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How to play background music on Zoom—without sharing your screen

Share music on Zoom for fitness classes and more

By Justin Pot · January 20, 2023
A hero image for Zoom app tips with the Zoom logo on a blue background

Maybe you're running online fitness classes that need music. Or maybe you want to play some lo-fi beats while your team discusses quarterly earnings. Whatever the case, sometimes you want to share music during a Zoom call without sharing your screen.

You could just hit play and hope your microphone picks it up, but that's going to be low quality. Plus, every time someone speaks, the music will cut in and out. Instead, you can share high-quality music over Zoom, without sharing your screen, thanks to a hidden setting. Here's how to find it and some tips for using it.

How to share music on Zoom

Here's how to share audio on Zoom without sharing your screen in two simple steps. 

  1. With your Zoom meeting window open, select Share Screen from the Zoom control bar. 

  2. In the modal window that appears, select the Advanced tab, then click Computer Audio > Share

Zoom's share screen window. The advanced tab is highlighted with arrows pointing to the Computer Audio option and the Share button.

Zoom will now share whatever audio your computer is playing. Go ahead and play some music in Spotify, Apple Music, or even YouTube—it doesn't matter. Everyone on the call will hear your music without seeing your screen. This is perfect if you need a particular playlist for your online workout class. It's also great if you just want to set the proper tone for your Zoom hangout session, or even a meeting.

Zoom audio not working? Here's how to prevent common errors when playing music on Zoom

Sharing audio only in Zoom is straightforward enough, but there can be some potential hiccups. Here are a few tips to make sure your musical meeting goes well.

  • Do a trial run first. If you've never shared your audio, you'll need to install a special audio driver. Consider trying it out in a test session before using it for real because you don't want to be dealing with drivers during a call. (It only takes a minute or two, but it'll be awkward.)

  • Check your volume levels. Sometimes people will have trouble hearing the music or hearing each other over the music. It's hard to tell this is happening, as the host, so be intentional about it: ask someone else on the call if they can hear both you and the music. You can adjust the volume in your music app or your system volume until things are just right.

  • Consider using headphones. Occasionally, people might hear a weird echo when you're sharing audio. As the Zoom DJ, the simplest way to prevent this is by wearing headphones.

Done with the music? You can stop sharing your computer's audio by clicking the red Stop Share button at the top of your Zoom window. 

The stop share button in Zoom

Done with the meeting altogether? Give a quick wave and click End in your Zoom control bar. 

Related reading:

This article was originally published in February 2021. The most recent update, with contributions from Jessica Lau, was in January 2023.

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