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Steam Music beta starts today

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Valve sent the first round of invites for the Steam Music beta today to SteamOS and Big Picture Mode users across all platforms, according to a Steam Community post.

Announced this week, Steam Music will allow players to browse and listen to their local music libraries through the Steam client. Everyone running SteamOS can now access the feature after they opt into the Steam Client Beta, which they can access in System Settings. A user interface for the desktop version is also in the works, though Steam Music is currently limited to SteamOS and Big Picture Mode.

Further invites will roll out in waves "until the feature is released to everyone." Those who wish to participate in the beta need to join the Steam Music group on Steam Community.

The Steam Music beta only supports MP3s currently, "with support for more file types on the way," according to the post. Users can purchase a number of game soundtracks, and user feedback will determine the future of music purchases through Steam.

The post also explains why Valve created Steam Music, citing both customer demand and its extension of the Steam Machine initiative.

"For years, customers have been asking us to provide a basic way for them to access and play music while in-game," the post reads. "Task-switching between resource-intensive 3D games and other desktop apps has never been a graceful experience for gamers, so an in-game player can help by eliminating that pain point.

"Task-switching between resource-intensive 3D games and other desktop apps has never been a graceful experience."

"Beyond addressing this context-switching hurdle, we see an opportunity to broaden Steam as an entertainment platform which includes music alongside games and other forms of media. With our ongoing efforts to make Steam accessible in the living room with SteamOS and Steam Machines, the timing feels right for us to make an investment in this broader picture."

Valve announced last September that it would bring access to music, movies and TV to Steam.