How to Add and Play Music Tracks to Stream in OBS

As a live streamer and content creator, having the right background music can set the mood and engage your viewers. Streaming software like OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) makes it easy to add audio tracks and playlists to your broadcasts. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process as an experienced streamer.

Gathering Music for Your Stream

The first step is collecting music tracks to use in your OBS streams. Here are some tips:

  • Use copyright-free music: To avoid DMCA takedowns, only use songs that are copyright-free or you have explicit rights to. Websites like StreamBeats and Pretzel Rocks offer free, stream-safe music.
  • Find playlists/albums: Rather than managing individual songs, look for full playlists or albums you can add to OBS. This saves time compared to adding tracks one-by-one.
  • Consider your stream genre: Pick instrumental background music that matches your content. For gaming, fast-paced electronic music works well. For just chatting, try chill hop or lofi hip hop.
  • Download tracks beforehand: Have your music files downloaded and organized ahead of time rather than scrambling to find songs mid-stream. MP3 and other common formats work.

Adding Music Sources in OBS

Once you’ve chosen your music, it’s time to add the tracks as sources in OBS Studio:

  • Open Audio Mixer: Click the Mixer button to open up the audio mixer panel. This allows you to control levels, filtering, etc. for each source.
  • Create Media Source: Click the + button in the Sources section and select Media Source. Give it a name like “Stream Beats 1” and select the first music file.
  • Adjust audio properties: In the mixer, expand the source’s audio properties. Adjust the gain to balance with your mic, add filters if needed, etc.
  • Repeat for additional tracks: Follow the same steps to add more media sources for each playlist or album you want to include.

Playing and Controlling Music in Your Scenes

With your music sources added, you can now easily control them during your stream:

  • Add sources to scenes: Drag your audio sources into the Scenes panel where you want that music available. I typically add music tracks to my intro, intermission, and outro scenes.
  • Use hotkeys: Set up hotkey bindings to toggle sources on/off or control volume. This lets you quickly fade music in and out on the fly.
  • Layer tracks: Play multiple music tracks at once by enabling overlapping sources in a scene. Lower their volumes and add some variety.
  • Preload tracks: If you have delays or lag when enabling a music source, right-click and select Preload. This will load it ahead of time to prevent issues.
  • Remember to toggle off: Don’t forget to turn music sources off when switching to other scenes to prevent the audio from still playing in the background.

Final Tips for OBS Music

Here are some additional tips from my years of streaming experience:

  • Always test your audio ahead of going live. Music levels that sound good on headphones can peak the stream audio.
  • Use media keys on your keyboard to control the native music player under OBS when possible. This avoids disabling sources.
  • Setup playlists in a music player app to enable true shuffle functionality. This prevents hearing repeats.
  • Keep music files organized on a dedicated streaming hard drive to easily manage everything.