Event Planning Lessons from Private Listening Parties

Private listening parties have transformed the music landscape. What can they teach event planners?

Listening events have become all the rage in popular music, getting mainstream attention after Taylor Swift held a secret session in London last October. Fans were ecstatic to hear exclusive music and were even given an opportunity to meet her. The gathering generated great intrigue, which got us thinking: How can event planners—who already know how music can bring vibrancy to an event—use this trend to create a meaningful moment for guests? Here are three tips for creating an intimate, personalized listening experience.

Keep the Venue Small

It’s rare to encounter an event space for a listening party that’s too small—in fact the opposite is usually true. The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi is a perfect example of a quaint venue that exemplifies quality over quantity. There are many advantages of gathering guests in small spaces, especially from an acoustics standpoint. Sound tends to resonate better in small venues, as the minds behind The 1975’s extravaganza understood. Large venues come with large issues, including trickier lighting setups and increased rent costs. 

Above all else, with a small event you can benefit from better engagement. Intimacy gets lost when an event grows in size, and there’s something about a confined space that creates a real buzz. Consider scaling down your event space to create a truly memorable experience. You can customize your venue depending on your goals and perhaps even consider losing the chairs. Within your smaller landscape, create “inside” and “outside” areas where guests aren’t in each other’s eyelines continuously. This breaks monotony, using dynamic barriers that make your event feel multidimensional.

Set the Tone

Music can be used to alter perception, rather than just serving as background noise. Incorporate music consistent with your objectives, considering different musical genres. Do you want your event to buzz with excitement, or is it a more relaxed occasion? Loud, fast-paced music is great for vibrant events, whereas soft music is more suitable when you need your attendees to be more focused. And consider what tone will serve your client: Passionate music at an intimate venue will translate to a passionate message about your client’s brand. Music evokes emotional responses, and your guests might forever relate a song with your brand. By evaluating how you want your guests to feel, you can create a playlist that speaks to your audience and creates a beneficial atmosphere.

Choose a Top Sound System

All private listening parties pride themselves on an exceptional sound system, so why should your event be any different? A perfect playlist won’t capture the moment as effectively without a great sound system. Let your venue manager know that music is taking center stage at this particular meeting, so that he or she can secure the venue’s best sound system for your use. And if your client happens to have a truly top-grade stereo, ask about using that instead.