Music Mayhem

Pedro Lara
17.03.19 02:33 PM Comment(s)

Live Entertainment to Fit Any Wedding’s Musical Tastes is Not as Easy as it Appears in Miami

If you’re not a regular reader of live entertainment blogs or mainstream news media then you might not realize that the last 15 months have been quite tumultuous when it comes to Americans’ ever-evolving music interests. And that that tumult is having a direct impact on wedding dance floors and the type of music people want to hear.


Like any good story three is a trend. And this story is no different. First, in January 2018 it was widely reported that Rap overtook Rock as the country’s most popular genre, a blow to the graying Baby boomers’ enduring cultural legacy. Then, media company 24/7 Wall St. reported in December 2018 that not only does Rap reign supreme, but that hip hop and R&B were the most streamed music for the year. Their findings were based on a review of the listening habits of music streaming service Spotify’s 191 million users and its enormous database of 40 million songs. 

Finally, just days after the 2019 New Year’s ball drop, another mic drop moment: Latin music beat out Country and EDM for listening popularity. According to data company BuzzAngle, Latin music (presumably all its varieties including Reggaeton, Bachata, Merengue, Salsa, and others) made up 9.4 percent of US listeners, rounding out the top 5, according to Forbes. Country music came in at 8.7 percent and EDM (electronic dance music) at 3.9 percent.

A ‘Chorus’ of Good News for Wedding Live Entertainment

While some reading the tea leaves here see generational displacement or otherwise dismay that one music genre is eclipsing another, I see these developments in a more positive light. More than anything what the data reveals is America’s ongoing diversity. In Miami, a global city whose metropolitan region includes some 6.1 million residents from across the world and another 16 million overnight visitors, this diversity is on display on a regular basis. That’s especially true when it comes to weddings.


Unlike other live entertainment events, weddings can be tricky affairs to master. Knowing which genre best fits your guests’ interests – and for how long – is of paramount concern. Not only does the right music determine the right sound, it sets the perfect mood, atmosphere and ambiance too. Of course, the reverse is also true. Plan poorly and a music mismatch could derail even the best live entertainment weddings.


So if you’re about to say ‘I do,’ here is a crash course on the most popular wedding genres and a sense of how those sounds will impact the ambiance of your special day:

·  Top 40 – At first “Top 40” might seem kind of obvious – the top 40 songs being played across the country at any moment. But its history is what makes the term unique. Top 40 traces its origins to the early 1950s. The term is credited with being coined by Nebraska radio broadcaster Todd Storz. Prior to 1950 radio programming consisted of blocks of news, music, and soap operas. Contemporary pop was not on the agenda. But as the teenage and Rock and Rock revolution grew with each other Storz had the brainy idea to begin finding out what music was most often played on jukeboxes around the country. The mosaic of what was popular, especially as defined by America’s youth, began to take shape. Once dominated by rock music, today top 40 – or as it’s known more commonly as Contemporary Hits Radio – represents a broad spectrum of musical interests. Depending on the type of wedding you want to throw, a Top 40 DJ is ideal for a diverse crowd who isn’t necessarily looking to broaden its musical palate.

·  Latin – In the 305 it helps to have this genre covered, weddings or not. Latin music encompasses an enormous variety of styles and sounds. Thanks in part to hits like last summer’s Despacito and Mi Gente (and many others) Reggaeton is everywhere. You’ll hear it blasting out of car stereos, on the beach, and reverberating off high-rise balconies. Known for its hard driving island-infused sound and at-times guttural lyrics, it’s nevertheless become a wedding must-have. Other styles like Bachata and Salsa, which includes elements of American Jazz and Big Band sounds, and Merengue, known for its 2/4 beat, are more sensual, of varying tempos, and include tamer lyrics. If you’re wedding guests are predominantly of Latin American descent, at least some of your night should be devoted to music like this. 

· Pop – Author Bob Stanley in his book “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé provides one of the best descriptions of pop music. “The story of pop music is largely the story of the intertwining pop culture of the United States and the United Kingdom in the postwar era,” he writes. To the modern listener, though, what does that mean? The easiest description is that Pop music is an amalgamation of many musical forms. Verse-chorus structure is common as is a hook and repetitive lines. Commentary on love, dating, broken hearts, and overall youth culture remains as important to pop today as it was decades ago. For a wedding, especially one with a younger crowd, Pop music could be the predominant way to go. 

· Hip hop – Born in the block parties and sound systems of the South and West Bronx in the 1970s, hip hop, according to its early pioneers, includes several elements: a rhythmic talking style, the mixing of two of the same songs or different songs with DJing equipment to maximize or extend the most danceable parts of a song, the embrace of hip hop culture (clothing and dialect) and specific forms of dance floor movement. As noted above hip hop is today the country’s most popular sound. From mid 90s and early 2000s classics to Bruno Mars’ latest hit Please Me, hip hop is a great way to up your wedding dance floor’s energy level and music intensity. 

Every Music Genre to Fit Any Mood

The good news is that with so many options, Dry N Wet and our expert staff is here to help. As the leaders in live entertainment and event planning solutions, we have gone to great lengths to ensure that our talented performers represent all of today’s most popular wedding music styles. Whether it’s a small wedding in an intimate space, or it’s a converted warehouse/industrial space Brooklyn-style we have your wedding needs covered.


For a happy couple looking for the greatest diversity of sound and music, an open format DJ is likely the best choice. These are the DJs who will adapt to any kind of crowd and are defined by their capacity to change music on the go, moving from styles ranging from the styles listed above.


No matter what style or styles you’re looking to play at your wedding, there’s no denying music’s universal appeal. Famed Catalonian cellist Pablo Casals (1876-1973) may have said it best: “Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.”


At Dry N Wet, it doesn’t matter what music genre is rising or falling in American popularity – or the ever-changing tastes of Spotify listeners. What matters to us is delivering the sound, the atmosphere, and the ambiance you and your wedding guests desire. Let us make sense of today’s wonderfully diverse music playlist and we’ll leave the enjoyment to you.