Google Play Music Gets a Family Plan

Today Google launched a six-person family plan for Google Play music for $14.99.  If you are engaged in the music community as a consumer or musician, there’s a few things you need to stay plugged in to the community; Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and a subscription music service.

Personally, I’m a little conflicted on this news.  While it is a great deal (which will be matched by Spotify) that Apple also offers, the fact that this subscription service also includes YouTube Red (provides an ad-free YouTube experience) gives it a competitive edge for anyone engaged in this community.  Where I become conflicted on this is I don’t see how subscription music services make money off a six-person plan at $14.99 a month when a single person plan starts $9.99 a month unless they pay less per stream and volume is the name of the game.  Knowing the music industry, I’m certain this is not the case.

My other issue with this is how can artist (Taylor Swift particularly) complain about semi-free (ad-based music services) devaluing music and the artist when the labels are allowing family plans?  With a six-person family plan, the music is essentially free and the pre-teens and teenagers who are piggy backing off their parents or older sibling’s plan is going to have the perception that music is free due to the fact that, for the majority of their life, when they want to hear a song they are going to fire up Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and play a track.  When an artist like Adele asks them to buy a CD or a digital copy of their album, this future generation is not going to do that because they are going to wonder why all their other favorite artist don’t charge them but this one greedy artist (in this case Adele) want to get money from them.

Maybe the record labels and the streaming service is using the Amazon business plan scale first, become so integrated into society that everyone values and the convenience and simplicity of steaming music services and then began to increase prices and/or reduce these generous subscription plans.

If six-person family plans are the new reality, I foresee all artists having a more difficult time making money directly from sales of their music.  The only path at that point will be to offer early, secure, maybe streaming only access to new music to their most loyal fans via the streaming services themselves a week before the release or something along those lines.

If you’re looking for a streaming music service for yourself, family and/or close association, check out the various subscription family plans that are available from the major streaming providers.  If you are currently subscribe to a streaming service that’s not Google Play and you or member of your family consume a lot of YouTube/Google Play music, I believe would be the best service for you.


This article was written by WillCollection, whose Twitter account has a lot of stuff going on.  You can follow him at @WillCollection.