As promised, Google today began rolling out its Google Play Music family plan in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. Instead of $10 per month for one user getting an “All Access” subscription, the family plan costs $15 per month for up to six users (you can sign up “in the coming days” on Android devices).
The idea is a simple one: As streaming services ramp up, so do your bills. You don’t want to pay multiple times for the same service, and companies don’t want multiple people sharing a single paid account. The solution is then to offer a more expensive account meant for multiple people, which costs more than a single account but still less than the combined price of multiple accounts.
With the Google Play Music family plan, you’re essentially adding up to five family members (or people who you’re just close with) for another $5 per month. The same features apply: ad-free, unlimited access to over 35 million songs; the ability for each user to stream simultaneously on multiple devices (Android, iOS and the Web); and, because you have separate logins, your song history saved separately so you can get recommendations tailored to the music you like.
The bonus is you also get a family subscription to YouTube Red, which provides ad-free streaming of videos hosted by the service, as well as offline and background playback of videos on mobile devices. Unfortunately, YouTube Red is still U.S.-only for now, though more countries will be added next year.
So how does this family plan stack up to the competition? Strictly from a payment perspective — for we could spend hours debating each of the service’s features — here is what you need to know:
- Google Play Music: $15 per month, up to six users.
- Apple Music: $15 per month, up to six users.
- Spotify: 50 percent off for additional users. $15 for families of two, $20 for three, $25 for four, $30 for five, $35 for six, and so on.
- Rhapsody: 50 percent off for additional users. $15 for families of two, $20 for three, $25 for four, $30 for five, $35 for six, and so on.
- Tidal: 50 percent off for additional users. $15 for families of two, $20 for three, $25 for four, $30 for five, $35 for six, and so on.
- Amazon Prime Music: No family plan.
- Groove (formerly Xbox Music): No family plan.
- Deezer: No family plan.
- Pandora: No family plan.
This puts Google Play Music in line with Apple Music. Everything else is a rip-off.
In short, Google just happened to be launching a family plan in time to price it on par with Apple’s foray into the space. You can expect others will react similarly.