Party with iTunes DJ

The most interesting new feature of iTunes 8.1 has to be iTunes DJ, which has replaced Party Shuffle. It allows iPhones and iPod Touches on your Wi-Fi network to request and vote for songs to be added to the iTunes DJ playlist (which otherwise looks just like the party shuffle playlist). The more people vote for a song, the higher up the list it will move, and the sooner it will play.

The only drawback to this approach is that all the iPhones need to be on your Wi-Fi network, which is inconvenient if you have an encrypted network. Moreover, everyone has to have the Remote application on their iPhone, but they can easily download this straight to the iPhone from the App Store.

To set up iTunes DJ, you first need to open iTunes on your Mac and click on the Settings button underneath the iTunes DJ playlist. In the settings window, you need to check the box to allow guests to request songs, and optionally type in a welcome message. Also check the box to enable voting.

iTunes DJ Settings

Now, when you open Remote on the iPhone, different things will happen depending on whether you have previously paired with the iTunes library. Paired iPhones are assumed to belong to the host, and therefore have the ability to play, pause, skip song, and rearrange the playlist, just like they did before.

iTunes DJ iPhone

If your iPhone isn't paired to the iTunes library (i.e. you are a guest at the party) then you don't have quite as much control. You can view the playlist, but you can't directly change the order. You can, however, vote for songs to bring them higher in the list, and request new songs to add them to the bottom of the list. This works nicely, because if everyone in the room had the ability to skip songs there inevitably would be chaos.

iTunes DJ Playlist

You can also vote for songs by right-clicking on them in iTunes and choosing "Like It" from the menu. You can do this as many times as you like, while you can only vote once from a guest iPhone. This allows the host to manipulate the order if they want to.

For many people this feature will be absolutely useless. It requires that all your friends have iPhones, and I can't for the life of me imagine the kind of party where you log onto the WIFI as you arrive... but it's neat nonetheless.

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