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How to get the proper Bioshock soundtrack (i.e. Beyond The Sea et al)

An awfully good party

[Edit – please don’t request a download of these songs in the Comments below. We’ll get into lots of trouble for it. Most of these songs are available on iTunes, though.]

So, I was angrier than a wasp in a box about the Moby debacle with the Bioshock limited edition. One of 2K’s multiple attempts yesterday to avoid the flaming pitchfork treatment from furious fans was to release the game’s impressive score for free. Still not what I wanted – there’s a bunch of frankly awesome, vintage 1950s songs in the game, including Beyond The Sea, Papa Loves Mambo and, uh, How much Is That Doggy In The Window. The stuff that should have been on the much-loathed soundtrack CD, in other words.

I’ve been trying to work out myself where in Bioshock’s install directory these fine vintage ditties lurked, and how to extract the songs in question so I can listen to ’em without the distraction of screaming Splicers in the background. I’d just about given up when I read this post on the official forums. A summary of how to get the songs playing whenever you want ’em to follows after the jump. …

First up, you need MusicPlayerEX , a free application. (If you’re not familiar with the .RAR extension the download comes in, it’s like a .ZIP file, except you need Winrar to extract it).

So, extract MusicPlayerEX somewhere handy, then run MusicPlayerEX.bat. Then browse to your Bioshock install directory (most likely C:\Program Files\2K Games\Bioshock), and go to Content\Sounds_Windows. Find the file called ‘streams_music_common_audio.fsb’ and drag it into the main bit of MusicPlayerEX. You’ll see multiple tracks listed – and you can just play them from there with a double-click if you’re not bothered about getting them into another music player or onto an iPod or something. They won’t have any names at this point, though.

To turn the tracks into a more everyday format like MP3, things get a bit complicated – both pratically and legally speaking, depending on which country you currently dwell in. I’m pretty sure it’s fine, but to be on the safe side (and to save me finding a lawyer to check it’s OK with at 1am on Sunday), I’m gonna defer entirely to the thread on the official forum for this part. So, tough titties if that thread is killed by 2K word-assassins, – I’m guessing it’ll stay though, as really it’s all in the name of celebrating the game. I can tell you that the method works. I can also tell you that, though others have had success, I couldn’t rip directly to MP3, only to WAV, so had to manually change the tracks into an iPod-friendly format with iTunes.

If it does all work out for you, you may want to rename the tracks so you can tell what they are. Here’s a mostly complete list of the gibberish filenames (ignoring the phrase ‘Music License’ at the start of each) and what the songs actually are.

Lamer Bigband – Beyond the Sea – Bobby Darin
Lamer – La Mer (aka Beyond The Sea Instrumental) – Django Reindhart
Papalovesmambo – Papa Loves Mambo – Perry Como
Thebesthingsinl@ – The Best Things in Life are Free – The Inkspots
Waltsoftheflower – Nutcracker – P.I Tchaikovsky
Wrapyourtrouble – Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams – Bing Crosby
Yourethetop – You’re the Top – Cole Porter
20thcenturyblues – 20th Century Blues – Noel Coward
Howmuchdoggy – How Much Is That Doggie In The Window – Patti Page
Beimirbistduschoà – Bei Mir Bist Du Schon – The Andrews Sisters
Brothersparedime – Brother Can You Spare A Dime – Bing Crosby
Dannyboy – Oh Danny Boy – Mario Lanza
Godblesschild – God Bless The Child – Billie Holiday
Itsbadforme – It’s Bad For Me – Rosemary Clooney
Justwalkingrain – Just Walking In The Rain – Johnnie Ray
Nightday – Night and Day – Billie Holiday
Ifididntcare – If I Didn’t Care – The Ink Spots
Worldweary – World Weary – Noel Coward
Thepartysover – The Party’s Over – Noel Coward
Jitterbugwaltz – Jitterbug Waltz – Fats Waller
Pleasebekind – Please Be Kind – Frank Sinatra
Ithadtobeyou – It Had to Be You – (Priscilla Lane, Danny Thomas, or Dolley Wilson?)
Liza – Liza – Django Reinhardt
Riserapturerise – Rise Rapture, Rise – Ken Levine/Irrational

A few of the others (including the ones with ‘jukebox’ in the title) are just snippets of tracks or ambient noises, incidentally, so don’t worry that something’s gone wrong when you play ’em back.

Phew. Of course, if all this seems too much like hard work, at least now you know what the tracks are so you can go buy ’em from iTunes or somewhere. Me, I’m gonna flow ’em into the officially-released orchestral score to make a custom Bioshock soundtrack to listen to whenever I suffer Rapture withdrawal. I’m a geek like that.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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