NOW that's what I call music!
Steam Soundtrack Sale

Valve is bringing back Steam Soundtracks in a big way today. More accurately: Valve already brought back Steam Soundtracks a little while ago is being improved big time today. The Soundtrack section that some of you knew and perhaps even love already made its return as a dedicated category in the Steam Library. To further push this Soundtrack section, Valve is bolstering it today with some improved functionality.

On top of that, there is a big sale on soundtracks through Steam that runs from now through Valentine's Day (February 14). The Soundtrack Sale contains some really amazing game soundtracks. Obviously not every game will appeal to you, but I'm sure you'll find a few bangers amongst the large selection.

Just take the DOOM soundtrack at 50% off. How can you not like even one song on that? If you don't like BFG Division than we just can't be friends. And you can't help but love the songs in Bastion. Don't forget about Ori and the Blind Forest's soundtrack, which is 75% off. Then there's the Portal 2 soundtrack, which is apparently free. The Resident Evil 7 soundtrack, the Crypt of the Necrodancer soundtrack, and Terraria. Plus who doesn't love the soundtrack for Furi, currently at 60% off?

All I'm saying is that there is a lot of great music in games. I barely scratched the surface with some of the above mentions. Be sure to check out the entirety of the Soundtrack Sale and I bet you find some soundtracks you remember loving.

This big sale would be all for not if Valve didn't also have some exciting new features to add to their Soundtrack section. Not only does the update address some previous issues, but it also adds in some new functionality. Namely, Valve is now giving users the option to access higher quality audio formats for some soundtracks. These higher quality formats could be things like FLAC or even WAV, and are being offered in addition to the standard MP3 format. Not every soundtrack will have this option though.

A new interface was also included for soundtracks today. Valve says that they're starting with a minimal interface but it seems like the door may be kept open to expand upon it a bit in the future. A details page within the Steam Library will also provide users with a look at album artwork and even liner notes.

Game devs and publishers also have some nice new features to work with here. Creators now have a special tool that will automatically convert soundtracks that were set up as DLC to the new app type. There should be a tool at the bottom of the Basic Info tab on the store page configuration.

Devs and publishers can also "create a new soundtrack for your existing Steam game from the Associated Packages & DLC page for your game." You can even create a soundtrack for a non-Steam game from the partner site landing page. If you're a dev and are thinking about getting cheeky with this system, it's important to note that soundtracks "are subject to the same creation and review process as other app types." Full documentation for developers and publishers can be found at the partner site's Game Soundtracks on Steam page.

As far as consumers and users are concerned, these are probably the changes that you are most interested in.

Fixing Existing Issues
Up until now, there was no "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.

Today there's a new "soundtrack" app type. For music content, this has many improvements over DLC:
  • 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.
Moving forward, we encourage all soundtracks to use the new app type, rather than DLC.

New Functionality
Besides fixing the user experience issues mentioned above, we've also added some 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.