Steam Music Will Soon Be A Thing You Can Have

By John Walker on February 4th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Steam Music, Valve’s latest addition to the ever-growing suite of tools in the big grey window, will be entering beta soon. Premièring on SteamOS and Big Picture, and then dragging its heels to the desktop version soon after, the idea is to let you listen to music as you play.

“With Steam Music, you can now listen to your music collection while playing games.”

I already listen to music as I play games.

“Once you’ve pointed Steam to your local music directory, your Steam Library will include Album and Artist views of your collection.”

I listen to Spotify as I play games. I don’t think I can point Steam at that.

Clearly this isn’t primarily intended for multi-tasking desktops, but for those using Steam as a console. And in that regard, it makes more sense. Once it’s running, you’ll be able to hit the “guide” button on your controller, bringing up the music player menu. Or click your way to it via the Big Picture options. It is, in effect, mimicking what the consoles already do.

Still though, there’s an ever-increasing number of people who don’t listen to locally stored music collections, but rather via Spotify or one of its rivals. It seems almost a little prosaic to create a system that requires locally stored mp3s. Either teaming up with Spotify, Google Play Music, Rdio, Last.fm, Pandora, Grooveshark, Deezer, etc, or even launching one of their own, would seem to be a far more innovative option. Or just buying one of them with their infinity money and specialising it for their needs. Why am I the one thinking of these things? Someone give me a massive cheque.

Steam go on to say,

With this beta, we’re getting started with what we believe to be the most fundamental set of features to offer a great music listening experience within Steam. As always, our next steps for the feature will be influenced by your beta feedback, so please share your feature requests, thoughts, and experiences in the music discussions. Happy listening!

To be in with a chance of getting in on the first few waves of the beta, you need to join the SteamMu Community Group, which you can do here.

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112 Comments »

  1. AngoraFish says:

    The main advantage to me is that I can potentially control my music selections without alt-tabbing out of the game.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      MS could have done similar to the overlay with Metro in Windows 8. If Metro actually was functional that is…

      • roryok says:

        Good to see the windows 8 bashing is alive and well. Windows 8 does do this. There’s a neat overlay on any app that lets you control volume, play/pause, skip tracks and access the music app if you need to do more. It also works with third party music apps if they support it. And it uses the media keys we’ve all had on our keyboards since the 90s.

    • MaXimillion says:

      Pretty much any decent music player should allow you to set hotkeys for that.

    • PsychoWedge says:

      use a keyboard with media buttons? they’re rather cheap to buy.

      I guess for steam konsoles or steam streaming from another room it makes sense, but apart from that? And only if the steam pads have buttons for pausing, continuing and skipping the music will this be at least as comfortable as using an external player and a keyboard with said media buttons…

      • bills6693 says:

        Unless you don’t want an external keyboard, i.e. you are using a laptop. In that situation you want to use the laptop’s inbuilt keyboard which does not necessarily have media buttons.

        For most playing on PCs, this addition is not that useful. But for some, including those playing on the TV, it might be.

        • mLocke says:

          there are laptops without media keys?

          • Tams80 says:

            Most. They went out of fashion years ago. Remember when Dells had all those don’t facing ones? Gone. Even fn media keys are quite rare. I wish more had volume wheels like some of those HP Envy laptops, physical graphics switches like the Sony VAIO S, etc. However in the quest for minimalism dedicated controls just are in vogue.

          • Cvnk says:

            I don’t think any of Dell’s laptops lack the fn media keys. None of the latitudes we routinely buy at work nor the inspirons I see on their site.. Maybe they have another product line I’m not thinking of.

    • AngoraFish says:

      More or less all posts above… holy missing the point Batman!

      A couple of next track/last track/pause track buttons doesn’t exactly allow one to see the name of the current track that’s playing, or search for a particular track in a long list.

      But yes, my fantastic Ducky Black mechanical keyboard happens to have nothing other than volume buttons, and I have no interest in substituting it for a shitty plastic model, particularly if I can get the same functionality through the Steam interface without paying cent, or by trawling for buggy freeware that may of not work consistently, and may or may not conflict with my other aps.

      Sheesh, …

      • Widthwood says:

        Isn’t ducky also plastic?… If you meant “mechanical” then there are plenty of mechanical keyboards with proper functionality, like Logitech g710. No black cherries (though why would you need blacks for gaming??), usually only reds or browns, sometimes blues.

        And btw, steam overlay is not some magic bullet – it is pretty much just as buggy as any other app trying to draw over full screen apps and doesn’t work in some games or has negative impact on performance.

  2. GeminiathXL says:

    Right. Let’s open it up LAST on the hardware it all began on: desktops. Sigh.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Yes, that caught my eye as well. Is there cause for concern here? Probably not, since I don’t think it’s in Valve’s best interest to fracture the PC market, but I don’t like the possibility.

      • aldo_14 says:

        I’m guessing that maybe they want a smaller usergroup for beta, so they’re picking the currently least-used form of the UI?

    • Eery Petrol says:

      As a PC gamer I support Valve branching out into the console market the way they are doing. While it does not directly generate functionality for me, the steam box does offer console gamers a way into the pc community, which can only attract more developers to the pc (Linux) platform through the promise of more revenue.

      • Brtt says:

        As a PC gamer for about 3 decades, I support owning the games I pay for, and not having them limited to this or that platform.
        Obviously these days are not cheerful in that regard :/

        (Indeed, it doesn’t directly relate to what I’m answering to. Opinion, they said !)

        • Corb says:

          Even during the good old disk days you still legally didn’t “own” the game hence the whole thing about copying game disks being a no-no etc etc. Granted, enforcement back then was non-existent but, if you really truly believe in this principle, no one is stopping you from buying the product and then getting the pirated version to “own” the game.

          • Emeraude says:

            Even today neither the developer nor the publisher own the game in the sense in which you are using “own”.

            Stupid fallacy.

          • mouton says:

            We had way more control over the medium, though. Current limitations are utterly unnecessary and serve only to better control the market by this or that friendly corp. The fact that this regime is bearable and usable, does not change that.

          • Brtt says:

            The “owning” part came out wrong, it seems.
            As mouton said, it’s about control.
            When I buy “proper” DRM-free games (as in: not tethered to a framework or service), I’m confident that my using of these games is not subject to the whims of their distributors, unless they find a way to reach my hard drive(s).

            Corb, I’ve thought about buying from Steam (or others) and then get some crack to have some freedom (err… you know what kind of crack I’m talking about… right ?!).
            The problem is, I’d have to sign up to the framework (to which I’m against by principle), and then, by buying anything from that framework, I’d give money to them…
            That can’t happen, as I don’t support those frameworks by any fashion.
            I’d actually rather pay *more*, but directly to the devs, to have DRM-free materials.

    • frymaster says:

      note that it’s still available on the PC, just only on the Big Picture UI, to begin with

      • Corb says:

        Big picture looks sexy, but I just haven’t bothered using it…kinda like windows 8.

    • iainl says:

      Alternatively, let’s open it out last to the UI that needs it least. I’ve got a whole second monitor for twitter, itunes, youtube walkthroughs or whatever on my Windows Desktop box that means this is a bit pointless.

      On the tellybox, integrating a media player means fewer reasons to drop out of Big Picture to a desktop that needs my keyboard/mouse to operate.

      • malkav11 says:

        Exactly. There’s no reason to be miffed about missing out on a feature that’s not really necessary.

    • Keyrock says:

      This makes all the sense in the world. This is essentially being beta tested right now, and SteamOS and Big Picture Mode are both still in the beta testing grounds themselves. Get the kinks out there, then introduce it to the stable and reliable (relatively speaking) Windoze desktop client.

    • Shodex says:

      I can understand why. For people using Big Pictures and Steam OS on the couch, they’ll be holding a controller not a mouse and keyboard. Alt+tabbing into foobar2k and switching songs isn’t a convenient choice for them.

      For us, however, it still is. I like the idea of a built in music player, but I have no high priority to actually use one. I know that we’re PC gamers and it’s part of our duty, but there is no reason to act elitist and hateful towards companies that don’t favour you over other customers in every way.

    • darkChozo says:

      Chances are that this feature is primarily being introduced for Steamboxes, as it checks off one of the features one would expect on a multimedia box, so it makes sense that it’d be for Big Picture first.

  3. Cockie says:

    I tought Spotify support was coming too, actually. Someday.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I imagine that you *could* get the web interface for Spotify working in the Steam web browser, although it’s been a crapshoot when I’ve tried on Firefox.

  4. sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

    Almost all my games already come with music, and as an added bonus, that music has been designed to fit the mood and tempo of the game.

    • Niko says:

      Depends on the game. If it’s, say, an ARPG or tower defense or puzzle, at some point I might turn ingame music off. If it’s more story-driven and has a detailed world, like DXHR or Bastion, on the other hand…

      • Caiman says:

        Yeah, some games probably work well with different music, including those that you’ve already racked up hundreds of hours with. But using Broken Age in the screen shot above is heresy, given that it has some of the best in-game music I’ve heard in ages.

        • AngoraFish says:

          It’s hard to imagine people preferring something other than the Broken Age in-game music, but I guess, each to their own.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Right, to each person who listens to something other than the Broken Age soundtrack, their own bonfire in the town square.

          • Niko says:

            I haven’t played it yet, but apparently it’s not the type of game that you can turn the music off. I was talking about something like Kingdom Rush combined with some radio (like KEXP, about which I’ve learned from Sunday Papers).

    • Sam250 says:

      My thoughts exactly. Any game made in 2014 that can be made a better experience by playing your own music rather than the soundtrack that was specifically crafted for the atmosphere and locations and events of the game can’t be a very aesthetically well crafted game. This is hardly a step forward ie. a step that accommodates or encourages modern/forward-thinking design, that in this case being holistic aesthetic design for complete sensory engagement. This is a feature for people who need something extra to alleviate the tedium mediocre games, puzzle games or multiplayer games they play.

    • subedii says:

      I’ll be honest, plenty of games have just plain bad or mediocre soundtracks, stuff that feels like it’s included out of obligation, not so much because it sounds awesome and really enhances the game. Others (primarily multiplayer) frequently have little incidental music to go along with things. Others still have good soundtracks, but (primarily multiplayer again) hearing the same 3-8 tracks endlessly can wear on anyone and make them want to switch things up and add to the variety.

      Personally I’ve actually got a separate playlist purely for RTS games (and sub-categories depending on type). I mean, if I’m playing Company of Heroes 2, why wouldn’t I throw in some select pieces from CoH1 and Opposing Fronts? Maybe even some Dawn of War 1/2? And for games like SupCom, I’ve actually found a fair few tracks from Stand Alone Complex go quite well with it.

      Really it’s an individual thing, but I could easily see myself using this feature if it was integrated well. I think this probably holds far more bearing for multiplayer games than singleplayer games.

    • Cantisque says:

      In my case, I always play my own music when I’m doing Civ 5. I could see myself using this, and I imagine they will expand on it later.

  5. Ninja Dodo says:

    Would be nice if this meant Steam games will include the soundtrack as a standard feature. One thing Humble Bundle and GOG tend to be better at. If a Steam game includes one at all it’s always only the special more expensive edition and there’s no convenient way to access such extras, buried as they are deep in documents or program folders.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Umm, I think it makes sense to charge separately for the soundtrack. If people want the music from the game to play elsewhere, shouldn’t they be paying the music creator specifically rather than the game creator? I mean, there are arguments both ways, and I don’t think either choice is wrong, I just think that it’s wrong to think charging for the OST is always wrong.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      Oh I’m not suggesting OSTs should not be paid for, just that I like how GOG and Humble do it (with rare exceptions there’s always a soundtrack). Clearly if music is included composers should be paid a share of the price. But it would be great if you didn’t have to get the special edition of specialness on Steam any time you want the soundtrack.

      • AngelTear says:

        I agree and I don’t quite agree. I’m not really 100% sure, but my instinctive opinion would be to say that, if I bought a game that contains a certain soundtrack, I should be able to access the soundtrack even outside the game, although some games try to “lock you out” of the game music (I remember, on the other hand, Left 4 Dead having mp3 files in the game folder, you can just move those to your music library, and there you go) I mean, the composer does get paid for the music anyway, but I can see the argument that he should be payed proportionately to sales, just like the developer of the game as a whole.

        Then again, you could take a screenshot of the game and argue that the artists that worked on the visual aspects of the game should be paid in proportion to sales because you can take those assets independently of the rest.

        Obviously you either get a share of the sales or you don’t, but from a consumer point of view, I believe, having bought the game as a whole, devs shouldn’t go out of their way to lock me out of certain content whenever they see fit. I bought the game, I also bought the soundtrack to the game, I should be able to listen to it on my music player if I wish, without much fuss.

      • Ninja Dodo says:

        Completely agree. I think it would be nice if you could easily access the soundtrack from inside Steam but only in *addition* to still being able to get to the mp3 files. Locking the music to Steam would be a step backwards.

        • sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

          I was trying to think of real world examples where that doesn’t work
          * book, you don’t get a poster of the cover
          * dvd, you don’t get a cd of the soundtrack
          But, those are physical media constraints.

          Therefore I’m not sure I’ve got a point here, so I’ll stop

    • Kitsunin says:

      To go into a bit more detail, I think that it can be best both ways. But to say that you should always be able to have access to the music files because you own the game they are in strikes me as a bit problematic.

      The comparison to art doesn’t really work, because whereas the art is an integral part of the experience, and something you aren’t likely to enjoy outside of the game (Unless it’s an artbook or something…in which case you probably had to get the special edition anyways.) Music is more abstract. Even in games where the music is very clearly tailored to go with the gameplay, if it’s really good, you are likely to listen to it outside of the game if that’s what you’re into.

      I still don’t think this means it’s right not to include the music as part of the game’s asking price, I just think it can depend. If the musician is an active part of the development team, who is paid based on how much of the game their music is, and remains tied to after-the-fact sales and not merely commissioned, then he probably shouldn’t be selling his music too, that would be disrespectful to the rest of the team, double-dipping, in essence! Not to mention that if they want the game to sell better, they should think their music being included will cause some people to purchase the game who wouldn’t otherwise.

      On the other hand, if you were just contracted, and are an outsider musician, why should the music be completely out of your hands just because someone paid you to make it? What right do the people making the game have to essentially sell your music as well? What if your music was an original work in the first place, but people want to license it for their game? Surely in that case, you should keep the rights to your music, even if it’s part of someone else’s product!

      • Ninja Dodo says:

        No argument there. Music rights and whether a game should include music separately at all is a whole other discussion. I guess all I’m saying is if the same game comes with a soundtrack on Humble and GOG it would be good if Steam did too, hassle free.

  6. Pliqu3011 says:

    Will this include streaming the music too? (while streaming games I mean)
    That would make this pretty handy, I think.

    • Pich says:

      If you mean streaming to twitch or similar, That would be a copyright nightmare, so i seriously doubt it.
      If you mean streaming to a steambox, then it’s more probable.

  7. Henke says:

    Certain XBox 360 games will pause your custom soundtrack when a cutscene comes up, if Valve could get similar functionality into Steam games it could actually be an advantage over playing your local music through an external player.

    I usually play music from Spotify though, so it’s hard to get too excited about this. It could lead to something cool down the line though.

  8. Knurek says:

    Actually, digging around beta client assets nets you few hits for Spotify, so Valve isn’t that stupid, John.

    • Ich Will says:

      Valve would be stupid to offer spotify integration? Why?

      • Low Life says:

        References to Spotify found in the Steam client -> Spotify being planned for Steam.

      • Gap Gen says:

        They’re saying that Valve would be stupid *not* to include Spotify integration.

  9. Pete says:

    Note that this also provides an opportunity for Valve to sell music, like iTunes & Google Play. They sell a little already, in the form of game soundtracks, but it would be a useful addition to the steambox platform.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Absolutely. Valve, nowadays = monetization of pretty much everything peripheral to gaming… operating system, social gaming client, digital download retailer, micro-transaction processor, even hardware. Taking a cut from music sales is a natural and inevitable extension of Valve’s move away from producing games into Absolute Control of the Universe and Everything in It ™. Valve is Skynet.

    • atticus says:

      I would welcome this. I would also welcome Steam Movies & TV-Series.

      • AngelTear says:

        I would welcome this, but with a few caveats. DRM on media (music, video, images) files for me is more of a dealbreaker than on games. After all, it’s not just like I’m gonna play my last game on my mp3 player or whatever; if I want it on another computer, I can just re-download steam, re-download the game and voilà. (Putting aside everything else that is bad about DRM)

        But with media files, I want to be able to watch/listen to them everywhere, and use any software I like. I want to use my mediamonkey/foobar for my music, my MPC for my videos, organize my pictures however I see fit. and if a better of more customizable piece of software comes out, I want to be able to switch to that without worrying that my media files are somehow connected to Steam and can only be played through it.

        • atticus says:

          I just want some kind of “portal” through which I can buy and pre-load movies and TV-series in maximum quality. Accessibility, sensible pricing, the ability to pre-load a 20gb+ new movie while I’m at work…

          The end of restrictions, licenses and that stuff – just all the visual entertainment in the world available for me to PAY for and watch when I please.

          And world peace and no more hunger, illness, pollution, etc etc

        • Baines says:

          Kind of funny for me to be reading about Steam offering music and the issue of DRM while Steam is currently down again.

  10. basilisk says:

    Yes, do add more features to Steam, please! It’s not quite doing absolutely everything yet! Who needs polish, we want features!

    • Eery Petrol says:

      From the desktop perspective you’re totally right. But as a console? They need to compete with the standard features of PS and XB. Also, I wouldn’t say that this music player is hogging the majority of the dev team.

      • basilisk says:

        I know, I was being facetious. But I would really rather see them fix that god-awful browser that half of their features are based on than add yet another function that will never get quite finished, just like so many before it.

        It’s odd how Valve symbolises ultra-polished games, yet the development of the Steam client is exactly the opposite.

        • phelix says:

          I prefer them spending their annual allowance of polish on games than the client. At least, I spend more time playing Steam games than navigating the Steam client.

  11. Eery Petrol says:

    The Steam in-game overhead allows easy access to a browser. It starts with a grid of favored websites. With the Spotify web player functioning very nicely, that’s all the integration for Spotify I need, and have already used.

  12. BTAxis says:

    I don’t use Spotify or anything for my music, I just have a bunch of MP3s with m3u playlists, and I point foobar2k at that. I abhor the thought of any app trying to “manage” this for me.

  13. SurprisedMan says:

    Cool, I guess. Weird example in the mockup though. Why would you play Broken Age with music on in the background??

  14. MajorManiac says:

    It would be amazing if they could link music you have bought with games. So if you play a Lord of the Rings mod. The mod-makers could get the game to play the Lord of the Rings soundtrack that you have already purchased. Selecting the correct track for what is happening in the game. Thus enabling mods to have official music without tripping over copy-right law.

  15. Kimau says:

    The BIG advantage is when your developing for most consoles now as a developer you can control the music playback and volume. Which means with this system the dev can turn down your music during dialogue and other moments of import.

    If you don’t like this of course you can just use an external player, but its a nice option.

  16. frymaster says:

    re:spotify support: does spotify respect the “media” buttons you get on some keyboards (the FF, play/pause etc. ones) – if so, then if they stuck them on the steam overlay, that’d be most of the way there… a good way to launch spotify from Big Picture mode would need to exist (it might already; I don’t know how good third-party shortcuts are in Big Picture)

  17. Borsook says:

    Oh come on! I would never use Spotify, it’s like radio – having locally stored mp3 gives me full control over them, if I want to change the tags, apply filters, or do anything else (e.g. cut them) I can. Plus there are situations when I am without an internet connection… not being able to listen to music then? Is this really “an obvious default” as presented here? Don’t think so :)

    • Pich says:

      This. Anyway, i hope that it will support FLAC eventually.

    • Gap Gen says:

      With Spotify you can download playlists to use offline, but granted, it has pluses and minuses over just keeping a library of audio files on your computer.

      • c-Row says:

        Especially when your music is not stored on your gaming rig.

        • Gap Gen says:

          I mean, you could maintain a small playlist on, say, Dropbox, but sure, it’s quite convenient for me where I have my Starred list on basically every device I have (although my phone also has a 32GB SD card for my music).

  18. Wounder says:

    It’s interesting that no one seems to be of the mindset “hey, it’s a beta, no telling what they could develop next!” I mean, yeah, the current feature list seems pretty sparse, but… I distinctly remember most folks thought Steam was pointless when it first released, too.

  19. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I’m somewhat disappointed. When I read “Steam Music”, I though Steam would start selling music, and I was hoping we’d see Steam sales including all kinds of music in the future. Integrating a music player into Steam is nice I guess, but not nearly as exciting.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I imagine they are seriously considering that idea once the player interface is rolled out. You could even imagine people choosing music from their desktop machine to sync over the Steam Cloud to other machines with Steam on them.

    • aliksy says:

      That’s what I was hoping for, too. I would buy a lot more music if it was sensibly priced. $10 for an album? Hm. No.

  20. Hman says:

    Great invention Valve…Xbox 360 already had this in 2005! What about something new like achievements or a shop were third party can sell games… oh wait you also stole that from the Microsoft…it seems nobody remembers that Steam was a trully hated piece of spyware for Valve games only back in 2004 and 2005. But anyway it seems like all original ideas dread up at Valve..

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      So, Steam isn’t allowed to implement any features that have existed somewhere else and because Steam was rather shitty in the beginning, we’re not allowed to like anything about it now that it’s had a decade to improve? Not sure what you’re saying here.

      • c-Row says:

        Not sure what you’re saying here.

        “I hate Steam”.

        • Hman says:

          I think Steam is a very overrated piece of software..although i dont hate it i find will never be best friends with it either ;-)

    • subedii says:

      Yup, Steam took a lot of the good bits from XBL. Boohoo I guess?

      Of course, it didn’t have to be this way. MS certainly had the opportunity to do it with their own GFWL. Only they mucked it up completely. And I do mean COMPLETELY. Kind of sad really, XBL was really pioneering in the console space, but MS repeatedly dropped the ball with GFWL.

      So yeah, I’m not exactly going to be too angsty about Valve picking up the good stuff and running with it the way that MS outright refused to for a solid 7 years (heck, if anything there were frequent occasions where their ridiculous marketing-department thinking outright hindered what could have very easily become a PC mainstay).

  21. rustybroomhandle says:

    Steam needs a modding API with its own Workshop support. Especially great for SteamOS/Big Picture stuff.

  22. Ergates_Antius says:

    Am I the weird one because I *don’t* listen to music whilst I play games? Don’t you find it distracting? Doesn’t the music drown out the game sounds, or the game sounds drown out the music?

    Tbh, I don’t even listen to music on my PC when I’m not gaming either.

  23. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Spotify?

    Psh.

    I have a hi-fi and a CD collection.

    inb4 somebody has a record player

    • Synesthesia says:

      I do! An old technics i got from my father. It is awesome!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yup! And a tape deck rigged up to the old machine with the front-panel line-level-RCA-jacks breakout box.

      CDs are a great format to buy music. (Almost always) DRM-free, rip it losslessly, and there’s a robust physical backup included.

      • Vinraith says:

        I love CD’s and I love vinyl. I tolerate MP3′s for portability (especially these days, moving around a lot) but the notion of giving up on owning my music in favor of using a streaming service is absolutely alien. I love Pandora, but it’s a tool to find interesting new music to buy, not a replacement for it.

  24. Curratum says:

    Adorable! More crap that will eventually clog my desktop Steam client. Just what I wanted!

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s getting to the point where I really wish Big Picture were a separate component I could just leave off on the desktop.

  25. bill says:

    Spotify, Last.fm, Rdio, etc.. are mostly not available outside the USA/UK.
    Grroveshark is available everywhere, but slightly dubious in terms of legality/quality.

    I still buy my music (on cd and rip, or on google music (which also isn’t officially available here, but…) as there isn’t really much other option.

  26. womp says:

    Will this be integrated well with the soundtracks you can buy on Steam? If so, that’ll be really useful.

    • Illessa says:

      This. Honestly I’m much more excited about the possibility that the soundtracks I own on Steam might *finally* become first class citizens (or at least easily discoverable) than about the current beta features, since I’m another Spotify user.

      I did a search for “soundtrack” in my Steam apps directory a couple of days ago as the fastest way to dig out my Gunpoint and Monaco soundtracks and over a dozen albums came up, half of which I never even realised I owned. That level of opacity is just kind of crazy, given they’ve been selling music for well over a year (I remember buying the Psychonauts OST early 2012).

  27. Synesthesia says:

    I think maybe you are over generalizing a bit? Most people i know, at least this side of the globe, still collect an listen in mp3.

    • Turkey says:

      I dunno. I’m the only one of my friends who still buys and downloads music.

  28. Keyrock says:

    This doesn’t let me do anything I couldn’t already do, but it does potentially make it easier and more convenient, so it’s pretty nice.

  29. db1331 says:

    I love people who listen to music while they play. They’re really easy kills. They also say funny shit when you kill them like, “BS. No way you knew I was there.” They don’t realize that if you aren’t listening to Skrillex while you play, you can hear other people in game moving around you.

  30. particlese says:

    What’s this? Yet another music player with no sort-by-composer option? DO NOT WANT

    Slightly more seriously: Why don’t they stick a customizable shortcut to your existing music player in the Steam overlay, run the program in the overlay, and commision/make suitable Steam skins for the popular players? Surely those are more capable, have options for minimal interfaces, and can handle files wrapped in DRM with relative ease? I suspect iTunes, WMP, and friends don’t have APIs for letting other players play their protected files, but I also assume DRMed music is still a thing. Am I wrong? (I use DRM-free internet sources and CDs, so I honestly have no idea.) There are also some excellent music players on Linux, so it’s not like Valve needs to be inventive there. I can see wanting uniform presentation and capabilities across all platforms, but…

    Oh, well. Yay, I guess. I know lots of people will love this while fervently complaining about its inadequacies, but I will personally find this pretty useless since I tend to avoid games whose music I hate enough to override. [Picture here a verbose, superfluous attempt to expound my exquisitely-nuanced vidyagame music tastes.]

  31. Foosnark says:

    Still though, there’s an ever-increasing number of people who don’t listen to locally stored music collections, but rather via Spotify or one of its rivals.

    Those people are part of the problem!

    I mean, seriously. I like my MP3 collection. I listen to albums, not singles. I listen to obscure, weird, experimental, hard-to-find stuff and once I’ve found it I am damn well paying for it and keeping it. I am listening to it while out for a walk or in the car or at work where I can’t use bandwidth for music.

    Do you know how hard it is to find a good hard-drive based portable MP3 player anymore? Because people seem to think a smartphone is the best way to listen to music, and MP3 players are only for jogging and surely 4MB should be more than enough. When my Zune died I had to buy a used iPod Classic on eBay, and I hate Apple.

    Spotify — or let’s be honest, YouTube — is okay for those guilty pleasure moments when you want to hear that one Duran Duran song again just once. But when I want to listen to Tactical Neural Implant for the 39th time it’s playing off a hard drive. Either a tiny one in my pocket, while I can still get them, or my computer.

    …okay, rant over. At any rate, it makes more sense for me to stick with Winamp than have Steam separately managing the same library.

    • Cockie says:

      You know you can listen to mp3′s (or wma or flac or whatever) on a smartphone, right? If you have one with expandable memory you can even plug in a 32 or 64 gb microsd and listen until the end of times.

    • particlese says:

      How about a (discontinued, but maybe findable) Cowon X7? 120 or 160 jiggabites via spinning platters, rather big for jogging, support for mp3, flac, ogg, and other things (looks like no apple files, though), awesome sound quality and battery life, gapless playback (assuming it’s like their J3), and not an apple product.

      I have a J3 I love, and here’s a review of the X7, if you’re interested. My one beef with the J3 is that it chokes on the mono and 24-bit flacs I’ve tried feeding it, but maybe they’ve fixed that in firmware or in the X7.

  32. mLocke says:

    meh, subsonic already does this on every platform, with a better UI.

  33. The Army of None says:

    I can finally listen to all those RPS podcasts through Steam! Those many, many podcasts…

  34. LockjawNightvision says:

    Awesome! An easier way to switch out the horrible screamo in MGS:R! Now maybe I’ll actually be able to play that game for more than an hour at a time!

  35. SonicFreak94 says:

    I’d honestly use this as long as they can rig it up to automatically stop ingame music, much like on the Xbox 360 (which I’ve used a whole two times). It saves the trouble of disabling it myself and using my own media player, and then remembering to enable it again when I’m done.

    • LionsPhil says:

      On the topic of game integration, it would probably be highly desirable to stop the music when cutscenes happen.

      At the same time, I expect that’d be nigh-impossible to do without the game’s co-operation, much like how overlay pausing doesn’t work in some games. (KSP + Steam overlay = wait, why am I throttled up?)

  36. finbik says:

    Seems obvious enough why it’s aimed at locally-stored files – it encourages people to pirate music (as building a collection to rival Spotify would be too pricey), cancel any music streaming subs they may have as they’ve got the taste for piracy, and then have more money for Steam sales, because even if you’re pirating everything the lure of Steam sales is too damn strong.

    This may not actually be true.

  37. DrManhatten says:

    Another pointless addition to their DRM world. Steam lives and breaths DRM and most people are so stupid and go along with it.

  38. paddymaxson says:

    VALVe should just write some sort of Overlay API so people can make mods for the Overlay. I tried Overwolf a while back but it sucks balls. An open system where people can add a foobar remote plugin, or a Trillian plugin would be great

    My big pet peeve right now (having fairly recently become a dual monitor user again) is games that don’t run in borderless windowed mode, there’s hope for future games but older games are a problem and not all games work well with the various tools which hack a window running at full screen res into a borderless fullscreen.

    If I had better control of the rest of my PC while in the steam overlay though, it’d be a good compromise over Borderless Fullscreen.