Update: We made it to BuzzFeed!
Written by Chase Williams, Senior Project Manager and resident office DJ
As a resident of Austin, Texas it is more or less required that you love music (if you can’t name at least ten indie bands nobody else has heard of then you get shipped to Houston or Dallas). Music is a personal love of mine and I take pride in the breadth of music I listen to. Sometimes you need a little rap or dubstep to help you finish up those schedules and sometimes you need a little 80s yacht rock to ease everybody into a bright, digital day.
If you decide to take on the responsibility to play the music on the office speakers then you are in for a world of hurt. The truth is none (and I mean zero) of your coworkers like the same music as you and they also don’t like the same music as the other people in the room. By signing up to pick the tunes for your office you have done the equivalent of trying to serve brussel sprouts to children. Of course they’re delicious to you because you ripped off the recipe from Uchi, but to all the children, you might as well have told them they have to eat dirt and like it.
Because I’ve lived in the minefield that is the office DJ landscape, I have a few tips for you to make it out alive. They’re not perfect, but they may be the only things you have at your disposal.
- Don’t even try your Spotify playlist
Imagine you’ve made the most epic mix in the world. You thought about each coworker, identified the song that most matches their personality (maybe you made them take a Buzzfeed quiz on “What Song Defines You?” and stole the answer), and carefully laid them track by track to keep energy at a steady pace.
Your coworkers will hate every second of it minus the 3 minutes and 15 seconds that their “jam” is on. This is because your coworkers are inconsiderate and only think of themselves and “Shots” by LMFAO (that’s not exactly true but that’s what it feels like sometimes).
- Don’t play a single song that you like
Do you have a favorite song? One that really speaks to your heart? Every time it comes on you have to take a deep breath because the emotions associated with it are just a bit too much to handle all at once?
That’s your coworker’s least favorite song ever.
- Don’t play a station from only one decade
I know what you’re thinking -- “Everybody loves the 90s pop music. I mean, it’s just SO GOOD.”
The thing is, you’re right. It is that good. However, the second “…Baby One More Time” fades into “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden, somebody is going to riot and make you continuously skip songs until “I Want It That Way” comes on and peace is restored. It’s exhausting.
- Watch out for Bluetooth hackers
If you work at a digital agency, there is someone who has discovered how to access a Bluetooth device from anywhere in the building and sometimes this guy is practical joker. That means you might get stuck listening to “True” by Spandau Ballet (believe me, you’ve heard it) for half an hour until you realize who’s doing it. It’s funny the first 2 times it plays. The next 30 may cause you to destroy the speaker.
- Don’t take it personally
In the end you’ve got to do what’s right for you. The old adage “you can’t please all the people all of the time” is true in the office DJ world. If you need to play a couple of Hall and Oates songs to get you through the day, then you do it. Your coworkers’ complaints will be drowned out by the beautiful harmonies and catchy choruses that only Daryl Hall and John Oates can provide. And after you’re done, shake it off.
No literally, play “Shake It Off’ by T-Swift. She’s America’s Sweetheart.