You might have heard of a purse party, candle party, scrapbooking party, a "fun" party, pajama party, cocktail party, Tupperware party or even a Botox party, but have you ever heard of or been to an iParty?
These "iParties," or iPod parties, are broadening musical horizons at parties, get-togethers and hotspots across the nation.
Two Guys and a Pod
The year was 2002, it was around 10 p.m. on an ordinary Tuesday night in the trendy nightclub APT in New York's West Village, when two-guys, both named Andrew dressed in white lab coats, white high-top hats and black-rimmed reading glasses whipped out their iPods and mixer and rocked the house. And that's how the revolution or like DJ Andrew Andrew (they refuse to reveal their last names) like to call it the democracy started.
According to their Web site, Andrew Andrew describes an iParty as "bringing democracy to the dance floor," allowing anyone to become DJ for a night. In an interview, one Andrew explains, people do not usually think they will be allowed to play in a club, because most club DJs are thought of as superstars. "For the first time they're actually given a chance to play music on their own."
The other Andrew adds: "The iPod is something where it's so saturated that everyone knows what it is. Even if they don't know how to operate it, the concept of operating one is familiar to them."
In a process very similar to a Karaoke bar, party-goers take a number (or as they would at a supermarket's deli counter), have a drink or two, while browsing through a playlist book. When the neon "Now Serving" sign flashes their number, it's showtime! Instead of old-school turntables, the novice DJ operates two iPods loaded with more than 1,000 songs, docked on a special mixer formatted for iPods, and is allowed seven minutes' worth of solo DJing. And for those unfamiliar with the mechanics of an iPod turntable, the Andrews are close by to offer techie support.
Variations of the iParty or iPod night revolution has spread to other clubs around the world from The Tonic Room, in Chicago's London Park neighborhood, to the 21st Amendment Brewery, Restaurant, and Bar in San Francisco, to nightclubs in Australia and London (the Brits' iParty sometimes morphs into an iRave.)
Mass Appeal or Individual Stardom?
In this narcissistic age, where everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, or wants their existence to be acknowledged, iParties can turn into popularity contests and ordinary club and party attenders into local celebrities. The newbie DJs compete to see whose playlist can bring the most people onto the dance floor, stroking egos further. The founders behind Playlist who host their own version of iParties, awards DJs that dealt the most crowd-pleasing set with iPod accessories donated by sponsors as prizes. "We're looking for people who in 15 minutes can make an inert audience move," explains Jonny Rocket, who, along with his wife Lisa, were inspired by the Andrews iParty concept and are now hosting Playlist parties all over the United Kingdom, and have plans to take their parties to the U.S.
From the Clubs to Your Living Room
So how do you take an iParty from the hottest nightclubs to your next shindig? It's easier than you think and if you follow these tips you might throw an iParty that the Andrews would be envious of!
- Save the Date. I recommend the wonderful resource that is Evite.com, for sending out customized electronic invitations for your iParty. Make sure that it's mandatory for guests to bring their iPods loaded with a playlist to share…remember, people, it's an iPod party! If one or two of your friends doesn't have an iPod, let it slide, but don't let someone that has one get away with not bringing one…it defeats the whole concept.
- Get in the Mix. As the host of the party, you want to set the tone of musical DJ prowess for your guests, so make sure you choose the creme of the crop and create your playlist on your iPod. I recommend a random mix of songs for your playlist, so people get a wide variety of songs, rather than just a themed playlist such as all Rap, or Country.
- Crank It. What good is a great playlist if no one can hear the music? The success to a good iParty, or any party for that matter, is a great sound system such as Apple's iPod Hi-Fi, which claims to be the best system to showcase the iPod's true sound quality, because it's made by the people that made the iPod.
- House Rules. You are the master DJ at your party, but your friends are the guest DJs for the night, and to ensure that everyone gets a chance to shine, you have to establish some rules. WIth their prepared playlists, allow each guest 5-15 minutes of play/DJ time – this keeps the music fresh and exciting and allows more people the chance to show off their musical tastes.
- Top DJ. Your iParty doesn't have to be competitive in nature, but why not?! It'll be more fun that way. Have party attenders vote who was the best DJ with the most rockin' playlist and award the winners with iTunes gift cards for as little as $10. If you mention this in your evite, it might give incentive to everyone to up the ante with their playlist before they come to the party.
- Be a Traditionalist. You might be throwing a really geeky-high-tech iParty, but don't forget the basics! Nothing, not even the iPod, beats good ole party food and libations. Make sure you have lots of edible…and drinkable fuel for your guests, they'll definitely need it after burning all those calories (whether from the alcohol or the chips) dancing away on the dance floor.
- Impress Your Guests. And not just with your DJing skills. Apple's Party Pro for iPod will take your iParty to a whole new level. Download the software to your iPod, and you instantly have access to the 800 most used drink recipes with photos of select drinks, 55 drinking games, a global bar and club database for every US and European city, bartender 411 (tips and tricks), and if you spot that cutie smiling at you from across the room (that you're friend just happened to bring along to your party), use one of the 100 pick-up lines for men and women! The Party Pro also offers advice for cleaning up after your iParty as well!
Apple sure knows how to throw a party!
- Do you have iPod envy because you don't own one? Visit the Apple Store to see which iPod is right for you.
- Can't tell the difference between a playlist and a smart playlist? Go to iTunes for your MP3 related questions and a jump start on getting, organizing and sharing the music you love.
- Want to be a real DJ and mix songs with an iPod mixer like the Andrew boys? Read a DJ's review about the hottest mixer on the market right now, the Numark iDJ Mixing Console for iPod.
Click the play button below to see how the Numark's iDJ Mixing Console works.