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How To Use Music To Elevate Your Event


Music is one of the easiest ways to transform your event. From the moment an audience enters a space, the music will set the mood for the program, get your attendees energized and can help continue a theme from other areas of the event. For LAI Live, music is a major component to producing an impactful event and we’re always awestruck when someone tells us they have never incorporated it into their program. So if you don’t use music… then start! If you do use it, here are some tips for picking the right music:

Know Your Audience

  • YOUR favorite music genre may not be right for everyone. Sure, there’s probably a couple of Violent Femmes and Wiz Khalifa fans in the audience, but overall, not too many of their lyrics will be appreciated by the general attendee. Stick to songs & genres that will be appreciated by most of your audience. The 20/30-year-olds will sway towards current Top 40 pop, your 30/40’s audience could appreciate 90’s hip hop or rock, and classic rock is always a crowd pleaser with the Baby Boomers.

Know Them... Don't Stereotype Them

  • We like to say, “CEOs are people too” in response to clients that just want to use instrumental background music for a room full of CEOs—as if they’re all sitting around doing what they can to keep things serious and not have a good time. We asked a military-related client why they always played military marching band music. Their response: (shoulder shrug) “Because they’re military?” In both cases, we switched playlists to popular music from different decades and in both cases the attendees walked into the space and responded with “Yeah!” and “This music is great!”

Match The Music To The Occasion

  • Instead of loud Top 40 music during a lunch when people are networking and having conversations, go with instrumental acoustic versions of those songs. They’ll be familiar, but not distracting.
  • Instead of soft, slow jazz for early-morning breakfast sessions, wake up the crowd with up-tempo music or well-known songs that people will have a tough time resisting a sing-along to.
  • Instead of low-key instrumental music for receptions, loosen up the crowd with a playlist, like Motown, that will start toes tappin’, hips moving, and get the party started!

Set The Mood

  • Playlists can be created to reflect on the location (surf & sun music in LA), to reinforce a daily theme (future-themed songs for innovation) or to set the tone for individual speakers. And take it from us, speakers love to have a say in their walk-on music because it immediately gives a message to the audience about them or their topic. In any instance, be sure to listen to the music first. Not every country song works well as a walk-on when in Nashville. Another thing to look out for? Sometimes speakers pick a song based on title, but the energy of the song is opposite of what they’re trying to accomplish.

Keep The Party Going

  • We often have attendees ask us about a song we’re playing or if we can share our playlist with them. As an event follow-up for your attendees, share a curated playlist that will remind them of your event every time they listen to it. 

**Disclaimer: It is extremely important to understand the licensing and use of copyrighted music at events. For more information on obtaining the proper license, please contact an agency such as BMI or ASCAP.  

Want to talk to an event producer about making the most of music at your next event? Call 202-783-0300 or live chat with a member of our team right now.

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