DJ 101

So, you’re gonna be a DJ at DDPPLA – Yay! 


In order to be a DJ you must have attended DDPPLA before.
Once that’s happened and you realize that this is the hole in your life that has been missing, you can click here or email us at to sign up for our DJ waitlist!

First, pick your DJ name!
You can check the list of our Current DJs to make sure that yours is one of a kind or to get inspired!

Next, you need to make an awesome playlist.

The format is simple: A 1-hour playlist (usually about 14-16 songs) that starts with one warmup song and ends with one cool-down song. Everything else is up to you!

Every DJ gets nervous before a playlist. It’s super vulnerable. You’re telling a whole room of people, “THIS is the music I love!” But what if they don’t like it? What if they think it’s utterly un-danceable? What if everyone stops dancing and starts chanting that they hate you?

Um, they won’t.

But we get it. We all felt the same way before we DJ’ed. So we are breaking down some secrets to a successful playlist for you here!

1. Light that fire.
Every playlist will start with ONE warmup song that allows the room to stretch their muscles, and gets everyone ready to groove. This should not be a super-hype dance jam… but should give the promise of dance jams yet to come.

Warmup Examples
“Young, Wild & Free” -Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and Bruno Mars
“Counting Stars” -One Republic
“Too Good” -Drake & Rihanna

2. Vary the tempo.
What you do in between your one warmup song and one cool-down song is totally up to you, which is awesome, and sometimes daunting. 
Your best bet is to make sure you change up the beat. If you have a few fast songs in a row, throw in a slower step-touch song so people have time to catch their breath. If you have a lot of step-touch songs, throw in something that people can rock out to.

Spotify has some GREAT playlists of songs with certain beats per minutes so you can get a feel for what kind of variety of tempo we are talking about! Check them out here.

“Elastic Heart” -Sia
“Flashing Lights” -Kanye West
“I Feel Love” -Donna Summer

Step-Touch Songs
“Let’s Have a Kiki” -Scissor Sisters
“Shoop” -Salt-N-Pepa
“Me, Myself, & I” -De La Soul

Rock Out Songs
“Telephone” -Lady Gaga
“Dance Apocalyptic -Janelle Moae
“Party Rock Anthem” -LMFAO

3. Vary the type of song.
This kind of goes along with #1. If you notice you’re playing a lot from one genre, try something new. An hour of 80′s pop or Motown might get repetitive.

4. Have some songs for everyone and some for you.
It’s always a good idea to start off with songs that most people will know and love:

Old Faithfuls
“Uptown Funk” -Mark Ronson
“Anaconda” -Nicki Minaj
“Single Ladies” -Beyonce

Once you gain people’s trust, throw in some riskier choices. You never know what could be the next DDPP hit.

Surprise Hits
“I Feel Pretty” -Julie Andrews
“Brand New Day” – The Wiz
“Rock Lobster” -The B-52’s

5. Throw in a 80′s Pop song.
Because Whitney.

Totally Tubular Jams
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” -Whitney Houston
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” -Cydi Lauper
“9 to 5” -Dolly Parton

6. Find a song everyone can run around the room to.
Switch it up and maybe give the ladies a chance to fly, leap, and explore the room. These have been some of our freest and most amazing moments at DDPPLA.

Free Spirit Fliers
“The Dog Days Are Over” -Florence+The Machine
“We Belong” -Pat Benatar
“Africa” -Toto

7. Take it abroad.
There’s no rule that the songs need to be in English! Find a crowd pleaser with a sick beat in another language and introduce it to the dance floor.

International Flavor
“Jai Ho” -A.R. Rahman
“El Anillo” -Jennifer Lopez
“Power” -EXO

8. Play a song everyone can stomp/clap to.
It can be an oldie, a classic, or something with a sick beat. Let’s get the whole room clapping along!

Gimme That Beat
“Run Around Sue” -Dion & The Belmonts
“Le Freak” -Chic
“Little Bitty Pretty One” -Thurston Harris

9. Play a song everyone forgot they love.
OHMYGOSH!!! Remember that song you forgot you loved?! I can’t believe you forgot that song! That song is the best!! You know who else would love that song? Everyone on this damn dance floor. That’s who.

“Lose Control” -Missy Elliot
“Hot In Herre” -Nelly
“Everybody” -Backstreet Boys

10. When in doubt, be Yoncé.


11. Let them down gently.
Your playlist will end with ONE cool-down song. Please do not have more than one cool-down song  – save those precious minutes for the dance machine! Your cool-down should be an opportunity to recover in childs pose for the havoc that you have just unleashed upon the dance floor.
Pro tip: try to keep this song 4 minutes or less if you can help it!

“Royals” -Lorde
“Gimme All Your Love” -Alabama Shakes
“Whatever You Like” -Anya Marina

All of this being said, you can completely disregard this list!
…Except for the warmup and cool-down. Those are non-negotiable. Sorry not sorry. 

We’ve had a playlist of all old school R&B that crushed…
We’ve had themed playlists that were incredible…
We’ve had an hour of obscure songs that were totally danceable…
We’ve had playlists completely absent of Beyonce and Whitney that were great.
(Just don’t tell them we said that.)

In terms of the style of music – anything goes. We’ve observed that successful mixes are pretty eclectic. Throw on some tunes everyone can sing along to, and a few of your favorites that might not be so well known and see what happens: you might just introduce someone to their new favorite song!

Don’t forget that the last fast song is where you want all the ladies to reach deep inside and leave it all on the floor. It’s a good place to put a real smash song that will get everybody pumped! 

Your Dance Squad also have a list of songs that they are dying to hear someone play at a DDPPLA! Check out their requests here. Feel free to put them on a playlist, or use them to inspire other jams!

We like Spotify best for curating the perfect playlist, since you can drag and drop with abandon until you get it juuuuust right! You will be changing your playlist up until the moment you get into your car to drive to DDPPLA. Don’t worry, it’s totally natural!

After your DJ set is over, please be sure to email us a Spotify link or screen shot of your playlist so we can post it to the website and share it with the world on our blog!

Most importantly, have fun!