Today, Google announced a new Google Play Music family plan that lets subscribers of that service add up to five additional family members for just $5 more per month. The offering matches Apple Music, and it undercuts Spotify handily.
As for Groove Music, I don’t need to tell you that Microsoft isn’t exactly competitive in this space. The firm does of course offer a Groove Music Pass subscription for $9.99 a month (or $99 a year) but there’s no family plan.
Google is pricing its family plan correctly. As with Apple, Spotify, and Microsoft, the normal individual subscription plan is $9.99 per month. But for the family plan, Google is charging just $5 more per month, and you can add up to five additional people for that price.
“You’ll unlock all of the same features you’d get from having individual subscriptions, including ad free, unlimited access to more than 35 million songs and the ability for each family member to stream simultaneously on any device, all for one low price,” Google product manager Eunice Kim explains. “Now, you can keep your listening experiences separate from your partner and get music recommendations tailored to the music you like. So, my husband’s Depeche Mode singles will never show up in my account – only my true favorites will be front and center. And a family plan on Google play will also get your family access to YouTube Red in the U.S.”
That YouTube Red access is a key differentiator for Google, as well. That service provides ad-free YouTube videos, offline song and video access, and background play from the mobile app on iOS and Android.
But it’s the price that really gets me. Only Apple matches the $14.99 per month cost that Google is providing, but Apple Music access is currently much more limited than is Google Play Music, which sports a nice web client (which works wonderfully on Windows, as well as Chromebooks and Macs) in addition to mobile clients for Android and iOS.
Spotify, which is otherwise the music service to beat, is much more expensive. Spotify’s Family Plan costs $5 additional per user per month. So where a family of five would pay Apple or Google just $15, on Spotify, the same type of service would cost $30 per month. (Of course, a family of five would pay Microsoft $50 per month for five Groove Music Pass subscriptions.)
The Google Play Music family plan will become available soon in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, France and Germany, and more countries are coming soon.
Microsoft. It’s time to wake up. You’re either in the game or you’re not. And without a family plan, and some kind of music discovery functionality, Groove Music just doesn’t add up.