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Steam getting expanded support for Soundtracks with a Sale Event on January 20

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Valve have announced that they're going to be giving Soundtracks their own special section on Steam instead of them being a generic DLC listing.

In the Steamworks Development post, Valve said that all this will properly launch on January 20 with a sale event. However, they've already begun pushing some of the changes out there in public.

Currently, if you want the soundtrack to a game you have to own the game, and download it as a DLC with the game to access it through the Steam client. Not exactly ideal, in fact the whole way it was done was a bit rubbish. With a new dedicated Soundtrack "app type" you will be able to purchase a soundtrack you like completely independent from the actual game and download it. On top of that, you can have a dedicated music folder to store it all in so you don't have to hunt across Steam for all the files.

This isn't a shock though, it actually leaked out previously when it went live for a moment before being pulled which we got a shot of in this previous article. It will look something like this:

This also fixes an issue I bugged Valve about a few times over the years, where a developer accidentally set a soundtrack DLC as available for Linux even when the game isn't. Now it doesn't matter, you can just buy and enjoy it without issues—no fuss is how I like it.

Not stopping there though, Valve are expanding it. Multiple quality levels will be available, a new interface (like the above shot), album art, notes and more little additions like you might expect when buying music.

You will be able to use the Soundtrack checkbox when searching too (try this) like you could for DLC, Demos, Software and so on. As an example store page, Valve have already switched over the Portal 2 soundtrack to the new store page format (image here if you can't view it).

What do you think of this change? Quite nice I think.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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32 comments
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Ardje 9 January 2020 at 3:52 pm UTC
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I hope it doesn't end like the streaming video trials that stopped working 1 year ago.
buckysrevenge 9 January 2020 at 4:57 pm UTC
BielFPsValve should release a dedicate app for listening soundtracks in the smartphone (like Spotify). This could encourage developers to use this new tool and also customers to buy more soundtracks.
Absolutely. My primary pc for gaming is a htpc, I never listen to any game soundtracks I own as a consequence. An app like the fabled video app they were planning would be welcome on my phone and tablet.
einherjar 9 January 2020 at 4:58 pm UTC
PhiladelphusNice, I like it! It's always felt silly that I can't buy the soundtrack from a non-Linux game separate from the game itself.

I think it is also silly to buy a game, that includes the music (as it is played in the game) and then pay for the music as a DLC, to get "the game music". You already payed for it...
Purple Library Guy 9 January 2020 at 5:05 pm UTC
Patola
subNow, that the Epic Game Launcher implements more and more wanted Steam features, it's just a matter of time they reach close parity.
Are you kidding? Epic Store is at least one decade away of Steam in terms of features. And they also said they won't be implementing the social features that Steam has.

Does Epic Game Store puts competition pressure on Steam? Sure, it does. But from "features" that Epic would have? Not a chance. They reaching parity? Will never happen.
From some of the stuff I've heard about the Epic store, I thought they'd reached parody already.
Salvatos 9 January 2020 at 5:52 pm UTC
NanobangI haven't ever bought a game soundtrack, so I'm probably missing something. I can see the logic behind making a game's soundtrack available to those who owned the game. They would've heard it when they played the game and know if they wanted to hear more of it outside the game. Myself, I can't imagine wanting to buy a soundtrack I hadn't heard before. Is this something people do a lot? Just curious.
Not typically, but if I heard a great soundtrack somewhere and didn’t want to buy the game it’s from for any reason, I might still want to own the soundtrack. There’s a few games I can think of that have come close, including a Kickstarter project that failed but would have had music by one of my favorite bands.

Obviously I wouldn’t buy a soundtrack without having listened to it first.
Comandante Ñoñardo 9 January 2020 at 6:52 pm UTC
We are close to the Win7 EOL....
Will Valve officially launch PROTON after that?.. I mean, will the PROTON compatible games be properly announced on each store page?
Philadelphus 9 January 2020 at 11:34 pm UTC
NanobangI haven't ever bought a game soundtrack, so I'm probably missing something. I can see the logic behind making a game's soundtrack available to those who owned the game. They would've heard it when they played the game and know if they wanted to hear more of it outside the game. Myself, I can't imagine wanting to buy a soundtrack I hadn't heard before. Is this something people do a lot? Just curious.
I've personally bought…*counts*…uh, "many" soundtracks for various games, both on Steam and Bandcamp when there's no Steam version. (My personal music library is 99% classical music from before 1900 and game soundtracks. ) I don't buy soundtracks "sound-unheard", but there are plenty of ways to get exposure to game soundtracks besides simply playing the game these days. Maybe you watch a Let's Play or a streamer playing a particular game which you aren't interested in playing yourself, but which you really like the music to. Many game soundtracks can already be found on YouTube if you want to preview them before buying (you can of course also just rip them from the videos if they're up, but I prefer to show my appreciation for music I like by paying, since I can afford it).

einherjarI think it is also silly to buy a game, that includes the music (as it is played in the game) and then pay for the music as a DLC, to get "the game music". You already payed for it...
While I can definitely see your point, I can think of three four five reasons someone might want to pay for it:

  • Different arrangement. Sometimes the music as it's played in game will be arranged slightly differently (for gameplay purposes) than the music released in the soundtrack. For example, something that might be an infinite loop in gameplay could have a proper intro and outro bit added in the soundtrack. Or, in Portal 2, the soundtrack has a complete rendition of the Cara Mia Bella song which you can't hear in-game (though that soundtrack was released for free). Or, take Thomas Was Alone: the music there is made up of many very short little bits which are randomly played after and over each other throughout the game, so the only way to get that music outside of the game is through the soundtrack which has a representative arrangement of it. The Stellaris soundtrack also includes versions of a few songs that have a vocal part added, which are pretty cool, but which I can see wouldn't really work as default background game music.

  • Convenience. In Paradox's grand strategy games, the music files are all lying around to be listened to outside of the game. However, if you want to get them into a playlist you'll need to go through and add track numbers, update it every time new music is released, etc. Buying the soundtrack for Stellaris allows you to have an auto-updated, pre-made playlist of tracks which reduces the amount of work needed.

  • Quality. While I'm personally not an audiophile and can't tell the difference between an MP3 and a FLAC version of the same song, some people swear by it. Some soundtracks (again, Stellaris springs to mind) give you both MP3 and FLAC versions of the music, whereas the files for the game only have the MP3 versions.

  • Appreciation. Sometimes you really just like a developer and want to show your appreciation by throwing a little more money their way.

  • Practicality. While some games have the files just out and about if you want to copy them and listen to them elsewhere, sometimes the game files are all locked up in various archives. While I could probably figure out how to open them given enough time, I value my time higher than the (typically) couple of bucks the soundtrack would cost.

I'm not saying you (or anyone) should be buying soundtracks, and I'd be cool with more people releasing them for free, but in a world where developers need to make money to be able to continue making games those are a few reasons people might be interested in spending some.


Last edited by Philadelphus on 9 January 2020 at 11:47 pm UTC
Nanobang 10 January 2020 at 12:32 pm UTC
Philadelphus... there are plenty of ways to get exposure to game soundtracks besides simply playing the game these days. Maybe you watch a Let's Play or a streamer playing a particular game which you aren't interested in playing yourself, but which you really like the music to. Many game soundtracks can already be found on YouTube if you want to preview them before buying.

Ahhh ... gotcha. Bit of tunnel vision on my part, I'm afraid. Though I don't watch "let's Play" or live streams of gamers on something like Twitch, I'm a bit chagrined at not having thought of that myself.

Btw, thanks for your well considered, well written answer. Your thoughtfulness is appreciated!
Mal 10 January 2020 at 1:34 pm UTC
Most of them are also on Spotify & clones in case you have a subscription.
DrMcCoy 10 January 2020 at 1:49 pm UTC
Oooh, I really really like that.

That also means I can just bulk-download all the soundtracks I have, copy them into my Soundtracks music folder, to rename and retag them properly.

I love soundtracks. I listen to them often, and I also use them, where appropriate, for my pen & paper RPGs.
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