You can now download game soundtracks as standalones from Steam
The old system of treating soundtracks as DLC is finally going to be ditched and tracks will be easier to find and be organised
For all this time, Steam has treated game soundtracks as DLC (that's downloadable content, non gamers). Which meant that you could only download a soundtrack if you owned the base game. If you wanted to download it on to your PC, you would need to have the game installed.
Also, it was troublesome dealing with managing that music because Steam has no built-in functionality to handle these downloaded tracks. You would have to browse through your hard drive manually or access it via the DLC tab in the game properties menu in your Steam library.
Steam is finally changing that. From now on, at least for new releases.
Valve has unveiled a new system for game soundtracks on Steam that will "decouple them from their associated games and allow them to be sold standalone as a new 'soundtrack' app type.
That basically means that customers will now be able to purchase soundtracks without purchasing the base game. They can also download the soundtrack without downloading the base game.
You will also be able to browse and manage the soundtracks that you own and have downloaded directly from the new Steam library.You can now configure a Steam "music" directory where all soundtrack content will be placed, rather than having to locate it in subdirectories of game content.
For developers this new system means that they can upload and manage soundtrack content entirely through the partner site, without using steamcmd. Developers can also sell soundtracks where the base game itself is not available for sale on Steam.
These 'standalone' tracks will all be available in a "standard" MP3 format but can also be offered in optional higher-quality formats, like FLAC or WAV, and can also contain "bits of associated content" like album art or liner notes that can be accessed from the soundtrack's details page.
Steam has also added a new interface that will enable "common actions" for soundtracks, such as playback, browsing, and managing content.
The new system is live, but it will take some time to really make a difference because all your existing soundtracks will continue to be treated as DLC unless developers convert them. Valve has created a tool to automate this process for developers but till they really get on to doing it, you have to keep accessing the old tracks the way you used to - the tedious way. This also means that old tracks might be in danger of not being converted at all.
"This is an initial release of these features for partners. We're planning on launching these features in a wider way, including a sale event, on January 20," Valve said in the announcement.
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