Steam supports selling and downloading of game soundtracks. The work to create and associate a soundtrack is minimal, so we encourage you to create a soundtrack app if you think even a small number of customers would be interested in the music content of your game. Soundtracks sell particularly well as a component of a bundle including the base game and the soundtrack for a slight price increase.
There are two distinct types of soundtrack content:
- Soundtracks associated with a Steam game: if your game is also sold on Steam, you can treat your soundtrack as a piece of additional content for that game, similar to DLC. You can create a new soundtrack associated with your game from the Associated Packages, DLC, Demos, And Tools link on the landing page for your app.
- Soundtracks not associated with a Steam game: if you have soundtrack content for non-Steam games (including older products and games that aren't for sale on Steam), you can create independent soundtracks. These aren't associated with a particular game, but can still be associated with franchises. You can create an independent soundtrack from your main partner landing page, the same way you would create a new game.
Both types of soundtracks are fundamentally similar: they are a collection of MP3s and metadata that can optionally include other components, including high-quality/lossless audio files, associated artwork, etc. Soundtracks that have a parent game are tightly associated with that game -- the store pages will cross-link, they'll share a single Community Hub, etc.
Once you've created a new soundtrack app through the partner site, you'll see a release checklist that describes the steps necessary to ship. The minimum required soundtrack content is:
- A single album cover image.
- A single depot containing your soundtrack audio as MP3s. You can upload your depot contents as a simple ZIP file. See Simple Soundtrack Depots for a guide.
- Basic metadata describing the content of your album (artist, etc.).
Tools to query and update these types of content are available on the Steamworks partner site.
We recommend creating a second depot and storing high-quality/lossless files (for example, FLAC or WAV files) in this depot. Customers can choose whether they want to download the lossless files in addition to the base MP3 files.
When there are other bits of highly-associated art content, for example liner notes or album back cover images, you can upload them as pieces of additional artwork. Users can browse these pieces of content from their library.
We strongly recommend including basic metadata with each file (ie., ID3 tags inside MP3 files). When available, this metadata will be used to determine the playback order of tracks. For multi-disc soundtracks, track numbers must be unique across disks. For example, "disc 1, track 1" might have track ID 1 and "disc 2, track 1" might have track ID 10.
The Steam Music Player determines play order from the filenames, not the metadata. If your soundtrack's play order is important, the track number should be included at the start of the filename. If your soundtrack has 10 or more songs, the files 1-9 should begin with a leading 0 (e.g. "01 - Song Title", "02 - Song Title", and so on).
Preparing For Release
As you prepare for release, some of the process will depend on whether you are releasing a stand-alone soundtrack vs. a soundtrack that is attached to a base game on Steam.
- For soundtracks attached to a released base game on Steam, you may release the soundtrack as soon as the soundtrack's store and content have been reviewed and approved by our review team.
- For stand-alone soundtracks that don't depend on ownership of a base game on Steam, you'll need to have a 'coming soon' page visible on Steam for at least two weeks prior to releasing.
Frequently Asked QuestionsQ: I uploaded contents to my soundtrack depot, but nothing downloads through Steam. Why aren't my files downloading?
A: After you upload contents into your depot, you need to set a build live that references those new contents. You can manage builds and set them live from the Builds
page, under the SteamPipe
tab, on the partner site.Q: Is there a limit to the number of tracks or discs in a single soundtrack?
A: For all practical purposes, no. If you have extremely large amounts of content for a single game, we recommend splitting that content into logically separate soundtrack apps (ie., "OST", "Piano Collections", "Live", etc.).Q: Is my series anthology soundtrack associated with a single game?
A: No. For soundtracks that are relevant for multiple games from a series, or by a single composer, or from a common developer/publisher, please create them as independent soundtracks. They can still link to the relevant collections via franchises, publisher/developer tags, etc., but they aren't associated with a particular single game.Q: Which audio formats are required? Which are optionally supported?
A: It's mandatory for each soundtrack to contain standard MP3s. Other formats, including raw WAVs, FLAC, AAC, etc. can also optionally be included, but do not remove the requirement for MP3s to be present. The Steam client will preferentially play lossless files when available and fall back to lossy files if necessary. The Steam client currently supports playback of MP3, FLAC, M4A, and WAV files.Q: What metadata does Steam look for in each audio file?
A: The Steam music player will attempt to find and use metadata for the track number, the track name, the artist name, and the album name. These correspond to the "track", "title", "artist", and "album" fields in ID3 tags.Q: What tools/reporting do I have about my soundtrack sales?
A: The same set of tools and reporting for games, DLC, and software apply to soundtracks.Q: I'm already selling my soundtrack content as DLC. Can I use the new soundtrack system? How do I convert?
A: There is a helper tool on the partner site to transition content from the old format to the new format. See Converting Existing DLC To Soundtracks
to see the details of the work involved.Q: Does the revenue for my associated game soundtrack count towards total revenue for the game for purposes of calculating revenue share?
Simple Soundtrack Depots
While soundtracks have access to the same advanced depot
configuration tools and settings, the average soundtrack is much simpler than the average game. This section provides a simple guide for how to populate your soundtrack content without requiring any scripts or commandline tools:
- Create a ZIP file on your local machine containing the MP3s you want to be downloaded by users as part of your soundtrack.
- On your soundtrack's page on the partner site, click Edit Steamworks Settings, then click Depots under the SteamPipe tab.
- Click the link that says Upload a zip file directly.
- Select the ZIP file on your local machine and upload it. When it completes, depots for your soundtrack will build automatically. This may take a few seconds.
- Once the depot is built, click the new button on that page to Commit the new depot contents.
- Under the SteamPipe tab, click Builds.
- Under the Set build live on branch heading, select default and click Preview Change.
- From the preview page, you can set the new depot content you just uploaded to be live for all customers.
Most of these steps are identical when creating high-quality audio depots. There are a small number of additional steps that can take place after you have your regular MP3 depots set up:
- Create a ZIP file on your local machine containing the high-quality audio files. We recommend these be in a subdirectory like "FLAC".
- On the Depots page, create a new depot and set its type to Optional high-quality/uncompressed audio.
- Save your depot configuration changes.
- Publish the depot configuration changes. (Note: you won't be able to upload contents to the new depot until you've published this change.)
- Repeat the steps from above to upload your high-quality content to the new depot and set the new depot build live.
- Once complete, from the landing page for your soundtrack, click the package under Store Packages.
- Under Depots Included, add your new high-quality depot and save your changes.
Converting Existing DLC To SoundtracksDownloadable Content (DLC)
support existed on Steam long before specific support for gaming soundtracks was added. Because of this, many soundtracks are sold as DLC instead of soundtracks. When appropriate, we recommend converting your DLC apps to Soundtrack apps. There are several benefits:
- Users who don't own your game will be able to purchase your soundtracks. (DLC requires ownership of the base app for purchasing.)
- User will be able to download your soundtrack content without downloading the content for the base game. (DLC requires downloading the base game content before downloading DLC.)
- Soundtrack content can be surfaced and marketed on the storefront in ways that DLC cannot.
- The music files will be placed into the Steam library music folder, rather than a subdirectory of your app's install directory.
- You have access to additional tools to provide album art, high-quality/lossless audio files, etc.
There is a tool to convert an existing DLC app to a soundtrack app that can be accessed through the "Basic Info" tab in the Store Page Admin for your app. Once you click the button to start the conversion process, you'll see a specific list of steps to follow to complete it.
The conversion tool will make changes to the Steam configuration for your DLC, but will not publish those changes. No changes will be visible to customers until you publish the changes after running the tool. Customers that already own the DLC will automatically own the converted soundtrack.
Additional Steps Required to Convert Existing DLC to Soundtracks
While the tool can do much of the work to convert your existing DLC content to a Soundtrack, there are additional steps that you must complete before you are ready to publish your content:
- Upload album cover artwork and metadata: in the Steamworks setting for your app, there will be a new "Soundtrack" tab. Please submit data appropriate to your content. The minimal set of data includes a single "album cover" image and the title and duration of each track.
- Review and publish your Steamworks settings: Your Steamworks changes will include both automated changes made by the DLC-to-soundtrack conversion process, as well as the changes you made in the previous steps. Review all these changes and publish when ready from the Steamworks Publish page.
- Review and publish Steamworks settings for the parent game: depending on the configuration of your DLC and its depots, the automated conversion may also have made changes to the Steamworks settings for the parent app. If any changes were made, please review them and publish them when ready.
- Review and publish your store page: Your store page will look slightly different now. Please review and re-publish. Learn more about Editing A Store Page.
- Upload audio depots: you can configure your soundtrack depots from the Depot configuration page. Note that, in order to create and publish a release for your soundtrack, you'll have to upload your MP3s after converting the app, so please have those files handy. If you have high-quality (ie., FLAC) versions of your audio, you can upload them in a separate depot for users who opt-in. Note: depending on your previous DLC configuration, you may be unable to edit depots until completing the above steps. The conversion tool will not migrate your builds, so once you've uploaded your content you'll need to set a new build live.
Once you've completed these steps, your soundtrack is ready!