Music Curation for Businesses: How I Build New Playlists

Playlist curation has been a growing focus for me. It seems more and more businesses are realizing the importance of carefully planned-out music when it comes to building the vibe of a space. When was the last time you walked into a business and it was dead silent? How weird was that? Even the dentist’s office has music (at least mine does).

As a result, I’ve been really active on my DJ J-Wall Spotify account, making playlists for restaurant and corporate clients (and some for my own personal use too). Be sure to give my account a follow. I always leave some good stuff up there for public consumption.

There are various ways I find inspiration for playlists. Some I group them by genre or era. Others are a collection of songs that I think would go together nicely in an open-format DJ set for the particular venue I’m working with. For those, I aim to have a solid balance between BPM ranges, genres/eras, and overall a sound that would be somewhat consistent whether the playlist is played in order or on shuffle.

Most of my playlists are between eight and 15+ hours unless it’s for a very specific night or purpose. Even if the playlist is used for a five-hour dinner service, I like to have a buffer of a few hours at least. It helps to keep the playlist feeling fresher in shuffle mode for a longer amount of time. I’ve also found the algorithms on most playback services (i.e. Rockbot) will start repeating songs before playing through an entire list, so it’s a good practice to give the system more options to pull from.

Lately I’ve been starting with a mood and then will go about building a playlist around that feeling. For example “Cozy Sounds” or “Smooth Evening Come Up” are two of my recent playlist projects. My favorite thing about DJing (and music in general) is that songs can make you feel a certain way. And “feelings” can transcend genres or eras. Downtempo/Lounge, Smooth Indie Rock and Folk, French Touch, and RnB all found a place on the “Cozy Sounds” playlist.

There’s been an incredible unintended effect from from being so immersed in playlist curation lately – my DJ sets have gotten way more interesting. I’ve found hundreds of new records that I never would’ve discovered on traditional DJ Pool sites or other outlets I’ve used in the past. I even have a Spotify folder called “New DJ Ideas” where these tracks live before I figure out where to download them for DJ use (I still need the actual files for DJing). And even better, a lot of the tracks come from small independent producers and remixers, so I’ll go to Bandcamp to buy the tracks directly. That way the artist takes a higher cut than the usual download and streaming sites.

Check out two of my latest playlist creations below. Both are in heavy rotation at High Street Place and at home too.

And if you’re looking to commission unique playlists for business or personal use, please get in touch!