(Pocket-lint) – Once your children get to a particular age, you’ll find that having everyone using the same music account becomes difficult. Not only does it mess with your automatically-generated playlists, but more importantly it means you can’t listen because someone else is using that subscription.
In comes the family plan, aiming to give multiple users access to streaming services without you having to pay the full price for multiple individual subscriptions.
Here we break down the costs, pros and cons of each different system and you’ll find they’re all competitively priced.
Spotify is the big daddy of streaming services, 60 million+ tracks, 1.5 million podcasts and Spotify Radio, but importantly there’s a lot of support for Spotify on other devices through the Premium service – on smart TVs, speakers, Android, Apple, PC, Mac – with Spotify Connect a major advantage.
The family price is £14.99/$14.99 and for that up to six members get the same Premium level of service. If you’re already a Spotify subscriber and you join a family, you can keep your playlists.
You all have to live at the same address – but there’s no limit on the number of devices – and there will be one individual bill. You will all have to have individual Spotify accounts linked to an email address – and you (legally) need to be 13 (with parental consent) to have a Spotify account.
There’s ad-supported Spotify Free as an alternative, but it does have limitations – and if you’re part of a Spotify Family you can’t use any other discounts or use free subscriptions from third-parties, like your mobile provider.
There is explicit content filtering, which you can set on an individual basis so the primary account holder is in charge of what family users can and cannot hear.
Apple Music boasts 60 million songs and access to the Apple Music 1 (previously Beats 1) radio station. It is supported on Apple and Android devices, Apple HomePod, Sonos, PC, Mac and Amazon Echo devices but not Google Home devices at the moment.
Apple Music includes anything you might have in your iTunes collection including music you purchased from Apple, and you can sync iCloud music that you upload – with each member able to share iTunes purchases with the family.
Apple Music costs £14.99/$14.99 for a family of 6 and everyone will have to have an Apple ID to be part of the family – as it is with Family Sharing. You can create an Apple ID for children under the age of 13 using your own email address as an emergency backup; kids over 13 can create their own Apple ID.
You can join a family if you’ve been an Apple Music subscriber previously, keeping your playlists and so on.
You can also set content restrictions in Apple Music. This needs to be set on each device (it’s not universal), but the settings can be locked with a PIN code.
Amazon Music Unlimted
While Amazon Music offers some “free” access via Prime subscriptions in Prime Music, for the full 60 million songs you’ll need to take out a proper Amazon Music subscription – Amazon Music Unlimited. Prime Music only has a catalogue of 2 million.
The Unlimited family account gives you 6 members and each user gets an individual account; each member needs to be at least 13 years old to have an Amazon account, so it’s different to other Amazon Household accounts – like Kindle.
A regular individual subscription is £9.99 for non-Prime subscribers or £7.99 for those who also subscribe to Prime. There are also other subscription options though, including one for use on an Echo device.
You can upload music to Amazon Music Unlimited and music you purchase from Amazon – including AutoRip tracks – are included. Amazon Music Unlimited can also be “cast” to Echo devices on the same network using Alexa Cast.
There is explicit lyric filtering available and you’ll have to enable this on each individual device, but there’s no PIN protection so can easily be turned off.
YouTube Music takes over from Google Play Music and offers a huge catalogue of official albums, playlists, singles and videos. It can be accessed on Android or Apple devices, PC, Mac, supports Google Cast streaming to many speakers, and is supported natively on Google Home devices.
The family subscription requires all users to have a Google Account, which then allows up to 6 family members (including the bill payer) all living at the same address. You can only change family groups once per year. You can include children that you have setup using Family Link if your child is under the age of 13.
It costs £14.99 / $14.99 for the family, a regular individual subscription is £9.99.
There is explicit lyric filtering and Android devices have separate parental controls in Google Play that will allow you to exclude explicit content in music.
Deezer offers 56 million music streaming tracks and plays nice with a wide range of platforms, although the family account will only work on Android, iPhone, PC and the web player.
The family price is £14.99/$14.99 and that again gives you 6 users – all of which have to be living at the same address – with separate profiles. Deezer is keen to point out that you’ll get plenty of content perfect for younger kids with its Deezer Kids option providing music picks for under 12s.
There’s a limit of 13 devices for the Deezer family account – 3 for the main subscriber and then 2 each for the secondary users.
There is explicit lyric filtering that can be enabled on each playing device.
Writing by Chris Hall. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.