A great soundtrack can set the tone for a party and go a long way toward getting the night started. Whether you are looking for upbeat music for a casual gathering or setting the tone for a holiday cocktail party, putting together the right playlist is as integral as the food and decor.
If you have the time to create your own playlist from scratch, there are services that let you pay a flat service fee then select your own songs and build your own playlists. If you want to let the service do all the work, you can use a radio based service and select a song or theme for it to work off of. There is also a middle ground where you can build your playlist then it will automatically pick up where you left off. Here are five options to choose from.
1. Pandora is probably the most recognizable. Available on your computer or web enabled device, you choose a song and it does the rest. You can rate songs as they play so it can learn your tastes and there is a skip feature. The basic service is free but there are occasional commercials. You can upgrade for $36 a year for ad free service.
2. Spotify lets you chose your songs from a large database and create and save your own playlists. You can sync them to play offline. The free version is only available for your mac or pc but you can pay to play for $10 a month commercial-free and on your mobile device.
3. Grooveshark is similar to Spotify in that it lets you search, save and play your selections. It is populated with a lot of ads and the free version is only available on your computer. There are two upgrade options, anywhere lets you play on your mobile device for $9 a month and plus removes ads for $6 a month.
4. Last.fm is a radio based service that tracks what you listen to and makes recommendations based on it. Its focus is on helping you discover new music through personalized recommendations. You can build radio stations based on a song, artist or genre. It's free on your computer with ads or available ad-free and on your mobile device for $3 a month.
5. Napster (the one and the same) is now available only as a pay to play service. At $9 a month, build your own playlists, choose or create a station and use on any device. It has one of the largest databases of accessible music available.
Image: Bob Coscarelli for Chicago Home + Garden via A Vintage Chic Holiday Party