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Valve just made it way easier to buy game soundtracks on Steam

Soundtracks were previously sold as DLC

Sayonara Wild Hearts Image: Simogo Games
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Valve is changing the way video game soundtracks are accessed on Steam. The developer announced the update on the Steamworks Development blog today, noting two big adjustments — fixing the user experience and adding “new functionality” for developers and listeners.

Previously, video game soundtracks were sold as DLC on Steam, which made them accessible only if a person owns the video game in question. Say, for instance, you wanted to purchase the Sayonara Wild Hearts soundtrack on Steam after playing the game on the Apple Arcade. You could only access the soundtrack if you’d purchased and downloaded Sayonara Wild Hearts on Steam. It was a system that really didn’t make sense.

There are other perks associated with this change, too, according to Valve:

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.

There are tons of soundtracks already available on Steam, many of which are still listed as DLC. The change over to the new system won’t be immediate; developers will have to migrate their games’ soundtracks to the new app type. The new app type will make it easier for people to browse their soundtracks, too, with the added bonus of “associated content,” like album art and liner notes. Along with these features, Valve has added a new interface for soundtracks, which “is designed to make it as painless as possible to perform the most common actions: playback, browsing, and managing contents.”

Valve said it’s planning on “launching these features in a wider way” with a sale event on Jan. 20.