How to Play Music on a Windows PC

Introduction

There are many options when it comes to playing and streaming music on your Windows 10 machine. Today's guide will go over the options your machine comes with out-of-the-box for your media playback needs.

This guide only specifically goes over built-in options that your Windows 10 PC comes equipped with out of the box. It will also touch upon 3rd party options that are very popular amongst users. All 3rd party options are a matter of preference and opinion and must be added to the machine.

? Select an option to play music on your PC.

  1. Groove Music
  2. Windows Media Player
  3. Something else

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There are many options when it comes to playing and streaming music on your Windows 10 machine. Today's guide will go over the options your machine comes with out-of-the-box for your media playback needs.

This guide only specifically goes over built-in options that your Windows 10 PC comes equipped with out of the box. It will also touch upon 3rd party options that are very popular amongst users. All 3rd party options are a matter of preference and opinion and must be added to the machine.

Groove Music is a music player app that was introduced by Windows 10 and its primary role is playing music stored locally on our devices. The Groove Music app is useful for many: it is one of the best universal Windows apps ever created and, with it, you can play your locally stored mp3 library, or even listen to the songs you have stored in your OneDrive.

As of December 31, 2017, Microsoft discontinued their Groove Music Pass service and is eliminating music purchases from the Store. That means that the pre-installed Groove Music app that comes with Windows 10 can now only be used as a basic media playback program.

Windows 10 groove music icon.

  1. To open the Groove Music app, click the Start Menu and scroll down the list of apps until you find the Groove Music shortcut. Click on Groove Music to launch the app.
    Windows 10 start menu icon highlighted with start menu expanded with Groove Music highlighted within.

  2. Once the Groove Music app is opened, you should see something similar to the screenshot below.
    Groove Music application. Screenshot.

  3. To add music to the Groove app, click or tap on the Show Menu button in the top left corner of the app, then press the Settings icon to the right of your name.
    Groove music app highlighting the menu button and expanded menu, with the settings icon highlighted within.

  4. On the Settings page, click or tap on Choose where to look for music.
    Groove music settings menu.

  5. Next, to add a new folder to the music library used by Groove Music, click or tap on the plus + button.
    Groove music add music prompt.

  6. Navigate to the location of the music folder you'd like to add, click on it once to select it, then click Add this folder to Music.
    Groove music browse for music dialog box.

  7. The songs in the selected folder are automatically added to the music library in Groove Music.
  8. If you want to add more folders to your music collection, repeat the same process for each new folder. Otherwise, click Done to return to the Settings page.
    Groove music add music dialog box.
  1. To open the Groove Music app, click the Start Menu and scroll down the list of apps until you find the Groove Music shortcut. Click on Groove Music to launch the app.
    Windows 10 start menu displaying groove music app.

  2. Once the Groove Music app is opened, you should see something similar to the screenshot below.
    Groove music app home screen.

  3. To start playing songs, select My music, and then click or tap on Songs on the right side of the app.
    Groove music my music section.

  4. Groove Music will then display a list of all your songs. Scroll down until you find the song you want to play and press the Play button which appears on your selection.
    Groove music browsing my music library.

  5. At the bottom of the window, Groove Music displays some useful buttons, such as Previous, Pause, and Next. There are also buttons for Volume, Shuffle, and Repeat.
    Groove music common play controls.

  6. If you would rather listen to a specific music album or artist, instead of browsing through your entire song library, you can also browse by selecting either Artists or Albums on the top side of the window.
    Groove music library display options.
Windows Media Player 12 is a common media player option built into Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 for playing music and video files. Windows Media Player has the ability to play music, rip music from and copy music to compact discs, burn discs in audio CD format, or as data discs with playlists such as an MP3 CD.
Windows Media Player icon.
  1. To open Windows Media Player, click the Start Menu and scroll down the list of apps until you find the Windows Media Player shortcut. Click on Windows Media Player to launch the app.
    Windows 10 launching windows media player from the start menu.

  2. Once Windows Media Player is opened, you should see something similar to the screenshot below.
    Windows media player interface.

  3. To add files to your music library, click Organize, then hold your mouse pointer over Manage Libraries and choose Music.
    Windows media player adding music to library.

  4. The next window will show you the current library locations. For Windows Media Player 12 to find your music, simply add the folders where your music is located. Click Add.
    Windows media player adding a music library location.

  5. Navigate to the location of the music folder you'd like to add, click on it once to select it, then click Add this folder to Music or OK.
    Windows media player selecting folder location for a new library item.

  6. Next, click Organize again, then click Apply media information changes.
    Windows media player applying changes to music library.

  7. Windows Media Player will begin adding music files from the location you previously specified. Depending on how large your music collection is, this process may take a good bit of time. Once complete, you’ll see your library with all of your music.
    Windows media player applying changes to music library.
  1. To open Windows Media Player, click the Start Menu and scroll down the list of apps until you find the Windows Media Player shortcut. Click on Windows Media Player to launch the app.
    Opening windows media player via the start menu.

  2. Once Windows Media Player is opened, you should see something similar to the screenshot below.
    Windows media player interface.

  3. You can browse your Music Library by Artist, Album or Genre. By clicking the arrow on the View button, you can choose three views: Icon, Tile and Details.
    Windows media player browse music library options.

  4. You can cycle through these different views simply by clicking on the View button itself.
    Windows media player view button.

  5. If you want to browse through your entire library quickly, click on Music on the left-hand side and then type in a term in the search box.
    Windows media player search bar.

  6. You can double-click a song at any time to begin playing it. Media controls are across the bottom of Windows Media Player.
    Windows media player common media listening controls.
While this guide goes over the built-in options for playing music on your Windows 10 PC, there are a number of 3rd Party options for playing and streaming music on your computer. Some of these options are web-based streaming services that you can access via any web browser that has an internet connection. Other options are software-based, meaning you will have to install them onto your Windows 10 PC in order to use them.
  • YouTube is a free video sharing website that makes it easy to watch online videos. You can even create and upload your own videos to share with others. Originally created in 2005, YouTube is now one of the most popular sites on the Web, with visitors watching around 6 billion hours of video every month.
    Google Chrome browser displaying the YouTube website.

  • Pandora is a free streaming music service that creates personalized "radio" stations based on an artist or song that you like. Once you have indicated a "seed" song or artist, Pandora gathers songs with similar qualities to play. These similar qualities are referred to as "music genomes" by Pandora. You can "fine tune" the music more to your liking by choosing "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" or to "never play" a song.
    Google Chrome browser displaying the Pandora website.

  • SoundCloud is a social music platform that anyone can use to share and listen to music for free. If you’re already familiar with other popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter, you can think of SoundCloud as a similar type of service, but for music enthusiasts of all kinds.
    Google Chrome browser displaying the Soundcloud website.

  • Bandcamp is an online music store as well as a platform for artist promotion that many independent artists are using to sell their music and merchandise direct to consumers in digital and physical formats. Many artists who post their music to Bandcamp will allow for their songs and albums to be streamed directly from the website before purchase, should you choose to do so.
    Google Chrome browser displaying the Bandcamp website.
  • Spotify launched in 2008, and it’s slowly changed the way millions of people listen to music over the course of the last decade. Think of it like a jukebox you only need to feed once, or a radio that plays what you want in between ads. Spotify’s music library contains everything from mainstream pop hits to obscure death metal classics. Have a favorite country artist that’s been out of print since you were young? They’re probably on Spotify. Looking for rain sounds? Good news, that's probably on Spotify as well.
    Spotify windows application interface.

  • iTunes is a media player made by Apple that is used for playing digital music or video files. iTunes is also used to purchase digital music files or subscribe to podcasts through Apple's iTunes Music Store. The iTunes player is also an interface on both the iPod and iPhone. The now hugely popular iTunes media player software was originally launched in 2001.
    iTunes windows application interface.

  • VLC Media Player (short for VLC) is a free and open source media player and multimedia framework written by the VideoLAN project. VLC is a portable multimedia player, encoder, and streamer supporting many audio and video codecs and file formats as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It is able to stream over networks and to transcode multimedia files and save them into various formats. While it does not have the same music library capabilities as iTunes or even Spotify, VLC is widely known as one of the most versatile media players available.
    VLC Media Player windows application interface.
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