Only Microsoft Groove Doesn’t Offer a Family Plan

Posted on November 16, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Groove Music with 50 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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Comments (50)

50 responses to “Only Microsoft Groove Doesn’t Offer a Family Plan”

  1. 294

    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...

    • 5234

      In reply to Maciek:

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

    • 241

      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.

      • 294

        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 ;-)

    • 1753

      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...

    • 1257

      In reply to Maciek:

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

      • 294

        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...

  2. 1581

    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.

  3. 8451

    There is something to be said about their regional availability.


    For a company that brought personal computing to the world and was a champ in localization, their service availability and localization is pathetic in the last, say, 10 years.


    Xbox, Music services, cortana, even flow keyboard languages, it's still not available where I live (Croatia, EU). Where pretty much all the competitors support. It's pretty pathetic.


    I for one have given up on everything they offer except for windows+office+onedrive obviously. Old moneymakers are available.

  4. 5361

    Are any of these services making money?  Just wondering.

    • 4800

      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.

  5. 5396

    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

    • 1753

      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.

  6. 2371

    Because I like to keep my computing ecosystem easy to use, a Groove family plan is the only plan I would consider.  Until then I will keep buying mp3's or CD's.

  7. 1704

    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.

  8. 5496

    Do anyone realize that it may have something tho do with the content providers.

    If the content providers say that you can share your account. Then they won't let you, because of contracts.

    • 8444

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      Well blame is still with MS. If all the others have the necessary contracts and rights then so can MS renegotiate.

      Unless they find it too expensive to invest in a consumer market only product (which is probably the case)

    • 1377

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      How does that explain the other services mentioned in the article?

      Poor MSFT. All the music rights holders just want to shaft MSFT and only MSFT.

  9. 5496

    Can't you just have one account and have your family sign in with that account username and password?

    • 2790

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      You can but in my case I don't think my 11yo & 16yo daughters wants to browse my collection of 90's grunge and metal, likewise I don't want to see Katy Perry or any R&B BS in my collection... individual collections tied to a single bill is what's needed.

    • 6734

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      And probably they allow to connect only one device in the same time, like Spotify.

  10. 8444

    Microsoft doesn't really care to compete in consumer space. I just got an update for the Photos app on my PC. There are way less edit options, way less filters, sorting, tagging and sharing options compared to what Google Photos had day 1.

    Same goes for Groove, News, Mail and Edge. The basics are there. And that's it. In the past this could have worked but in these times where users compare stuff and are informed no one uses basic stuff like Groove.


    Other complaints. Groove is the only one without a dedicated iPad app. It also doesn't support GoogleCast an Apple Airplay. So if I don't have an Xbox I can't play music through my TV with soundsystrm

  11. 1816

    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.

  12. 6359

    Paul, thanks for representing my family.

    Microsoft has shown little respect for the consumer market purchasing their products.

    I see them as a shining example of missed opportunities going unmeasured.

    Except by Paul Thurrott, of course!


  13. 5038

    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

  14. 1377

    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?

  15. 5530

    Can Microsoft just give up on Groove? They literally have no interest or business in the music entertainment space.

  16. 277

    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. 

  17. 2175

    Having no family plan is why I stopped paying for Groove

    The other reason is that it was still called "Xbox Music" on my Lumia 640XL, which only ran WP8.1

    The disconnect in the naming scheme just bugged me. Some things inside the app were referred to as "Groove Music", but the app itself was Xbox Music. To me, that just showed a lack of cohesion that I wasn't keen on paying for anymore. Plus the search function was rubbish. If I searched for an artist, song - whatever, all you get is a boring list of search results. No pictures or anything, and sometimes the option I wanted was 3-4 items down the list. It's a really half-arsed effort by Microsoft

  18. 6734

    Sometimes it feels as forces internal within the same Microsoft are sabotaging them efforts by transcend in certain services as Groove.  I simply cannot understand why Groove is not even offered in several markets like in latin America, they ignore Costa Rica for example.  And the same for other countries around the world. 

    You can subscribe here for Netflix, google music, apple music, Spotify even has $9 family plan. You can have retailers for Samsung and Apple products.  But Xbox One, Surface or Lumia are not existent at all here.  The Xbox 360 is offered since this year!!! really??  The same year they decided to stop making it.  It is frustrating.

  19. 1805

    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.

  20. 5240

    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?

  21. 5486

    Play Music family plan here. It works great, except, in the UK, $14.99 translates to £14.99 AND we don't get Youtube Red either. What I do get though is centralized purchases through the Play Store along with a 10% discount on all purchases. Groove Music? Never heard of it ;-)

  22. 5394

    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.

  23. 5510

    Face it, Microsoft doesn't care about this stuff. Their heart isn't in it.

    • 2371

      In reply to Bats:

      I can't figure out why they keep dabbling with consumer and hoping it will all of a sudden catch on when they offer less than everyone else.

      They "finally" have a good music app and are closing in on a good Movie app.  But they do not advertise them or permote them.

      They don't even sell ebooks at all!  BnN didn't want them and Amazon is not interested in W10 either.  Why not sell ebooks, they are not going to make a partner made!  They have the ability in house to create the best book reader app with pen support and they have the infrastructure in the Microsoft store to sell and deliver.  Makes know sense.

      • 8444

        In reply to RM:

        The e-reader hype is over. Most people who like to read digital books have already migrated to another device with another ecosystem. Since books are way more locked down then MP3 music I don't see many people starting from scratch. So they can make the app to read already purchased books but there really isn't any profit in it in short and middle long term. So they probably just don't bother at this point.

        • 5539

          In reply to Atoqir: And what's worse, MS once again pissed away an early start in the game. Their MS Reader ( was pretty decent for its time and they even offered an authoring application for people to create their own content in an ebook format. I probably still have some .lit files floating around in various backups.


    • 2790

      In reply to Bats:

      Sadly I have to agree with you, they have completely flipped the bird to the consumer space which is really furstrating for those of us that bought into it!  It's particularly frustrating when they do all that work on XBOX but don't put any heart into really extending it any further...

  24. 1257

    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.

    • 1712

      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. 

      • 5234

        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.

    • 241

      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.

  25. 6359

    I read an article this morning dated Nov 10th about a problem with Spotify constantly writing to drives even when not in use.  We're talking gigabytes in less than an hour adding up to incredible disk write statistics.  Life threatening for an SSD. 

    Comments from readers allege that for at least five months it has been constantly decompressing a SQLite database when not playing music.  That could certainly explain it if it is true.

    Apparently version update 1.0.42 "being rolled out to all users" fixes it. 



  26. 206

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

  27. 6014

    I want to know why this service is being neglected.  I can accept that it is, but tell me why so if MS is changing direction I don't waste my time with to-be-abandoned sections of their ecosystem.

    • 8444

      In reply to Daekar:

      Consumer stuff has been on the back burner for quite a while now. Stuff that gets updated constantly is business stuff. OneDrive with SharePoint integration. Office with new features and tools, Visual Studio versions, new experimental behind the scenes web standard Edge improvements

      Stuff like Groove, Photos, News, Mail, basic Edge functions moves at glacial speed 

      • 5234

        In reply to Atoqir:

        So they don't update the stuff that people want to have updated, and update the stuff that businesses don't want updated.  Can Microsoft get anything right?

  28. 983

    I was thinking about this today, so thought I'd upvote whatever uservoice entries there are for it. Turns out that the uservoice site for groove is shut down. and are both gone.