How long should you play a song when you DJ at a party?

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How long should you let a song play when you DJ at a party? In this Q&A i share a couple of scenario’s and explain my method of playing songs in those situations. I look at it from a Hip Hop and R&B DJ’s perspective, but the methods can also apply to a Dance DJ’s set. These methods are not rules, just guidelines you could try out.

The first thing you should think about is what role you are playing at the party. Are you warming up the crowd? Are you headlining the event? Or are you closing the night? For me, each part of the event has it’s own code:

– The first part of the night is where you set the mood. You want to get people in the right vibe and slowly build up to get them ready for the ‘hype’ part of the night. When i do the warm-up i usually play a song for two verses and two hooks. This means that i let the song play long enough for people to enjoy the vibe, but not so long that it could get boring.

– If i’m headlining the event my job is to make the crowd go wild. This means that i want them to ‘peak’ as long as possible. To make this happen i want to make the transition from one song to the next earlier so i play most songs only one verse and one hook. This way you hit them with a new tune while they are still at a real high level of energy due to the impact of the last song. If you wait longer their energy level will go down. The only exception i make is when i’m playing songs that are just so hot that i know the crowd wants to hear it longer and sing every word. In those cases i will play the song longer for sure!

– If it’s your job to end the night, most of the times you will want to bring the level of energy down slowly. People just spent the last couple of hours going crazy and they are in need of some room to breathe. This is where i will go back to playing two verses and two hooks .

There are always exceptions to the rule. Sometimes you will play a party where the vibe is just so great that you just keep the energy high right through to the end. This is why you must always keep your eye on the crowd. They will be your guide. If they’re feeling it, you continue. If they’re not feeling it, you switch to something else. If they want more energy, you give them more and if you can tell that they need a break, you slow it down and give them a little break.

If you have any questions leave a comment in the comment section, join the conversation. Click like if you liked the video, subscribe to the channel and i’ll be back real soon.

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djTLMtv says:

Hi guys,

Due to health issues I couldn’t finish video’s I was working on (NS7-2
review) and I can’t record new video’s either. I lost my voice over the
weekend and that makes it a bit difficult to record stuff ­čśë

I should be fine in a couple of days so stay tuned!

For the DJ’s who would like to be part of the Saturday Super Session: Join
the Saturday Super Session and send me your own video!´╗┐

djTLMtv says:

Hi guys,

I’ve been extremely busy with different projects, gigs and private life and
as a result I was not able to make new video’s in the last two weeks. I’m
back in the lab right now and the new video’s are dropping asap!

Thanks for the support and patience.


djTLMtv says:

+IhateUrFuckinFace Yes, because most of the times I will switch to the next
song after a hook. ´╗┐

vk l says:

How do you incorporate a request into you set if you don’t know when the
drop and lyrics are?´╗┐

Michael Alhoshe says:

hey , i have a question , what if im the everything in one guy , i have a
party in couple of days , and im playing the whole night ( 6 hours ) any
tips ? thanks´╗┐

Lloyd Jordan says:

I’ll definitely play at a slower BPM when I’m warming up.´╗┐

Victor Rosas says:

This is a great channel, thanks so much about the recomendations. I’m a
starter Dj and i don’t have a great idea about how to play music on long
sets etc.. But now I’, better. Thanks again. Great job´╗┐

NoSis says:

as mostly an edm (electronic dance music) dj, when warming up i play the
intro, the drop, the verse (mid section) and the drop, when headlining its,
at first, play the intro and the drop then either go to the next drop, or
if its hyped enough do the verse and during the build up mix the build up
leading to the first drop of the next song and that can keep the crowd
going, especially when doing rave parties and bars´╗┐

Damion Montoya says:

How do you play to a very diverse crowd without pissing anyone off?´╗┐

ThatsMr Raxy says:

Hot Nigga be getting ppl turnt up in the club right about now lol´╗┐

DJ Loco says:

can u answer my questions are u successful ,is this ur full time job , are
u gettin paid enough ´╗┐

Dexter Mendoza says:

what about dancehall / Caribbean style music ´╗┐

Taylor McCrimmon says:

great video, good tips ­čÖé ´╗┐

Tony Draper says:

Great explanation.. Perfect!! Bottom line , know your music & watch the
crowd.. ´╗┐

mitchiemasha says:

Mixing for the ADHD generation. Being an old skooler myself i prefer to
lose my self in a track and here a DJ drag those beats on and on. These
days are long gone, today it’s bam, bam, bam, hit em with another. ´╗┐

Minkgold says:

Can you play a whole song for the beginning or the “warmup” lets say in
little parties or rather small weddings or gatherings and when it comes to
the hype then turn up? And what are good speakers to perform with?? ´╗┐

Alan Saldana says:

What’s a hook I don’t get what you mean :/ ? I’m 12 and I’m wanting to
learn how to dj the right way ´╗┐

Mike Rivera says:

djTLM yo b thanks for all your videos and tutorials you have inspired an
old dog to hit the tables again (NS7II)… my you and your fam get better

Francis djfrancis gaddammitt Richardson says:

It depends on how much the crowd is feeling it ….you can’t say when to
switch its a vibe I hate this programed shit!!´╗┐

Damion Montoya says:

How do you play to a very diverse crowd without pissing anyone off?´╗┐

Vladimir Novosel says:

What’s the best equipment for beginners?´╗┐

djRichbird washington says:

yo please shut up. never stop the music´╗┐

DJ NYE says:


avalanche says:

Mexican parties i usually play most of the song.´╗┐

Tyler Chassie says:

7:58 video summed up´╗┐

Alex Quintanilla says:

I really appreciate your videos i have the passion for music and you are
helping me perfect my craft much love from iowa
Dj Atrixx´╗┐


Yo whats up TLMtv….Nice video. What your take on Dj’s Roots reggae
music??? Im kinda opening up, theres going to be 2 other bands later on in
the night, and wanted to know whet you think about how a dj should play 2
verses or one and all that you spoke of in your vlog. I’m playing this
sunday so hopefully you can get back to me sooner haha..Or nay other of you
DJ’s lmk Peace my dude…´╗┐

Ochia Verckys says:

thanks man´╗┐

Anton Araneta says:

hey djTLMtv, im a beginner dj with pioneer djj ergo controller, can u give
me an advice or tips on how/what part of a track should i mix or
beatmatch?and what are the techniques of successfully beatmatching without
any sound of train wreck. thanks man.´╗┐

thefoundation4pi says:

My tips for DJ-ing in the club…´╗┐

DJ Blauwave says:

Great Info!´╗┐

Marks Made says:

Great advice! Full of substance and clarity. Keep up the good work and God
bless you for sharing.´╗┐


thanks for points it help!!´╗┐

Solomon Noellien says:

Thanks for including dance music
This video is really helpful´╗┐

godiz candy says:


Joshua Langer says:

As a Chicago Style House Music DJ I’ll tell you about how our transitions
worked at one time. The “Mixmasters” in the 90’s (DJ Bad Boy Bill, DJ Bobby
D and others to name names) used the Hip-Hop style of quick cuts. Playing a
track maybe for 2 1/2 minutes at max. This gave Chicago Club a different
sound compared to a Party (Rave) where DJ’s played the WHOLE FRIGGIN TRACK.

The crowd really reacts to quicker cuts and getting in a ton of jams in
their heads over the same beat for too long. Speaking of same beat for too
long that’s another reason why quick cuts and sometimes 50 second tracks
were DJ’d was well, it’s the same thing for 5 minutes.

Chicago had a “sound” to a DJ’s ears at one time. Now everyone sounds
alike. Not even long complicated blends anymore. I guess this turned into
a rant slash comment! LOL

I have scratch vids and dance music on my channel I made. Shameless plug´╗┐

DMC *official* says:

I play the best songs last and the crap songs for 2-3mins´╗┐

Odeed says:

Less time than this video takes.´╗┐

flhines18 says:

Thanks for the great video! This helps me out alot. What type of format
would you use for pool parties? Keep up the awesome work!


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