Microsoft has always included features for Xbox that allow you to use your console for purposes other than gaming. And while you may agree that non-gaming features for Xbox consoles are sometimes an abhorrent misstep, especially with the Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S consoles manage multimedia features very well.

Playing background music through your Xbox Series X|S, so you can listen to your favorite tunes while gaming, is just one of the ways the Xbox Series X|S balances multimedia far better than its predecessors. But what are the best ways to listen to background music on your Xbox Series X|S, and how does it work? Let’s find out.


1. The Best Ways to Stream Background Music on Xbox Series X|S

The most common way you might want to listen to background music on your Xbox Series X|S is through streaming. Luckily, the most prevalent streaming services you may have an account for are available on your Xbox. Here are a couple of examples:


Spotify is one of the undisputed kings of streaming music, allowing you to access countless songs, albums, and playlists for a monthly subscription. And with the Spotify app for Xbox, you can stream all the music you have on Spotify straight onto your Xbox and in the background.

The Spotify app seamlessly integrates with your Xbox Series X|S guide menu to allow for volume mixing between music, gameplay, and party chat, while providing quick tools for switching between playlists and navigating your music.

And because of how long the app has been around, there are plenty of tips and tricks for Spotify that you can implement by using the app on your Xbox for background music.

Using Spotify on your Xbox Series X|S is one of the most convenient ways to play background music on the platform. And if you use the service already, all your curated music will be instantly available on your Xbox.

Download: Spotify Xbox on the Microsoft Store.

Apple Music

With Spotify being available as a background player for streaming music, it’s only natural that one of the biggest rivals to Spotify, Apple Music, is also available on your Xbox Series X|S.

Apple Music boasts similar benefits to Spotify but doesn’t include a free tier membership with ads like Spotify. But Apple Music does match Spotify in terms of features and the sheer amount of music available to stream.

Some artists also exclusively release music through Apple Music, withholding it from other streaming services. Artists like Drake and Taylor Swift, for example, exclusively released music early through Apple Music.

Regardless of the service you use, Apple Music and Spotify are great ways to stream background music on your Xbox Series X|S. And all the features associated with Spotify are available through Apple Music.

But if you’re choosing a service for the first time, you may want to look into the differences between Apple Music and Spotify and get a clearer picture of which service best suits you and your Xbox.

Download: Apple Music on the Microsoft Store.

2. The Best Ways to Play CDs as Background Music on Xbox

Another way you might want to play background music on your Xbox Series X is through a collection of CDs. Luckily, multiple officially supported Microsoft apps allow you to play CDs on your Xbox, but playing CDs as background music is harder than you might expect. Here are some examples:

Windows Media Player

One of the best ways to play CDs in the background of your Xbox Series X is to use the official Windows Media Player application. While simple, Windows Media Player is compatible with numerous forms of music and videos you may want to play through Xbox.

Windows Media Player provides all the simple functions you would expect from a media player: picking up album art and artist categories as well as allowing you to create and save playlists.

In terms of using the app to specifically listen to CDs in the background of your Xbox Series X, Windows Media Player exceeds expectations. By providing background music through the guide function of your Xbox, or its own always-on-top mini-player, Windows Media Player is more than equipped for background music.

As a simple way of listening to CDs in the background of your Xbox Series X, Windows Media Player should suffice when it comes to your requirements.

Download: Windows Media Player on the Microsoft Store.

Audio CD Player

Another way you can listen to CDs on your Xbox Series X is by using the official Audio CD Player app.

Much like Windows Media Player, Audio CD Player provides simple media playing functions. The main difference, however, is that the app is entirely catered to playing CDs and doesn’t support background music playing while doing things on your Series X. So, this is ideal for background music if you’ve got friends over, for example.

If you simply want to listen to your CD collection, the Audio CD Player for Xbox Series X|S will automatically pull album art, release dates, and listings by simply inserting a CD into your Xbox. Unfortunately, the app will silence itself if you leave the application, preventing you from playing the CD in the background of your Xbox.

But if an easy-to-use CD player to chill out to your favorite CDs is what you’re looking for, the Audio CD Player app is the easiest way to listen to CDs on Xbox.

Download: Audio CD Player on the Microsoft Store.

3. How to Listen to Digital Background Music on Xbox Series X|S

A final way you can listen to background music on your Xbox Series X|S is by transferring the music you own digitally onto your Xbox and using specific apps. Here are a couple of examples of apps that allow you to listen to digital music in the background of your Xbox Series X|S:


With the official SoundCloud app for Xbox, you can upload music and listen to it on any platform that supports SoundCloud. And by using SoundCloud on Xbox Series X|S, you can listen to any tracks you can access in the background of your console.

However, SoundCloud is quite restrictive with the music it allows you to upload onto its service, usually because of copyright infringement. This means that less publicly known artists are fully available through the app, but you may struggle when uploading more well-known artists.

SoundCloud does have many other features that still make it a viable music player on Xbox. Whether you want to share music from SoundCloud to social media or use the service as a free digital music player for lesser-known music, SoundCloud does have its benefits.

But in terms of listening to background digital music on your Xbox Series X|S, while it is possible through SoundCloud, you may want to find a less restrictive application.

Download: SoundCloud on the Microsoft Store.

Simple Background Music Player

As a more universally applicable background music player for digital music, the Simple Background Music Player allows you to play any digital music you own in the background of your Xbox Series X|S.

The only issue with the Simple Background Music Player is that it requires an external USB drive to read and play music.

Before playing background music, you’ll need to load all the digital music you want to listen to onto a USB drive. Specifically, you need to create a folder called Xbox Music Library and store your digital music within that folder.

While adding music to a USB can be quite fiddly, as long as you store your music in a correctly named folder and then plug your USB drive into the correct port on your Xbox, you can play your digital music through Simple Background Music Player.

And, just like other apps, Simple Background Music Player functions with the Xbox guide menu, allowing you to mix volume and control tracks while you game on your Xbox.

Download: Simple Background Music Player on the Microsoft Store.

Listen to Background Music Regardless of Format With Xbox Series X|S

Now you know some of the best ways to listen to music on your Xbox Series X|S despite any format restrictions you may experience. Hopefully, you can access your entire personal music library and listen to music stress-free while you game on Xbox.

You may even want to listen to some of the best video game soundtracks while gaming. After all, setting the right soundtrack as the backdrop to a game can be essential to your overall experience or even performance while gaming.

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