You May Now Purchase Soundtracks on Steam Without Owning the Game

Jan 9, 2020
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Valve announced some significant changes to how soundtracks are handled on Steam. So far, they were technically a type of DLC, which meant players were required to own a certain game if they also wanted to purchase that title's soundtrack. This will be changed now, and soundtracks will also be available in multiple sound quality levels.

Fixing Existing Issues

  • 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.

Brand New Functionality

  • First, soundtracks can support multiple quality levels. Every soundtrack will contain a set of standard MP3s, but soundtracks can also include optional high-quality audio depots (ie., FLAC, or raw WAV). Individual customers can opt-in to these larger, higher-quality audio files.
  • Second, there's a new interface for soundtracks in the Steam Library. This interface is minimal for now, but is designed to make it as painless as possible to perform the most common actions: playback, browsing, and managing contents.
  • Third, 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.

The official launch of this feature on Steam will take place on January 20th alongside a dedicated sale event, probably modeled after the one set recently for the new Steam Remote Play Together feature.

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