Steam is finally giving soundtracks some much-needed love


You can buy and download a soundtrack without the base game

In a long-overdue change, Valve is improving the way soundtracks are handled through Steam.

Under the previous structure, soundtracks on Steam were classified internally as DLC, a decision that initially made some sense but has proven to be prohibitive for developers and users alike.

Going forward, developers can use a new “soundtrack” app type. Here’s what that means for us:

  • Customers can now purchase soundtracks without purchasing the base game.
  • Customers can now download soundtracks without downloading the base game.
  • Customers can browse and manage their owned and downloaded soundtracks directly from the new Steam library.
  • Customers can configure a Steam “music” directory where all soundtrack content will be placed, rather than having to locate it in subdirectories of game content.
  • Developers can upload and manage soundtrack content entirely through the partner site, without using steamcmd.
  • Developers can sell soundtracks where the base game itself is not available for sale on Steam.

Buying and listening to music on Steam is going to be much less of a chore, in other words.

Aside from those user-experience fixes, Steam is promising several new features for soundtracks. Developers will be able to incorporate multiple quality levels (so users can opt-in for high-quality audio files), and there’s the ability to offer “bits of associated content, including album art and liner notes.”

On the front end, Valve is also rolling out a minimalist UI for soundtracks in the Steam library.

Existing Steam soundtracks won’t be automatically upgraded with the new features, but Valve is providing developers with a conversion tool to make the “DLC”-to-“soundtrack” transition easier.

“This is an initial release of these features for partners,” the company explained in a post to the Steamworks Development group. “We’re planning on launching these features in a wider way, including a sale event, on January 20. We’re excited to release, even in this early state, so we can get more feedback from both partners and customers and figure out what makes sense to do next.”

Steam Soundtrack Updates [Steamworks Development]