Your Questions: How Should I DJ For A Middle Aged Audience?

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
Dad dancing Middle aged disco Pro
Last updated 5 April, 2018


Our DJ today has been booked to play a “middle age” DJ set, and is worried about what music to take: Will it all be Dad dancing and back to the 80s, or should he play cooler than that? Pic: BBC

Digital DJ Tips reader Payam writes: “I was wondering what kind of music should I be playing for a middle-aged audience? I got a call for a corporate Christmas party and I was told the audience is between 30 and 45. I don’t know if it’s wise to go completely old school or mix it with some 80s and 90s with a little sip of modern dance music.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

I’d say 30 is the new 21, so don’t worry too much about this audience being “middle aged” – I think you’ll find the vast majority of them are completely up with modern music, at least those at the lower end of that scale. As with all such parties, though, the main thing to remember is that people want to dance to stuff they know – this is no place for delivering a musical education or pushing the boundaries.

All that said, I have a very simple tactic I always apply when I know the age range of an audience. I take the upper limit (45, in this case) and head back to the year those people were first going out and partying. So as it’s 2016 now, that means your 45 year olds would have been 18 in 1989. Then, take the lower limit (30 years); they would have first been hitting dancefloors 12 years ago, in 2004.

Research the Top 100 of the year from each of those years (ie 1989 to 2004) and pull out the big dancefloor fillers. That’ll give you a great selection of music that will appeal to the majority of your audience (people always love dancing to what they remember from their first couple of years going out). Add in the best of today’s hits, and a handful of great tracks from the other years after 2004 too, and you’ll have a decent chance of keeping everyone happy.

Do you regularly play to crowds of a set age range? How do you approach programming the music? Any tips you’d like to add? Please do so in the comments below.

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