What Format Do I Need to Play Songs on my Xbox 360?

“What format do songs have to be in to play them on my Xbox 360 if I use a storage device?”
Microsoft has put a great deal of effort into reliably supporting many audio and video formats on the Xbox 360. For the most part, as long as the songs were not purchased in a protected format from the iTunes Music Store, they will play on your Xbox 360. Whether the songs are stored on your Xbox 360 hard drive or on a drive connected by USB, the same formats will play. Depending on what type of song formats you are trying to play, you might need to take a few additional steps to make the files work.

For WMA, MP3, WMV, MP4, MPEG, and many AVI DivX files, playback on your XBox 360 console should just work. If you want to play AAC files from iTunes Music Store, you will need an additional download from the Xbox Live Marketplace.
To add free support for AAC on your Xbox 360, follow these steps:

  • From your Dashboard, go to Game Marketplace and open All Games.
  • Scroll down to the letter O in the alphabetical list.
  • Choose Optional Media Update, then Optional iPod Support.
  • Select Confirm Download.

Once your download is complete, select Continue and return to the Xbox Dashboard. This is a free download, but the actual install is unique to your Xbox 360, so if you go to a friends house and want to connect your iPod, you will need to repeat these steps.
Music and Video Formats Not Supported
The following formats are not supported by your Xbox 360 console. While this is not an exhaustive list, it does include the most common formats you might run into.
FLAC, APE, Real (RMVB, RM, RA), QuickTime (MOV), Audible (AA), iTunes protected files, MKV