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Steam Music Now Accepting Beta Signups 102

dotarray writes "Valve continues in its quest for world domination with the announcement of Steam Music, soon to be a part of SteamOS, Big Picture and — eventually — the desktop Steam client. Promising a way for you to 'Listen to your music collection while you play games', beta signups (of a kind) are open now."
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Steam Music Now Accepting Beta Signups

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  • by Anonymous Coward

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  • by TheSwift ( 2714953 ) on Monday February 03, 2014 @04:53PM (#46144155)

    OP seems to think Valve's aspirations are deplorable for consumers.

    The more companies (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Valve) who vie for control of the modern omni-market, the better it is for us. Someone tell me how more choices is a bad thing.

    Valve, you can send me my check in the mail, please.

    • There's probably a sweet spot somewhere along the line.

      1 service is bad; 1000 services fracture the market so much that you miss out on too many niche artists, can't share content with the person you marry, since they were on service #349, etc.

      I suspect we're getting pretty close to that sweet spot for major label music.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        1 service is bad; 1000 services fracture the market so much that you miss out on too many niche artists

        So long as one or more of the services offers a service tier without charge (possibly with a monthly cap), one could sign up on multiple services to find niche artists.

        can't share content with the person you marry, since they were on service #349, etc.

        Even two services (PlayStation Network and Xbox Live) fracture the market in the same manner that 1000 do.

        • At least with "only" PSN and XBL, I have a 50% chance of being on the same "team" with my next roommate or wife.

    • This isn't a spotify/rdio etc competitor. It's just a network music player for Steam. That's all. A dude at valve who likes listening to music while playing videogames probably really wanted to continue listening to music while playing videogames on SteamOS
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      I'm sorry, Valve only deals in a currency knows as 'Hats'.


    • "Someone tell me how more choices is a bad thing."

      Because having more alternatives increases the cost of making a choice: []

      See also "You Want More Choices and Information Than You Can Actually Process" by Susan Weinschenk: [] and _The Paradox of Choice_ by Barry Schwartz

  • But what can they bring to the table that old winamp and mp3s can't do better?
    • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Monday February 03, 2014 @05:02PM (#46144225)

      Not everyone wants to maintain a library of their own MP3 files.

      As much as I like the idea of owning things, services get more and more attractive to me every day in terms of convenience and cross-platform usability.

      I ripped my massive DVD collection to a convenient set of well organized files a few years back, but that doesn't mean that Netflix doesn't make more sense to me more often than not.

      • That's where I'm at. Once upon a time I thought I'd build a neighborhood movie-sharing vault. Now it's just easier to pay a few bucks to stream that movie that I watch every once in a while instead of the thought of maintaining terabytes of static data, or data that we'd have to pay to add to it.
        • As it stands, I don't care enough about music to subscribe to something like Google Play's all-access thing.

          I got on the XM bandwagon back when they came online, and their streaming service offers me most of what I want to listen to when the mood strikes me.

          ...but as the price gets lower and lower, and the services get better and better, I might just jump on that too.

          • I had XM a few yrs back, but dumped it after trying Pandora. I'm usually not anywhere I don't have wifi or cell data, so for $36/yr, it works for me.

            I guess I'm just at a different time in my life than I was in the past. The DRM thing used to really get to me, but maybe I'm just not as involved so I no longer care. :)
            • XMOnline is a byproduct of my service in the car, which I enjoy. Traffic to and from my job gives me long windows to listen, and I prefer uncensored long-form talk, and much like my first post, I don't want to manage a bunch of podcasts when, for the most part, XM is just going to play the people I like listening to anyway in realtime, discussing in-the-news-today, which I prefer to the more abstracted nature of podcasts.

              I pay a couple bucks extra a month for XMOnline, but it's worth it to me.

      • That makes sense. That's how it works for me for movies and shows. I don't really even have any DVDs because of services like Netflix and Amazon. The issue for me is that I already have the infrastructure in place for music. I have my backed up mp3 collection, organized better than they'd probably let me on their service.

        I've looked into other cloud services too. I have a google music account with my music uploaded there, but it's generally inferior to the local player. Somewhere in the last 5 ye
        • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

          Wait so you would really rather pay everytime you want to listen to/watch something, even if you've paid for it before? Wow. I have this swamp land you might be interested in...

          • by FatAlb3rt ( 533682 ) on Monday February 03, 2014 @05:55PM (#46144797) Homepage
            I would. Instead of buying a $15 DVD, I'll pay $4 and watch it once. If it's good enough, I might watch it 2 or maybe 3 times, but odds are, I'm coming out ahead.
          • Could be worse. At my peak I bought DVDs I never watched. I'd gladly PPV them :)

          • I...I genuinely don't know where you got that notion from.

            That aside, I'd much rather pay $2.00 to sit down and watch a cheesy movie with some friends I'll never watch again than $15.99 for a DVD that takes up space, but I seldom ever watch something twice. Music is a different story altogether.
    • Winamp can't run on Steam OS, it's Windows only.

      It's all about bringing common, expected PC functionality to Steam OS... listen to music, browse the web, and perhaps more with time. Power users can drop to Gnome and do stuff but Valve likely does not find that acceptable for causal users I bet.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Winamp can't run on Steam OS, it's Windows only.

        Let me rephrase: What does this bring to the table that XMMS doesn't?

        It's all about bringing common, expected PC functionality to Steam OS

        I expect PCs to be able to play obscure music formats like NSF and MOD, even if I have to install a third-party decoder. There are plenty of third-party decoders for Winamp (called "input plug-ins"). I wonder if Valve plans to allow developers of third-party decoders that already run in a framework such as GStreamer to port their decoders to Steam Music.

        • What it brings to the table is the ability to select from your music library and play the music from the steam overlay in-game or from the steam big picture interface. No need to leave the game to open another shell or DE, no need to fiddle with the commandline, none of that. Instead, pause game, select music, resume game rather than pause game, switch to xmms (or whatever), manage music from xmms which may or may not work with a joypad, switch back to the game then resume play. It's just convenience.


          • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
            Exactly. Ideally, for the console crowed, Steam will be the Desktop. For the PC crowed, Steam will be an app for gaming.
    • For starters, Valve can bring integration with the many Source games so your own library is dynamically mixed with the game's sounds, rather than just playing both at constant volumes. With more effort, the game could request certain kinds of music, so your zombie-slaying sessions are accompanied by a perfect energetic theme song, while the sad story moments are set to a more melancholy tune.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Whoa! That would be awesome. Hey, you could even go one step farther and include music with the game so you don't have to mix in your own library!

    • Integration with the Steam overlay.

      Most games are full-screen. The Steam Overlay currently gives you a lightweight web browser and chat. It's very useful for, say, checking a walkthrough while playing, because switching from a fullscreen app to the desktop is a slow and bug-prone process, while throwing a Direct3D/OpenGL overlay with that stuff in it is fast and relatively safe. Even with multiple monitors, just changing inputs is tricky.

      Adding a lightweight media player to it is a fairly logical step. I've

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      But what can they bring to the table that old winamp and mp3s can't do better?

      In game control of volume and play list management via the steam overlay.

      Integrated mixer to easily manage volume levels, via the steam overlay; separate game audio, music volume, and voice (as well as setting different audio devices for each...)

      Runs everywhere steam os runs. (winamp doesn't run on mac or linux ...)

      "Big picture mode" support - means being able to control everything easily with a game controller.

      I can see it being

    • But what can they bring to the table that old winamp and mp3s can't do better?

      Here's a few thoughts:

      1. 1) Manage/Control music without leaving Big Picture mode, not useful for keyboard & mouse really, but if you're playing with a controller on a television I think this would be very useful.
      2. 2) Add a way to mix your music library with the in-game sounds. You could set the music volume to lower than the sound effects and dialogue volume, so that you could hear the music just fine, but without drowning out the noises from the game that might be useful to the player to hear (gunshots,
  • When I first read the headline, I was hoping this was an announcement of a music store. While integrating a music player into the system is interesting, I really hope they do go that far. A lot of people making the move from OS X to Linux find themselves at a loss when it comes to finding a comprehensive music store alternative. If not DRM laden, such a thing could be a huge win in Linux.

    Oh well.
    • Some flavors of Ubuntu bundle a client for the Amazon MP3 store in countries where it is available. But you're right that I've discovered several songs that are on iTunes but not Amazon.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, in in-game music player is just fine, especially if it lets me control my content without uploading it anywhere if I don't want to.

      Speaking as a Canadian who isn't allowed to buy MP3s from US based services like Amazon

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Monday February 03, 2014 @05:28PM (#46144521)

    Steam Music, from Valve's description, is basically just an in-game music player (they already have the Steam Overlay running things in-game, for chat and web browsing). You pick your media folder, it lets you play stuff from it. I see absolutely nothing about selling music via Steam.

    And this makes sense. There's many games I would want to play my own music in (Civilization springs to mind), and be able to control it from inside the game. It probably won't be the greatest music player, but much like the Steam Overlay web browser is just a simple WebKit browser that doesn't really compete with Chrome or Firefox as standalone browsers, this doesn't need to compete with whatever passes for a top-notch media player. It just needs to play music from my hard drive, and let me pause/play/change tracks by pressing Shift+Tab and some buttons.

    That said, Steam *already* sells music - several games have their soundtracks in the Steam store, usually as a bundle with the game for an extra buck or two. As far as I've seen, they're all DRM-free, just plain MP3 files.

    • Totally agree with this. Some games don't have a great sound track, or in cases like Path of Exile, Kingdoms of Amalur or Skyrim, you play the game so much you get bored of even good music. Tabbing out, while not hard, can sometimes destabilize a game or just be inconvenient. Adding a music player to the overlay which just reads from your library is a small and simple quality of life improvement.

  • I'm all for listening to your own music while playing games, but I can do that right now very easily without Steam.

    I love to play NFS -style racing games and turn down the game's music and start AIMP3 or Spotify in the background. It's like being a teenager again, driving around listening to my tapes or the radio, except I'm doing it in a Lamborghini Vaneno, running from cops and jumping over rusting airplanes.

    When I want to hear my own collection, I've got that, when I want to listen to the "radio" I can

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      That would be a great feature.

      ON the plus side, with steam it looks like you will be able to set playlists to games.

      Rumor is you will be able to do that based on tempo as well

    • I picked up a four channel mixer at the flea market for ten bucks. Now I can play my own music while playing console games... at least, in the ones that let me turn their crappy music off. That's my favorite feature of GTAV.

  • Considering that Steam is also getting into software distribution in general and not just games, could it be that SteamOS has the potential to eventually compete with Windows as a consumer desktop OS? Obviously Valve has made no indication of such intentions, but they are Valve, after all. To quote their own TF2 character: "One shudders to imagine what inhuman thoughts lie behind that mask." Honestly I'm partly fantasizing, but at the very least they intend to take the PC gamer crowd, and that would be
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can play my final fantasy music collection while playing final fantasy!

  • Not directly related to Steam Music, but a simple feature for Grand Theft Auto games would be to have real radio stations (MP3 streamed) as the in-game radio stations.
  • I run a few Xonotic servers and was thinking of promoting CC licensed artist or ones that would allow me to use their music for free in game by changing the in game music on the server once every two weeks, dont want to do it too often as the players have to dl the music serverpackage everytime the music is changed. Then on my site I'd do profiles of the artists and make the music bundles adailable for download.

  • Steam Client (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:10PM (#46146573)

    They better try to lose some bloatware from their Steam Client. On my Mac mini, it's faster to start fucking Photoshop CS6 then to start Steam.

    • by Zyrill ( 700263 )
      Could be a new art form if transferred to RL: oil paintings on post-it notes. About the same concept as PS on a mac mini... Royalties, please!
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Ditto on my ancient, updated Windows XP Pro. SP3 machine. :(


    Then lets here your opinions.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky