How to listen to music while playing
For some of us, gaming sessions don’t feel right unless we have our favorite tracks in the background. Fortunately, all of the latest next-gen gaming consoles come with the option to fire up a music player while we run, explore, or fight.
If you’ve never tried this before, give it a try. While the science on listening to music while playing is thin on the ground, research shows that pasting a few songs can increase productivity and mood at work, and help with memory while learning.
Much depends on your individual reaction to music, the type of music you listen to, and its volume. So if this doesn’t suit you the first time around, it may be worth switching to another musical vibe before you give up on the idea.
Whether you have a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or Xbox Series S, you can load a few playlists of your choice. It’s not difficult to do and will only take you a few extra minutes before you start playing.
Listening to music on a Sony PlayStation 5
You have two choices for listening to music on PS5: Spotify and Apple Music. Either way, you’ll need an account, but you don’t need to be a paid subscriber to use the play feature on Spotify. Apple Music, on the other hand, doesn’t have a free tier, so you’ll definitely need to spend a few bucks to get started.
On your console, go to Media so All applications to find and download the music app of your choice, after which you will need to follow the instructions to log into your account. To avoid having to enter your username and password, PlayStation will prompt you to use Spotify or the app on your phone to sign in.
[Related: Instantly improve Spotify by organizing your playlists]
You can also play songs through the apps of these services for the PS5. To listen to music while you play, you can simply launch the music app, start playing, and then launch the game you want. If you press the PlayStation button while playing, you will see a music playback panel. Select it and you will be able to adjust the volume, pause playback, browse tracks, and turn shuffle and repeat functions on or off as needed.
Alternatively, you can also start or switch to a playlist while you’re in a game, even if you haven’t launched the music app first. To do this, press the PlayStation button on the controller, navigate to Music, and the menu will display a choice of playlists for you to browse, while the game you’re playing remains on the screen in the background.
For best results, you’ll probably want to turn the volume down regardless of what game you’re playing so that you can hear your music, but how you do it will vary depending on the game. Some titles have background music anyway. played quite silently by default, or even automatically turn off their own music when it detects that a music app is also running, so it’s not something you will necessarily need to do for every game.
Listening to music on an Xbox Series X / S
As for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, there are a few music apps you can use at the time of writing, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. We’ll walk you through the process with Spotify, but it’s similar regardless of which music app you decide to use.
First of all, you need to find the application of your choice among the Shop portal on the Xbox Home screen and sign in to your account. In the case of Spotify, this will work whether or not you are a paid user. You can also sign in using the app on your phone or through a web browser on your computer to avoid having to type your password on your console.
To listen to music in the background on an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, you can first launch the music app, start playback and then switch to the game, or you can start your game and then load your songs via the following. To do this, press the Xbox button on the controller and choose the music service from the list of applications.
[Related: Best Xbox One controllers: Gamepads for every player]
When you select Spotify, you’ll see controls to skip tracks, pause playback, turn repeat and shuffle on or off, and switch to another playlist in your library. There is also a handy slider to control the balance between the volumes of your music app and the rest of the sounds coming from your Xbox.
As with the PlayStation 5, some Xbox games may play music or play other sound effects that interfere with your background music app, although the ones we tested mute their own sounds accordingly. If you have any issues, dive into the audio settings of the game you are playing and turn down the volume or mute the game audio from there.