Friday, December 11, 2015

Google Play Music Family Plan

Family Plan Finally Rolls Out

Image result for google play musicAfter months of waiting, Google Play Music Family Plan finally rolls out. I'm excited. Both my wife and I have been subscribers to the Play Music service. We've each been paying $9.99 a month. We've had to jump through the hoops of having only one big music collection, but having to switch desktop logins to get our tunes uploaded. It's a pain. With the new update we've been able to cancel her account, upgrade mine to the family plan, and join her in to my family group. So, what do we get?

What will you get out of this?

The first thing you'll get is a cost savings if you're in a family that was paying for two subscriptions. On the one hand, yeah, my subscription just jumped up to $14.99 a month. On the other hand, that's less than $9.99x2 a month, and that's if you only have two people on the plan. That $14.99 gives me up to 6 accounts (counting mine) that I can add to my family plan. 
There is no stripped down service. Just in case there were questions, this is the same full service you had a couple of days ago. Commercial free radio, adding nearly any album or song you want directly in to your account (these stay with you as long as you subscribe, but they behave like any purchased music), offline playing, 50,00 file music locker, dynamic playlists, everything. 
You've also got YouTube Red. As far as I can tell, this is the no commercial and offline playing version of YouTube. It's a subscription service, and it's included with your Google Play Music All Access subscription (including the family plan). I don't care much about YouTube, but some people find this extremely cool. Ok, I don't get it, but I'm cool with that. 

What are the restrictions?

So far I've only found one, and it is an annoying one. I wanted to get my 10 year old in on this thing. She's getting in to music, and it would be cool to get her her very own collection. Since she's only 10 I gave her an email account under my Google Apps For Business Account. I have this thing laying around since the early rollout on the free Apps For Business account. Turns out that Apps For Business and Educational accounts are not allowed to join the family plan. I don't yet know if there's a workaround, but I will be trying. 
In spite of this, I'm still ahead, so it's annoying but not actually bad. 
Anyway, cool stuff from The Google over the last couple of days. 

Other things not advertised

As you upgrade your account you'll notice that suddenly it is technically possible for all family members to buy stuff with the credit card attached to the account. This looks like it applies to purchases anywhere in Google Play, so movies, music, apps, whatever... On the surface this might seem a little disturbing, but the default settings are that the account owner must approve all purchases, reducing the possibility of inadvertent purchases. Also, you really ought to require a password for all purchases, and you really ought to have that password secured.