We love plenty of gaming soundtracks, but sometimes you want to rock your own playlist while doing your thing. Some games don’t always need clear audio to give you the edge, like Call of Duty TDM sessions (24/7 Shipment) or maybe you just want your own road trip album while cruising around the universe in No Man’s Sky. Here’s how to listen to music while gaming on the PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, or PC.
How to listen to music while gaming on PS4 or PS5
The PS4 and PS5 have a Spotify app built in so you can listen to practically anything as long as you have a login. Head to the PS Store and download the Spotify app to your dashboard so you can pick your songs. On the PS5, you'll need to shift over from your games to the media tab to find Spotify once it's installed. You can login using your account details on the PS4/PS5 or use Spotify Connect to authorize the PlayStation from your phone or any other logged in device.
Once you’ve got the app up and running, you can then control music from the PS4 Quick Menu or PS5 Control Panel. Press the PS button in the middle of the controller to bring up the menu and you can scroll down to Spotify. From here you can skip songs or change the volume, which will be key to maximizing your enjoyment.
You love your favorite tunes, but if they’re causing you to take some Ls, you’re going to want to balance the music audio and game audio so you aren’t missing out on any important in-game sounds. It’ll be a different level depending on the headphone’s you’re using, and we do recommend using headphones. A good set like the HyperX Cloud III will bring out the best of both the music and the gameplay without muddying up your audio so each track’s fidelity is not compromised.
You can even use Spotify Connect to control your music from your phone so you don’t have to open up the Quick Menu and risk getting sniped in the midst of combat.
How to listen to music while gaming on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S
The Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S also have Spotify built-in, so you can follow pretty much all of the same steps above if that’s how you choose to listen to music (though instead of the PS button you’ll hit the Xbox Guide button, obvs). Once again, you'll definitely want a quality headset to make the most of both your music and the in-game action. Fortunately, the Cloud III is compatible with Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC!
The Xbox One also has a few more apps to enable music listening while you game. You can use download the Pandora or SoundCloud apps to listen to those music libraries in the same way, or you can listen to your own music from your PC’s hard drive. To listen to music housed on your PC while you’re gaming on your Xbox, open the Groove app on your Windows PC. Find the song or playlist you want to listen to and hit play in Groove, and at the bottom of the screen you’ll see Cast To Device. Use this to select your Xbox console from a list of devices that you can stream music to over DLNA. You can also upload your music library to OneDrive and then use the Groove App on the Xbox One to play music stored that at any time, even when your PC isn’t online. All of this is controlled through the Guide Menu as well.
How to listen to music while gaming on PC
This is probably the easiest way to listen to music while gaming, as PCs are the original multitaskers. Just open whatever source you want to listen to music from (Spotify, iTunes, Windows Media Player, YouTube in a browser) and then start playing your favorite playlist. Now launch the game you want to play and then alt-tab back over to the desktop. In the bottom right toolbar find the speaker icon and right-click it. Select Open Volume Mixer to bring up a list of all the programs on your PC that are making sound right now. Here you can individually adjust each program’s volume, balancing the music app with the game you’re playing until neither is overwhelming the other.
Learning to adjust audio like this will also help you tune other aspects of your gaming audio experience, like balancing your game audio and chat audio, too. If you have a pair of headphones with this functionality built-in, like the HyperX CloudX Flight, or the HyperX Cloud Alpha S, then they’ll have a handy volume mixer, letting you do it all without having to jump out of the game.
That’s about all you need to know to listen to music while playing a game, now you can own in CoD, Fortnite, or Valorant while blasting the Numa Numa song to your heart’s content!