How To: Throw an iTunes DJ Party

Thursday, March 12th, 2009 | Tutorials | by

With Apple’s iTunes 8.1 release, we now have iTunes DJ.  It used to be Party Shuffle (for the past few years) but now we have a few new toys.

The biggest of which is the ability to allow guests to your party to vote for songs.  Guests can see the song details, upcoming songs, request songs in your library, and vote on which songs they want to hear next.  

So how do we do it?

Setup iTunes for DJ

You’ll need a computer running iTunes.  Open up iTunes (making sure to have updated to the newest release, 8.1 is the first release to support all the functionality mentioned here).  Click on iTunes DJ.

You are now in the iTunes DJ screen.  In the lower part of the playlist window are the iTunes DJ options (seen below)

iTunes DJ Options


Here are the various components:

Source – This is where iTunes DJ will get the songs it shuffles automatically.  Remember this when throwing a party, so people don’t have to see your Backstreet Boys collection.  I have it set to my entire music collection (uh oh!)

Refresh – It refreshes your playlist.  Real boring.

Settings – click here to setup iTunes DJ properly, here’s the window you will see (seen below)

iTunes DJ Settings


A bit more fun, I have filled in some values.

The most important thing on this screen is the “Allow guests to request songs with Remote for iPhone or iPod touch”, as it lets us do everything in the rest of this article.

Your welcome message will show up in your guests Remote application (seen below, ignore my note about looking in a playlist, you can’t do that only browse by artist, album, song, genre, music videos, composers or a general search)

iPhone Remote - iTunes DJ Welcome Message


Going back to the settings in iTunes… you will want to click “Enable Voting” to let guests vote for the next song.  

If you don’t set a password, anyone on your Wifi can see your iTunes DJ list, and make requests.  Then again, hopefully you don’t have an open wifi point.  If you do, I recommend a password.  

Easy setup right?

Now the fun stuff: Remote.

As I discovered, if you are already registered with your iTunes on Remote, you will not see the welcome message.  That is only for guests.  If you want to see it work, remove your iTunes from remote.  Tada!

Here are some screens you will see in iTunes:

iPhone - Now Playing in DJ When your guests first load your “iTunes DJ” guest, they will see the current song.  The album artwork will be there (a nice touch, I like having all album artwork in there, easy with “Get Album Artwork”).  Your guests are presented with 3 options here.  They can Request a Song (big button on bottom) to be added to your playlist, go back to the current playlist, or view Genius recommendations.
iPhone - "i" - Genius Recommendations If your guests click on the “i” in the top right corner, they will see the Genius recommendations, clicking on “+” will add it to the iTunes DJ playlist.  It will be added with “1” vote.  If other guests like the song and want it sooner, tell them to “vote” for the song (coming up in the next screengrab).  Again this screen doesn’t look so good if you have a messy library, or missing artwork.  Guests can tap “Back” to go back to “Now Playing”.
iPhone - Playlist Here is how your users see your playlist.  In light grey up top, we see “This Town” was just played.  Normally the single most recent is visible but guests can scroll up to see more (based on the setting in iTunes).  Currently playing is highlighted in black.  Next songs are below.  If a guest clicks on a “heart” next to a song they are voting for that song to be played next.  The song with the most votes comes next. Guests can still request a song, exit out to setting, or view the “Now Playing” song.
iPhone - Search in DJ If, at any point, a guest clicks on “Request a Song” — they are brought to a basic music navigation screen.  There is no playlists option, or some other options.  Users can search by most other parameters though.  Keep in mind, that this is your entire “Source” that you defined earlier.  If you want to limit choices to “Country”, or maybe “80s” music, then make an appropriate Playlist/Smart Playlist, and mark it as the source in the iTunes DJ “Source”.  Interestingly “Music Videos” is listed here.  Maybe just for the music, maybe for a future AppleTV update.

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13 Comments to How To: Throw an iTunes DJ Party

Sarah
March 14, 2009

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Sarah

http://www.lyricsdigs.com

Bulge
March 18, 2009

iTunes DJ is great!

I have a new concept called openDJ. I have hijacked the new iTunes DJ feature to use with the defacto standard DJ software, Serato ScratchLIVE. Basically punters can view my crates, make requests and vote on upcoming tracks over WiFi via an iPhone / iPod Touch.

more info head to: http://www.djbulge.com/opendj

PiterKokoniz
April 8, 2009

Hi !! 😉
I am Piter Kokoniz. oOnly want to tell, that I like your blog very much!
And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
Sorry for my bad english:)
Thank you!
Piter Kokoniz, from Latvia

Angela
May 16, 2009

Dude! You are a lifesaver. Through all the crap your blog saved me from going insane trying to find out where party shuffle went. I’m a real amateur, but I love music and have DJ’ed a few friends parties. One thing is party shuffle features such as being able to shuffle a playlist push songs around …How do I do it?! would love your ….HELP!!! :o)

seangw
May 16, 2009

Happy to help :)

Well, the only “shuffle” is the ability to randomly pull songs from a source (either playlist or your library). It will just keep queuing up songs from that playlist (you can change the number in Settings…).

In terms of pushing songs around, there are many cool ways to do it. First (if you’re on the computer with iTunes) is you can just drag songs around to reorder them. Or you can right click and select “Play” or “Play Next” to put the song up top. Finally you can use the cool party feature and run it right from your iPhone (or your party people’s iPhones) and vote for the next song / delete songs from the upcoming playlist.

Hope it helps –

waldo
July 16, 2009

Hi there… I got here trying to solve my prob…
Im on Itunes DJ and i cant seem to reorder my songs as all tutorials I’ve seen say…

I click whit the left button on a song and keep pressing it… and try to drag it…
and it does but when I let go… it only goes back to where I grabbed it…

Hope u can help me…
Im sorry if I didnt speak my mind very well…
English’s not my first language

Andy Stokes
July 30, 2009

Hey Sean,

I am trying to figure out is there any hack to make the itunes DJ play a specific playlist, although allow guests to request anything from the entire music library?

I have just setup a system in a bar which is working well although since i’ve got all genres 50,60,70,80.90’s incase people request, i’d like only limit what plays by default to just a certain list? If you have any ideas, do let me know.

Cheers,

Joseph Trice-Rolph
November 24, 2009

Hi, I run the music music system at the hotel i work at and we currently use applescript to change playlists at set times through the day; i.e. breakfast, afternoon and night.
Does anyone know if a similar thing could be done but using Itunes DJ instead of a plain playlist as i really like the idea of requests through iphone/ipod and at the computer itself.
Thanks

seangw
November 24, 2009

I don’t see why not. I guess it could depend on how your current sound system is setup, do you run iTunes as your audio source right now? If so it should be a no brainer.

[…] a lot more fun and efficient. And spares me a lot of bad breath from screaming drunk people Here’s how to do it. This will be a great gig. I envy the guests coming to this party! Share this:TwitterFacebookLike […]

Kate
January 16, 2012

waldo-yes…click on itunes DJ. Then, click source in the bottom left hand corner and select a playlist from there. Then click settings in the bottom left hand corner of the iTunes Dj main page. Under restrict requests to source, check the box and scroll to Music. There ya go! Hope this helped!!!

Phil
March 5, 2012

This going to sound a bit absurd but is there a way of the itunes DJ working with Android? I have a remote but can’t use the voting system. DO you know of a way to use the voting system via an android?

George
September 10, 2012

Same here. Anyone knows if about a way for android users to participate?

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