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The Alternative Board Blog

The Perfect Business Conference Playlist

Jun. 11, 2015 | Posted by Dave Scarola
business conference

One of my favorite parts of planning our annual Facilitator Conference is selecting the music. We want the music to be upbeat. Create energy. Selecting the right music can be tricky. Just like good humor, the music should be subtle. Anyone can put a playlist together with the most obvious tracks - I aspire to find the right combination of tracks that reinforce the theme while maintaining a good blend of intrigue and familiarity.

As you think about your upcoming conferences, take a look at this playlist of songs that I like to throw into our playlists and see if one or all of them may be a good fit for you. 

Upbeat

Story in Your Eyes by The Moody Blues: the lyrics are complex but I’ve always found this to be an inspirational song. It sets the tone that each attendee should work to take away from the conference what resonates best with them.

It’s the End of the World (as we know it) by REM: if your conference or event involves change, this is always a solid choice - though maybe a little obvious.

Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela: a great wrap-up tune for the intro series. This one is all instrumental but has a positive, upbeat feel to it. It puts people in a great mood.

Everybody’s Everything by Santana: another great session wrap-up tune and a high-energy song about change that says: Get Ready!

Down to earth

Times They Are a Changin’ by Bob Dylan’: another good pick, especially for change-based themes. We have a lot of Bob Dylan fans in the office and so this track has a lot of meaning to us.

Classical Gas by Mason Williams: for the keynote address, flashback to 1968. I think all keynote addresses should be proceeded by Classical Gas! This song really sets the tone that something important is happening.

Just My Imagination by The Cranberries (1999): consider this infectious tune from the 90s to get everyone in the right mood to hear some speeches. 

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Jazzy classics

I Hear Music recorded by Billie Holiday: if you're looking to get the attendees engaged for day two, consider starting off the day with this gem from 1940.

Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra: even if you have a younger crowd, this is a catchy and positive tune that attendees will be humming to themselves throughout the day.

What a Wonderful World by Louie Armstrong: honestly, who doesn't know and love this song? It's a fantastic testament to Louie Armstrong's musical talent and one of my personal all-time favorites. This one is sure to put a smile on anyone's face. 

Inspirational compositions

Praan composed by Gary Schyman: one of my personal favorites for conferences is this sweeping and beautiful song. I first became exposed to this music from the Where the Hell is Matt (Harding) 2008 video. This music is so unlike what attendees typically hear at a conference that it would make some attendees think "now this is different."

Nocturne Op. 32 No. 2 in A-flat Major by Chopin: this one is a slower tune but lovely all the same. You may also consider a selection of Debussy's greatest hits.

If you love any or all of these songs as much as I do, check out our playlist here to get recommendations for similar tracks - happy listening!

Getting ready to plan your next event? Check out TAB's blog post on event planning

Remember to discuss music licensing with your facility coordinator prior to the event to be sure you are legally covered to play copyrighted music. Many venues have built-in blanket agreements with performance rights societies, but if they don't you might be responsible to pay an additional fee as explained in this article on music licensing for trade shows and conventions.

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Written by Dave Scarola

Dave, one of our C-Level executives at The Alternative Board, has over 20 years of consulting, product development and technology experience across many different industries including telecommunications, hospitality, healthcare and financial services.

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