One important aspect of throwing a party that often falls by the wayside is the music you play. It may not seem obvious, but the tunes you pump into a room will subtly dictate its atmosphere and the moods of the people inside. But imagine a party with no music at all! Good music is like an invisible party favor that everyone can enjoy.
You can come up with a quick playlist on your iPod, but when in doubt Pandora.com is your best friend. Simply go to the website and type in an artist and it will automatically start playing similar music. If you're throwing a dinner party, try creating a Pink Martini station for cocktails before the meal. You'll instantly have an endless supply of quiet lounge music that will keep things light. When the meal is over, switch to Miles Davis while you and your guests rest your full bellies. If you're lucky, your station will deliver an unexpected personalized gift when your guest hears his or her favorite song start playing.
One quick warning: keep your laptop away from your guests. After a drink or two, people will likely have a hard time not logging on and trying to DJ the party themselves!