This depends a lot on the party you're hosting and the guests who'll be attending. You can simply make an all-encompassing New Year's Eve music playlist with standard tunes, or you can get creative and try to remember the big hits of the year that you really loved.
You could even choose holiday songs with lush orchestral arrangements, with lots of emphasis on the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for the purpose of creating an arena-rock atmosphere. It's entirely up to you, but just make sure you do it. This, of course, applies to non-holiday playlists, too.
Give your playlist an appropriate title
Before you start adding music to your playlist, you'll have to name it first (in most instances, anyway).
You should have already decided the mood of your list, and if you have, this step will be pretty easy. We'll get into this more in a minute, but if you plan to share your playlist with others, consider naming it something catchy, as well as something associated with the music files in it.
For instance, you shouldn't name a New Year's Even playlist "the most Satanic music of all time". Unless, of course, you actually think that.
Search, search, and search some more
The internet is your best friend in this instance. Use it to your advantage. Scour forums, fan pages, and blogs to find material for your playlist.
You could even Google search phrases like "best music for 2020" or "top songs from 2020". Auto-complete functions in search engines - even YouTube's search bar - will also surface similar results you might be interested in giving a listen. Beyond all that, most streaming services offer browse/discover features as well as expert- and user-curated playlists, and all these things are rich resources you can use to your advantage when crafting the perfect playlist.
Don't arrange your playlist by artists
If you want to go whole-hog, you can arrange your playlist so that it tells a story (sort of like how an artist arranges the songs on his/her album to tell a story). But that's kind of intense. Lazier people will probably just throw it together and let the cards fall where they may, so to speak.
We recommend you avoid arranging the whole thing by artists because hearing clips from the same person or group over and over again will get old.
Share and update your playlist
Your playlist doesn't have to disappear forever once the party is over. You can make it public on most streaming services or even embed it elsewhere so that the whole world can check it out. If you're going to go down that route, we suggest updating it every once in a while too (or, if it's a holiday list, at least annually). That way your friends, family, and even total strangers will keeping coming back to it for more. It'll be like being a DJ for a brief minute.
Stream your playlist over Zoom
For a normal New Year's Eve party, you'd never have to think about this - but it's 2020. So, of course, you'll spend the final hours of this awful year learning something new about Zoom. Now you might think it'd be as simple as playing the playlist near your computer's microphone or sending a share link, but there's another way: Start playing your playlist on your computer, then in your Zoom call, share the audio from your computer.
To do this, select Share Screen from the bottom of the call, and then select advanced from the three options at the top of the screen that pops up. There., you'll want to select Music or Computer Sound Only. Now that you are sharing the computer sound, you can play a playlist from your favourite music player, like Spotify, Apple Music, etc., and adjust the volume in the player, which will reflect in Zoom what the attendees will hear.
The only thing left to do is make sure your playlist is as perfect as possible. (If you're new to Zoom check out our feature: How does Zoom work?)