If you’re a DJ and you’re playing a gig on the last night of the year, no matter the venue, go ahead and congratulate yourself. The new year’s eve DJ set is a coveted slot, so whether you’re playing in front of thousands of people at a Las Vegas nightclub or 25 people at a local steakhouse, this is a big night for you. Because New Years Eve is such a big deal, tonight more than ever, you’ll want to bring your A game. So to help you ring in the new year in style, here are some tips to help make your 2016 New Year’s Eve DJ set your best gig yet.

Safety First

Because this is one of the craziest nights of the year, you can be sure that something at some point will go wrong. To help avoid total catastrophe, bring as many backups as you can: First, make sure you can easily switch to a backup system as quickly as possible should something happen to your main DJ rig. The same goes for your music – whether you’re using vinyl or MP3s, make sure you have more than one copy of your songs on hand in case something happens to the first copy. It’s also a good idea to bring extra cables, backup speakers, and anything else you can think of that might save your butt at the last minute.

Recap the Year in Music

If there’s ever a time to play the hits, your New Year’s Eve DJ set is that time. People aren’t looking to be turned on to new music on New Year’s Eve – they want to hear all the music from the past year that made them dance the most, so give them what they want.

Throw in Some Throwbacks

New Year’s Eve is also a great time to get nostalgic. Everyone is thinking about years gone by, so why not throw in some classic hits from New Years’ past and get everyone partying like it really is 1999.

Know Your Audience

The year in music will sound vastly different to different audiences, so make sure you know who you’re playing to. The same goes for the classics – a classic ‘90s hit might go over the heads of a group of 40+ corporate partygoers, but it could land perfectly with a millennial crowd.

Be Ready for Requests

DJs tend to get more requests on New Year’s Eve than any other night of the year, so be prepared. You don’t have to play every song everyone asks you to play, but if you show that you’re willing to play requests once in a while, you’ll show your audience that you really care about them.

Look After Yourself

In all the excitement of a New Year’s Eve DJ set, it can be easy to forget about yourself. With everyone acting so rowdy, many amateur DJs either get stressed out by all of the pressure, or get swept up in the excitement and have one too many drinks themselves. Neither of these reactions are helpful. If you feel like you’re getting stressed, remind yourself to have a good time, but remember to pace yourself in the beverage department (so you’re still conscious when the clock strikes 12:00).

Prepare Your Countdown

A great New Year’s Eve DJ set isn’t just about the music. Don’t forget the reason most people came out to party in the first place – the countdown. Whether you go with a pre-recorded countdown, hand the mic off to an MC just before midnight, or do the countdown yourself, make sure you have a plan in place at the beginning of the night. That way the transition from the music to the countdown will be seamless, and the party can go on uninterrupted.

If you’ve done your homework and you come prepared, your New Years Eve gig could be your best night of the year. Looking for some inspiration before the big night? Check out some of our celebrity DJ interviews, or browse the blog for inspiration on everything from what DJ tricks to use to what outfit to wear. Working up to another New Year’s gig next year? Start 2016 off right with a subscription to Spin Academy’s online DJ school, where you can learn everything you need to know about how to become an amazing DJ.

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