You should always have backyard BBQ music for guests to enjoy. The music shouldn't be so loud it’s distracting, but enough to make it feel like a party. Set the volume to be loud enough that folks can hear it and recognize the songs the already know, but not loud enough that anyone has to speak up to overcome it. Keeping the music playing through the entirety of the party, dead air can make the atmosphere awkward.
We recommend setting up the music away from the grill, just to avoid any potential damage from heat or smoke to your gear. Find a spot in a corner, near the drinks, perhaps. These days, the easiest route is a Bluetooth speaker playing tunes from your smartphone, tablet, or nearby computer.
There are several Bluetooth speaker options out there, many under $40. Just find one that uses a rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to deal with any power supplies or extension cords. For tunes, we made a custom playlist through Spotify featuring lots of 60s and 70s R&B (think Motown and Stax records) and then fading into some moody electronic pop as the night wore on.