How to listen to music with friends online
These days when it’s more difficult to visit friends and hang out, we are all turning to the internet with solutions to keep us sane in some way.
It is then normal for you to ask yourself: can I listen to music simultaneously with my friends?
None of the major subscriptions seem to offer any kind of group experience, but there are some services available that can allow you to chill out with your peers and vibrate along with some tunes. We explore how to listen to music with friends online.
How to create a listening room with JQBX
In the early 2010s there was a fashion for “listening rooms“. They were online portals that allowed people to enjoy their music libraries in real time with others on the Internet.
Jump a decade forward and many of the big players back then, like Turntable.fm, are gone, but there are still some apps that can make a virtual party a reality.
You can use JQBX (jukebox), OutLoud or Jukestar, but for this tutorial we will show you how to get JQBX up and running. It is available on iOS, Android, macOS, and through a web portal. You will also need a Spotify Premium account as well as the guests joining the party, otherwise the app is free.
Getting started with JQBX
You can use JQBX on multiple devices, but for this tutorial we will focus on the web portal as it allows anyone to access the service. However, the steps are very similar in the mobile app and the MacOS app, so most of the steps should still apply.
Go to the JQBX site and click the Sign in to web application button. Now you will be asked to connect JQBX to Spotify, so click the Sign in with Spotify button, enter your account details and click the OK button.
Once this is done, you will be greeted by a pop-up box that welcomes you to JQBX. Take a look at the instructions to familiarize yourself with the options, then click anywhere outside the box to close it and start using the service.
The main interface shows the most popular rooms that are currently open. You can join one of them if you want, but the option you’ll want to click on is Create Room, which you’ll find in the upper left corner of the screen.
On the next page you can set the conditions of your room. First, give it a name, then select if you want it to be public or private. We recommend the latter because it means you can control who joins the party. When selected, the Password box will appear, so create one that you can share with your friends when you send them the invitation.
Below you will see a box marked Optional. This box can be expanded to set the maximum number of DJs (people who can select songs) and other settings. For now, we suggest that you leave this as is and go directly to the box Do you want to invite your friends?
Enter the email addresses of the people you want to join your room here, and they’ll be emailed the link once the room is up and running.
You can also invite them from the controls inside the room, so there is no need to worry too much now. To finish the process, click the Create room button and you can start spinning those discs.
Using the listening room in JQBX
When creating a room, the interface seems quite sparse. On the left is the queue column, but it will be empty, but you can use the search option to find songs or click the sync button to link to the JQBX :: playlist that was created automatically when you linked your account (more on this in a minute).
The top section of the center panel tells you that there are no DJs, so it seems that the ill will of “The Smiths’ Panic” has been fulfilled. You can rectify this by clicking the “Be a DJ” button, but read on first. In the lower section you will find the Chat window, with the text box at the bottom.
Lastly, on the right is the current guest list and the dial at the top where you can vote for songs by clicking the thumb icons.
To get started, you must first have at least one track in your playlist, so click the Search button and type a track name in the search field at the top of the section.
A list of possible matches will appear, and you can click the little + symbol to add them. With a few on your list, it’s time to take control of the decks.
Click the “Be a DJ” button and the song at the top of your playlist will start playing. This will continue until one of your guests joins and clicks the “Be a DJ” button on their screen. From this point on, the control will change from one to the other as each song ends, giving everyone an even number of turns.
You can fill your list with individual songs or select them from existing playlists in your Spotify account. JQBX also creates custom playlists when you connect your account, so you can add songs to create a new collection or star songs while in JQBX and they will be automatically added to the JQBX :: Star Playlist.
There are several other features that you can explore with JQBX, but you should be able to explore them the more you use the service. Meanwhile, enjoy music with your friends. To see what alternatives are to Spotify, also check out our guide to the best music streaming services.