Here are a few thoughts:
Industry / Department –
They say that no one parties like Sales and Marketing teams, and you know what? They are right! Why do you think that is? Well, it probably has to do with the types of personalities that fill those departments at any company: upbeat, outgoing extroverts. Think they know how to have fun? You can bet on it.
How about industries? Semiconductor manufacturers vs. action sports equipment designers… think there might be a difference? A big restaurant’s staff party vs. an accounting firm’s holiday dinner: two different approaches definitely required. But it should be said that neither is per se better than the other. The important thing is knowing your crowd and what will make them feel comfortable and happy.
Is it a company that is almost entirely filled with twenty-somethings in their nightclubbing prime, or is it a group of older, married professionals who have to get home by the babysitter’s curfew?
Or, is it the typical mix of older ownership and management with younger staff and employees?
In either case, again we say know your crowd and tailor the music selections to please most of them most of the night, and hopefully all of them at least a few times during the night.
This is a big one. Here at Sound In Motion, we have encountered all kinds of mixes at our company events. Sometimes a company may have a really large Latino contingent who will want the best of that type of party music to be played throughout the night. We also have found that a party can be pretty fun for most of the night, but then a group of folks from India come up and request a great Bollywood track or two and the whole place goes nuts! The best thing here is to make sure the DJ knows of these cultural specialties in advance so they can prepare for success.
Couples or just employees –
If the party is just for the employees, playing slow couples songs is an obvious miss. Just keep a nice upbeat mix of music going from various styles and eras and you are probably on the right track. However if it is an “employees + spouses” affair, by all means pepper in some nice romantic stuff here and there when appropriate. You may find that those are the only songs that some guests will dance to all night, and it’s a cool thing to make them happy in this way.
Regardless of any of the above, here at SIM we believe that this is of paramount importance. The music played should be fun, but not make anyone feel uncomfortable due to language or content. This is a professional environment, after all, and as much as everyone wants to cut loose, being respectful of the boundaries of taste is definitely the best path to take.
YES! You as the person who hired the DJ or you as the employee who was up in the DJ’s face all night insisting that he play a non-stop stream of nothing but music glorifying drug dealing and violence are at a professional risk in acting this way in a work environment. So – DON’T DO IT. It’s not worth losing your job over. Just listen to that _ _ _ _ in your car : )