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If you play too few, each song will play out for too long and your audience could end up getting bored of hearing the same music for too long.
Alternatively, if you play too many, you’ll be transitioning too quickly from one song to another, right when people are getting into the groove of a certain song.
A good DJ will be able to cut and mix songs to a variety of different lengths and make the transitions between them seamless, so there’s often a wide choice of how many songs to play for a certain length of set.
In this guide, we’ll be going over how many songs you should play in a 30 minutes DJ set and we’ll teach you the rules to work out how many songs are right for any length of set.
The general rule of thumb is to take the number of hours you want your set to last and divide it by 2. This means each song will play for an average of 2 minutes (e.g, 60-minute set = 30 songs).
Of course, this is just an average guide and doesn’t take into account the depth and complexity of each song, or what genre they are.
Let’s explore some of the different styles of music that might make you want to play more or fewer songs per set.
Different Sets For Different Genres
For a 30 minute DJ set, the average number of songs you’ll want to play is 15. This is a good indication of the rough number of songs that would be ideal to fit into this timeframe.
You shouldn’t really be playing more than 20 because your audience won’t get to enjoy each song properly and you shouldn’t go fewer than 10 because they might start to get bored.
With different genres, there are different rules, of course…
For example, a more electronically driven and fast-paced genres like drum and bass or dubstep would probably call for more songs per set.
This is because the songs in these genres often don’t contain many (or any) lyrics, so there are more points at which you can start to transition into another song without worrying about interrupting the singer.
For this reason, you can get away with having as many as 20 songs in a 30-minute set and your audience won’t notice too many quick changes and the vibe of your show will stay consistent.
Alternatively, for an event like a wedding where you might be playing more pop songs, you’ll want to include fewer songs in a 30-minute set.
Lyrics are a very important part of pop songs, and the structure of songs within this genre is often based around a beginning, middle, and end (much like a story).
This means it’s important to avoid transitioning to the next song while the singer is part way through their line or before they’ve got to an important final verse of a song.
It’s also difficult to transition as cleanly between pop songs because they all have such a wide variety of tempos and instruments.
These reasons are why you’re better off playing fewer pop songs in a 30-minute set, around 10-12 is normally fine. This way, your audience gets to enjoy hearing some of their favorite songs and you won’t interrupt their groove!
Of course, there are numerous other genres a DJ may have to draw upon for each event, so this would be the general rule of thumb for altering the number of songs due to genre:
- If your genre contains songs with a lot of lyrics and with different tempos and instruments, play fewer songs and allow each one to play a little longer.
- If your genre contains songs with similar sounding electronic instruments and there aren’t many lyrics, include more songs in your set and you won’t risk your audience getting distracted or bored.
How Many Songs Do You Need For A 4 hour Reception?
During a 4 hour reception, a DJ will probably play around 100-120 songs, depending on the type of reception event it is.
Wedding receptions can be very tricky for DJs to get right. As a DJ, you won’t have as much creative control over how your set sounds, as the couple, will often suggest certain songs or genres that they want to be played.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s their wedding after all! You’ll normally be requested a few of their favorite songs, a grand entrance song, and a first dance song. In most cases, the rest will be left up to you!
You’ll want to play songs that match the genre and tone of the other requests you’re given, to make sure the couple enjoys it.
It’s likely they’ll request music that’s universally recognized and enjoyed like rock, pop, or jazz. As we mentioned earlier, genres like this that have more lyrics and are more instrumentally diverse will require more playtime.
Therefore, at a typical wedding reception, you’re likely to play fewer total songs than you would at a different type of event.
How Many Songs Is A 6 Hour Set?
A 6-hour set can be pretty draining, so it’s important to have prepared for it ahead of time.
Depending on the type of music you want to play, the number of songs will vary. However, on average, a 6-hour set will use about 180 songs. This allows for each song to be played for 2 minutes on average, but this will naturally alter slightly based on the genre of music.
For a more detailed breakdown of how the number of songs will change based on genre and style of music, scroll up to the first section of this article.
Whatever type of music you’re playing, a 6-hour set will require a well-stocked music library to draw upon. Repeating songs is almost never a good idea unless certain requests are made, and this is often the sign of a lazy DJ.
To produce an entertaining set, your songs should each feel slightly different, to put your audience through the whole spectrum of emotions.
If you get it right, they’ll be leaving the venue with a big smile on their faces, talking about how great the DJ was!