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How to play custom music on your XBox 360

Guide last updated on
June 2, 2009 at 9:14 p.m. PDT

Listening to some of the background music for games on the XBox 360 can get old, but depending on what kind of hardware you have, it's not that hard to change around the music, but still keep the sound effects and everything else.

How to play custom music with your iPod or other portable music (.mp3) player

1. Plug your portable music player into one of the USB slots on your XBox 360. Then navigate to the My XBox then Music Library tab, pictured below.

Music Library tab on the XBox Live interface screen

2. It may take a minute or two, or just a few seconds, but if your portable music player is compatible with the XBox 360 it should show up in this list. Select it.

Select your portable music player from the available devices

3. Select the song(s) or album(s) you want to listen to and that's it. Now you can play your games as you normally would, but with different music.

4. If you want to change the music while you're playing a game, that's also easy. Simply press your XBox Guide Button.

XBox 360 Guide Screen

5. Press to the Right one time and you'll be on the Media Tab, from this spot you can switch tracks, change the volume and control other aspects of the music.

Media tab from the XBox 360 Guide Screen

If you want to quit listening to your own .mp3 collection and get back to the game's music, just stop your music and everything will work like normal.

List of known compatible portable music (.mp3) players on the XBox 360

Here's a list of the known compatible portable music players for the XBox 360. Other portable music players may work as well.

  • iPod, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, iPod Video (5th generation)
  • Microsoft's Zune player
  • Creative Muvo 1GB mp3 player
  • *Creative Zen mp3 Player
  • *Creative Zen Micro mp3 Player

* Items marked with an asterisk may require a fireware update before they'll work properly.

Streaming music through your PC to your XBox 360

Some people have mixed results trying to stream music or videos through their PC to their XBox 360, but here's the steps to do so. You'll need:

  • Windows XP with service pack 2 or better (Windows Vista or newer versions of Windows will also work)
  • Windows Media Player 11 or better
    • Instead of Windows Media Player you can use Microsoft's Zune software, although this guide doesn't give specific examples for that software. Setting it up is very similar though.
  • A network router or ethernet hub that's connected to both of your XBox 360 and PC.

1. Once you have everything hooked up and/or downloaded, start up Windows Media Player 11 and click on the Library tab and then the Media Share option.

Windows Media Player 11 Library Media Share

2. Click the "Share my media to" check box and wait for the XBox 360 logo to appear in the window. Select it and click Allow button and then the OK button.

Allow the XBox 360 to share media files from Windows Media Player 11

If you've made it this far, now you can access your songs from the Media Library tab on your XBox 360 dashboard.


Note: Most of these steps require tinkering with your computer's settings. Nothing in here should do anything harmful to your computer, but proceed with caution and at your own risk.

Q: I can't figure out how to hook up my XBox 360 to my router.
A: Watch this video. It will walk you through the process.

Q: My PC isn't recognizing my XBox 360 in Windows Media Player.
A: Try upgrading your router's firmware to the latest version. This has solved the issue for a few users.

Q: I've upgraded my firmware, but my PC isn't recognizing my XBox 360 in Windows Media Player.
A: You can also try deleting the DRM folder for your windows profile. You can find instructions for doing so here.

Q: It's still not working!
A: More than likely a hardware or software firewall of some sort is blocking your XBox 360 and PC from being able to communicate. This can sometimes be a very difficult issue to resolve, and solutions can vary on a case by case basis. If you're still having trouble at this point, hit a search engine and type in the problems you're coming across.


Artecz said on March 13, 2012 at 9:54 p.m.

Thanks for the tip!

darkjuste said on February 7, 2013 at 10:06 a.m.

you must update this to the new xbox layout


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