itunes 8.1

How To: Throw an iTunes DJ Party

Thursday, March 12th, 2009 | Tutorials | 13 Comments

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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