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Steam introduces big changes to soundtrack downloads

Published: 08:09, 09 January 2020
artwork showing steam logo on purple-blue gradient background
Steam Illustration by AltChar

Steam are introducing a soundtrack app type that will allow you to purchase and download soundtracks on Steam without purchasing the base game.

Steam are introducing big changes to gaming soundtracks on their platform. In the latest blog post, it's been announced that a brand new functionality is being enabled to better support gaming soundtracks on Steam. This new functionality can broadly be broken into two categories: fixing customer experience issues with the current "soundtrack-sold-as-DLC" model, and completely new features. 

As you may know, up until now, there was no dedicated "soundtrack" app type on Steam. The closest was "DLC", and so it became common to sell soundtracks as a type of DLC. "This made sense at the time but over time has tied existing soundtracks to a large amount of DLC-specific functionality," it's written in the post.

Today, Steam are adding a new "soundtrack" app type. For music content, this has many improvements over DLC, here's the breakdown:

  • 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

On top of this, you will be able to download soundtracks in various formats such as standard MP3s but also optional high-quality audio depots like FLAC or even raw WAV. Furthermore, there's a new interface for soundtracks in the Steam Library and last but not least soundtracks can now contain bits of associated content, including album art and liner notes. These bits of content can also be viewed from the details page for a soundtrack in the Steam Library.

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