YouTube gave musical artists another way of delivering content to viewers through its live streaming service. Through live streaming, artists and producers broadcast performances in real time, with the added benefit of interacting with viewers.

But streaming music on YouTube doesn’t always have to be about live performances. You can also broadcast pre-recorded content. That’s what we’ll guide you through in this tutorial.

We’ll teach you how to live stream files on your PC using OBS Studio.

How to Stream Music on YouTube

  1. Create a YouTube account.
  2. On the homepage, click the Create button near the upper right corner. Then click “Go live” from the drop-down menu.
  3. YouTube will ask you to create a channel. Set your channel name and proceed. You’ll go back to the home page.
  4. Repeat the second step. This time you will end up in the YouTube Studio dashboard. You will see a notice saying, “Live streaming isn’t available right now.” Click the “Enable” button below it.
  5. YouTube Studio will ask you to verify your account through your mobile phone number. Perform the required steps. There is a 24-hour wait time before you can start streaming.
  6. Once the waiting period ends, do Step 2 again. You now have access to the studio’s streaming features.
  7. Download and install OBS Studio.
  8. Right-click on OBS’s shortcut on your desktop. Go to the Compatibility tab. Check “Run this program as an administrator.” Click “Apply” then “OK”.
    • This is a vital step as it eliminates communication issues between OBS and your PC.
  9. Run OBS but cancel the setup wizard. Go straight to “Settings” on the menu bar or from the options in the lower right corner of the main dashboard.
  10. Click “Output” and select “Advanced” under “Output Mode”.
    • On the “Streaming” tab, select either your dedicated GPU (Nvidia, AMD) or your CPU (X264) for the encoder.
      • Streaming music files and pre-recorded videos isn’t too resource-intensive. So, you should be fine with your CPU as your encoder if you don’t have a dedicated graphics card. But we recommend always using a dedicated graphics card if you have it.
    • Set the bitrate anywhere from 4500 to 6000 Kbps. This is the recommended bitrate for a 1080p at 60fps video quality stream. Your internet has to maintain an upload speed of at least 6 Mbps.
    • If your upload speed is high enough, you can boost your bitrate to around 9000 Kbps.
    • Click “Apply.”
  11. Go to “Audio”. Your OBS sample rate must match your computer’s. To check your PC’s sample rate, right-click on the speaker icon on your taskbar. Open sound settings, then click on “Sound Control Settings” from the related settings on the left side of the window.
    • On the “Playback” tab, right-click on your active output device, then “Properties”. On the “Advanced” tab, you’ll see your PC’s sample rate in the “Default Format” section. We suggest setting it to “24 bit, 44100 Hz (Studio Quality)”. Hit “Apply” then “OK”.
    • Go back to OBS’s audio settings, and set the sample rate as what you had set on your PC. Click “Apply”.
    • If your sample rates don’t match, you may get popping, crackling, and buzzing sounds from your audio.
    • OBS will require you to quit and restart the app if you change the sample rate.
  12. Now, go to “Video” and set both Base and Output resolutions to 1080p. You can set it higher, depending on your monitor’s native resolution. Click “Apply” then “OK”.

Quit OBS for now. We’ll move on to setting up a media player for integration into the streaming software.

Streaming Music Files From Your PC

  • To stream YouTube music live, you’ll need VLC media player. Download and install the app.
    • Make sure you install VLC in the default directory on your operating system, otherwise OBS may have trouble detecting it.
  • Run VLC and create a playlist by clicking “View” then “Playlist” on the menu bar.
  • Drag and drop the files on the playlist. Place them in the order that you want.
  • Save your playlist by right-clicking and selecting “Save Playlist to file.” Make sure you save it somewhere that’s easily accessible.
  • Run OBS. On the “Scenes” panel, rename the default scene to something sensible, like “Main Music”.
  • On the “Sources” panel, add VLC as a source by clicking the plus (+) sign and selecting “VLC Video Source”. Select “Create New” then click “OK”.
  • The properties window will pop up. Click the plus (+) sign then “Add files.”
  • Locate and open the playlist you created on VLC.
  • Back to VLC properties on OBS, select whether or not you want the tracks to loop or shuffle. Then click “OK”.
    • The files will play instantly once you hit the “OK” button.
    • Highlight “VLC Video Source” on the “Sources” panel to access the media controls below the preview window. You can pause, play, stop, or move on to the next or previous track on your created playlist from there.
    • If the song is playing but there’s no audio coming out, click the gear icon on VLC’s audio level bar on the “Audio Mixer” panel next to sources.
    • Click “advanced audio properties”.
    • On VLC’s “Audio Monitoring”, select “Monitor and Output”.
  • The same steps apply if you want to stream YouTube live music videos.
  • If you’re just playing audio, then you’ll need a visual placeholder, like the now-iconic Lofi Girl or perhaps your album cover art. Here’s how to do it.
    • In the same scene, make VLC invisible by clicking on its eye icon on “Sources”.
    • Still, on the “Sources” box, click the plus (+) sign then “Image”.
    • Select the image you want to be displayed while music plays. OBS accepts most image formats, including GIFs. GIFs are an excellent alternative to still images because they are animated and offer a bit more visual value.
    • Click “OK”. Then resize the image by clicking and dragging the red border. Crop it by doing the same thing, but this time, hold down the alt key while dragging.

Set the orientation and other image preferences by right-clicking on the image on preview, then going through various options in “Transform”.

  • Similarly, you can display multiple image files in slideshow format by choosing “Image Slide Show” instead of just “Image” from “Sources”.
  1. On OBS’s main menu bar, click “Edit”, then “Advanced Audio Settings”. Untick tracks 3 to 6 on all your audio input devices. Close the window.
  2. Back on YouTube, click the “Create” icon in the upper right corner of the homepage, then “Go live”. On the “Stream” tab on the sidebar, configure your broadcast preferences. Set the category to “Music”. Copy the stream key.
  3. Go back to OBS. Go to settings, then Stream. Select “YouTube - RTMPS” from “Service”, then paste your YouTube stream key on the field. Hit “Apply”, then “OK”.
  4. Check your audio volume levels. Double-check if the files play without issues.
  5. Mute all other apps that may make sounds by right-clicking the Speakers icon on the taskbar, then “Open volume mixer.” Mute everything not relevant to your live stream by clicking on the speaker icon below each application.
  6. Once your audiovisual preferences are locked in on OBS, click “Start Streaming.”
  7. Go to YouTube Studio. When it starts receiving the feed from OBS, click “Go live” in the upper right corner to begin your live stream.

You can let the stream go for as long as you like. Remember to check in every once in a while, to see if everything is in order. This is especially important if you don’t have a stable internet connection. Note that the streaming software encoding process takes up a good amount of computer resources and bandwidth.

Why Live Stream Pre-Recorded Music on YouTube?

You will notice that 247 YouTube music streams have blown up in popularity over the past few years. And with more and more people adopting an out-of-office working setup, the audience for low-volume background music is growing.

People like live-streamed music because it’s like radio without annoying DJs with their cringe-addled jokes. A YouTube Premium subscription has the benefit of chilling to music without ads. It’s great passive entertainment for people as they study, do chores, or type away in their home offices. And you, as a creator, can provide said entertainment.

Growth-wise, live streaming music on YouTube is a sort of cheat for newbie content creators. Like we mentioned, you can let your live stream go on indefinitely. One of the positive outcomes from this is getting fast-tracked into the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).

Right now, a ticket into the YPP requires over 4,000 public watch hours in the last 12 months and more than 1,000 subscribers, among other things. Longform live music streams have more potential to attract subscribers and get views in a shorter time than if you’re putting out scheduled fresh materials.

A 247 broadcast cuts through time zones. With the proper tags and keywords in your description, your music will reach a worldwide audience. Dipping into chat every so often will boost engagement and add more substance to the session.

When you do make it into the YPP, monetization comes mainly from listener/viewer tips, regardless of whether or not you’re streaming original music. As an independent artist, the best thing YouTube live stream music can do for you is to get your brand out there.

You don’t even have to stream original content. You can broadcast copyright-free music, which the platform graciously provides through the YouTube Audio Library. And a lot of the tracks are bangers created by very talented artists. They’re free for download. Set up a playlist on VLC with these songs, and you have a legit music stream going. We highly suggest crediting the artists in your video description.