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Playing background music while hosting trivia

Playing background music while hosting trivia.

“Many TV shows, like Who Want’s to be a Millionaire have looping background ethereal music playing. Doing so helps entertainers have dreaded moments of silence – But should you do it at your trivia game show event?”

Welcome back to the blog. I hope you are having a very good weekend and that your trivia hosting has gone well. As you can see the blog has went from strength to strength this week with plenty of posts to get your teeth stuck into so if you have had a busy week and haven’t had a chance to catch up yet make sure you make some time this weekend to get through the posts from this week as there was plenty of useful information in there for you to take a look at.

Today, we are going to look at a lightly more different subject which is one I have been asked a few times – Should you, or should you not, be playing background music whilst hosting trivia? It’s a tougher question then it originally seems and has quite a bit to think about!

In my trivia hosting experience there is one factor to mention and that’s it could all depend on the bar.

  • Do they have a music licence?
  • Does the bar folk want to be disturbed by music as well as a trivia taking place?
  • Do you want to play ethereal music like you hear in the background of shows like Minute to Win it or Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
  • If you play upbeat music, are you prepared if people jump to the dance floor and start dancing instead of playing trivia?


As with every single post we make on here the prime factors to take into consideration are the venue and the audience. These should always be put first in you trivia hosting so no matter what I may say here, keep asking yourself….will this work in my audience?


Playing background music while hosting trivia – Positives of doing it

Now then. Watch any trivia show on TV whether that be Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, or The Chase, or Jeopardy and it is littered with background music. This is to suit the medium as it avoids silence and adds to the drama of the whole occasion. If you are doing any sort of trivia that is going to be put on YouTube or broadcast or such like then you need to add music. Its that simple….it looks more professional, adds to the drama and makes the whole video presentation run smoother.

If we are talking about carrying this out in normal pub trivia and bar settings then you may need to reconsider. Now the main positive of doing it is for entertainment purposes and remember, at the end of the day your job is to provide entertainment! What I do in some of the venues I host trivia is have little bits of background music to introduce each section….so for example when the Sports Round starts, I have the theme tune to Grandstand (a long standing but sadly now defunct sports show) and for the movies round I play Pearl and Dean music! Get my drift? This works well as it introduces each right, makes the players aware it is about to start and then anyone in the toilet etc hears the music and dashes back for the trivia. It works even more effectively if you mix the rounds up then the music serves as a source of excitement. (What is coming next etc?)

I generally don’t like to have music on in the bar when I am hosting the actual rounds but it might be an idea to have the usual music playing. It gives people something to listen to and means they can get some other entertainment if they are not playing the trivia. As I aid though, this is a case of the venue, its legal rights to play music and the size of the venue. I have more negative views on this so see below…


Playing background music while hosting trivia – Negatives

When you have read this, then you will know that I have a little bias here as other than my music introduction rounds I generally dislike the use of background music…

First off, if done incorrectly it can sound cheesy and ruin the professional nature of your quiz. If you are running a quiz for serious players then you never ever want to use music as it wont work. If it’s a more jovial quiz then yes perhaps use it.

You also don’t need to be worried about the “dreaded silence” as if you are running a good quiz anyway, the people will be too busy playing, competing and discussing answers than trying to hear the background music that is being played .

Finally, one thing I have had complaints about as a host and have complained about myself as a player is that the music can be off putting. If you are trying to rack your brains to think of an answer then it can be very very off putting to have a pop song or a theme tune playing in the background. My one pet hate is when the hosts have a music round, then play different music when you are trying to think!


Playing background music while hosting trivia – Conclusion

Do you need more information on this topic?  There are some great points about this topic which you can check out on the Trivia Bliss website.  Their site has some great suggestions for hosting fun and engaging trivia games.

So all in all there we have it….I have considered both sides of what is a very interesting argument about whether music should be played in the background when hosting a trivia event but my opinion is firmly to keep it light and sparse. Playing music throughout the whole event cheapens the trivia and most of the time is not really necessary. Using it to introduce rounds is the most I feel any host should be using background music.

Well that is all for today and I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the subject. What do you do? Do you agree with me? Do you think I am totally wrong? Then get in touch, leave a comment and as always your feedback will be listened to and acted up. Until next time, happy trivia hosting and I hope you check back tomorrow for the latest blog update! Enjoy!

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