Only Microsoft Groove Doesn’t Offer a Family Plan

Posted on November 16, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Groove Music with 51 Comments

Only Microsoft Groove Doesn't Offer a Family Plan

When it comes to music subscription services, Microsoft’s Groove is unique. In that it doesn’t offer a family plan.

Yes, I’ve written about this before. It wasn’t even all that long ago.

But I bring this up again today because Amazon’s Music Unlimited family plan is now available. The cost? $14.99 per month, with support for up to six people.

Spotify has one too. Same price, $14.99 per month, with support for up to five people.

Apple Music? Yep. $14.99 per month, six people.

Google Play Music? You bet. $14.99 per month, six people.

Microsoft Groove? /cricket chirp

There are many reasons why Groove is never mentioned by the mainstream media in any comparison of music services. Many reasons why most normal consumers have never even heard of Groove.

But what isn’t OK, what doesn’t make any sense at all, is Microsoft not even rising to the basic services that the other offerings provide.

So. Once again, I’ll just say this. Again. Microsoft really needs to offer a Groove family plan. Until it does, it just isn’t a contender.


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  1. 4 | Reply
    Maciek Alpha Member #272 - 2 months ago

    It gets even 'better'. And I've 'spammed' your comments about this before. Regional availability of Zune -> Xbox Music -> Groove haven't been expanded for years. In my country I have no problem using Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Deezer, Tidal and others. Groove Music? Still not available in Poland, as in many, many other countries. It's freakin' sad...

    1. 4 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago
      In reply to Maciek:

      I've said the same thing before:  Microsoft SUCKS at regionalization and international availability.

    2. 0 | Reply
      wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 2 months ago
      In reply to Maciek:

      We are outside the USA, so we don't seem to count, when it comes to new consumer services and hardware. I'm still waiting for the Band or Band2 to be released...

    3. 0 | Reply
      arknu Alpha Member #1121 - 2 months ago
      In reply to Maciek:

      Yes! Groove and all other Microsoft products and service. How about Cortana? Still only available in a handful of countries...

    4. 1 | Reply
      Maciek Alpha Member #272 - 2 months ago
      In reply to arknu:

      I'm not even starting to think about Cortana :-) Language differences are tricky, and while I don't like it, I can understand, that richer countries are a bigger priority. It's a bummer for me, but at least that makes sense and I'm just out of luck. But Groove (and Music&TV)? All other companies have no problem at all in launching their services almost globally. Spotify, Netflix, whatever. Only Microsoft is not interested in expanding and haven't been for years (limiting its revenue stream and crippling in those regions their Windows and Xbox products), and I wonder why. And I keep returning to this subject with hope, that influential journalists, such as Paul or Brad, will ask Microsoft that question and quote their reply...

    5. 0 | Reply
      mebby Alpha Member #219 - 2 months ago
      In reply to Maciek:

      I understand it takes time, but it does seem like Microsoft is only focused on enterprise and productivity.  If they really try to push Windows as a modern OS I don't understand why they do not slowly add Cortana for more countries every quarter. The lack of attention to Groove makes sense since consumers are a secondary (tertiary?) priority.

    6. 0 | Reply
      Maciek Alpha Member #272 - 2 months ago
      In reply to mebby:

      Fun fact. What app do I use on Xbox One to play music? Answer: YouTube. No Spotify (because Sony), no other apps as far as I know were made for Xbox One, and Groove just welcomes me with 'sorry, not available. frigg off'. 'Multimedia home system, more than a video game console' my ass... and, of course, this issue is not just limited to one tiny flagship Xbox product ;-)

  2. 1 | Reply
    wiederman Alpha Member #2389 - 2 months ago

    This is one of many things that irritates me about the service... coming very close to switching my family over to Spotify to save cash even though I like using groove on all my MS stuff

    1. 0 | Reply
      wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 2 months ago
      In reply to wiederman:

      I would wait until Spotify has fixed the disk thrashing bug, especially if you have SSDs.

      We just use Groove with our own music on OneDrive. I keep thinking about Spotify or paying for Groove. I'd like to pay for Groove, as we already use it, but without a family plan it is a non-starter.

      Amazon Prime Music failed by offering me only one of the first 8 songs I searched for.

  3. 1 | Reply
    crmguru Alpha Member #2345 - 2 months ago

    Are any of these services making money?  Just wondering.

    1. 0 | Reply
      lvthunder Alpha Member #2039 - 2 months ago
      In reply to crmguru:

      If you look at Apple's reporting it looks like Apple Music is making money, but it just really depends on how you slice the revenue and where you show the expenses.

  4. 1 | Reply
    DaveHelps Alpha Member #1285 - 2 months ago

    I would also like to see this. It's not like it would be that hard, they could just make it part of Office 365 Home Xbox Live, both of which have account sharing features.

    But I think I understand.

    I use Groove. My girlfriend uses it too. If there was a family plan, we would cancel her subscription and she would share mine.

    Is there anyone out there who would switch from iSpotiPlay to Groove, if only they did family plans? Or would it just lead to a drop in numbers?

    Whereas bundling it into Office 365 Home, or bundling it into Xbox Live, now that would boost membership, if a little artificially.

  5. 0 | Reply
    bennett_cg Alpha Member #1347 - 2 months ago

    My Groove subscription expires in December, and I've decided not to renew it. The service has worked fine, but the feature limitations (relative to competitors) just don't give it the value that Microsoft needs to demonstrate in order to win people away from more broadly-accepted products.

  6. 0 | Reply
    Michael Rivers Alpha Member #2242 - 2 months ago

    This is such a weird omission. Microsoft has clearly spent some money lately developing Groove -- it has gotten so much better. I subscribe to both Apple Music and Groove Music, and I really find Groove more pleasant to use now. And I can have a huge amount of my lossless music in One Drive that I can play back on my Xbox and phone. A family plan seems simple for a company for Microsoft to set up. Why haven't they done it?

  7. 0 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 2 months ago

    Amazon Prime allows family members to sign-on for free so they will get Music and other Prime services for free at no added cost.

    I see no benefit to music services since (1) only a few new albums are worth paying for, (2) few listens to music regularly, (3) the service itself is a pain to use, (4) free music is easier to get than ever before.

  8. 0 | Reply
    dstrack Alpha Member #1374 - 1 month ago

    Yes, just canceled Groove and went to Amazon Music Unlimited. Desktop app to upload songs in bulk very flaky but the service works great with Echo and Sonos.

  9. 0 | Reply
    Wizzwith Alpha Member #2111 - 2 months ago

    They still don't have family sharing setup for the Windows Store apps either.   This really sucks but I'm not switching off Groove anytime soon cause 

    a) I have YEARS of service across a couple accounts from all the black Friday subs I got for $30 and $50

    b) The Groove app and service (on Windows desktop/mobile/Xbox at least) is really great now... but yeah they need to update on other platforms

    c) There is nothing else that is as good on Windows or Xbox... everything else forces you to use a web player, which I don't want for my music

  10. 0 | Reply
    hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 2 months ago

    Maybe there are so few Groove subscribers that it's just not worth making any changes. Has MSFT ever publicized the number of Groove subscribers?

    In short, maybe MSFT Groove isn't a contender, MSFT's internal estimates show it never would be, so why bother making it more attractive?

  11. 0 | Reply
    MixedFarmer75 Alpha Member #256 - 2 months ago

    Agree 100%.   I like Groove music service,  but as a family of 6, can't use it.   As a primarily a Windows user in Canada, Apple music made no sense because we only have the one Apple device.   Same as Google music.   No client for WM10.   A few months ago Spotify came out with their family plan in Canada.   I was paying $300/year dollars for 3 members with Groove,  now 4 of us enjoy music for $180/year.  When my too younger kids start using it Stil $180 not $600.  Get in it to compete,  or get out MS.   Quit wasting yours and my time. 

  12. 0 | Reply
    DaddyBrownJr Alpha Member #1342 - 2 months ago

    If you only want a single subscription, Groove has the option of paying for the entire year for $99.99, which is a pretty good savings off of the $9.99/month on Play.

  13. 0 | Reply
    arknu Alpha Member #1121 - 2 months ago

    It is embarassing, quite simply. But with cloud-obsedded Nadella, I fear the next thing that will happen to Groove is that they shut it down. They aren't even trying anymore.

    1. 0 | Reply
      mike2k Alpha Member #1349 - 2 months ago
      In reply to arknu:

      Doesn't seem like they were ever really trying. Zune outta the gate was better then anything they've done since and it was probably by accident. 

    2. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago
      In reply to mike2k:

      Maybe the service.  Not the app though.  It wasn't good until they rebuilt it with .Net .  This was the original resource-hog software:

      The thing was meant to literally look like a giant Zune MP3 player, right down to the buttons at the bottom.


      Also, when they finally did open up the Zune music subscription service to other countries (other than the US), they never had the 10 free song downloads.

    3. 0 | Reply
      mebby Alpha Member #219 - 2 months ago
      In reply to arknu:

      Hmm... What does it really mean to be cloud focused. Office/productivity online. Storage online. Exchange online. Is that it? If they are so cloud focused, why not offer Cortana around the globe?  Groove is somewhat cloud-related but has too many non-cloud issues (licensing, etc.) I guess.

  14. 0 | Reply
    jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 2 months ago

    Pandora also lacks a family plan but that doesn't make your point less valid, the lack of a family plan is absurd.

  15. 0 | Reply
    EnterMegatron99 Alpha Member #189 - 2 months ago

    Yep, we switched to Spotify last month from Groove specifically for their family plan.