A much requested feature — and playing catch-up with competitors, such as Rdio — Spotify is introducing a family plan to reduce the cost of several family members subscribing to the music streaming service.
The ‘Spotify Family’ plan lets users buy premium subscriptions for up to four additional family members at 50 per cent off, or $4.99 for each additional account. So, for example, a family of five would pay $29.99 through the new family plan rather than $50.
Like stand-alone Spotify Premium accounts, under the family plan each member can create and manage their own descrete playlists/music library and get personalized song recommendations. In addition, all of the other Premium features apply, such as the ability to cache playlists for offline listening, multi-device/mobile support, and ad-free listening.
“This is one of the most asked for features from our audience,” says Ken Parks, Chief Content Officer at Spotify, in a statement. “With today’s announcement we’re making it easier than ever for the whole family to experience Spotify Premium on their phones, at home and on the go.”
However, while the move and reduced pricing will be welcomed by families who are already hooked on Spotify or want to add additional household accounts, it also speaks to one of the challenges facing the company. As Josh Constine notes, the big problem for Spotify is that its on-demand streaming competitors aren’t in the music business. Apple uses music software to sell iPhones and MacBooks. Google Music is designed to lock people into its ad-filled ecosystem. Amazon bundles music in for “free” with a $99 a year Prime subscription that gets you to buy more physical goods.
In other words, all three of Spotify’s deep-pocketed competitors could drive down the price of music streaming further because they make money elsewhere. If music streaming services weren’t already a commodity, it’s not inconceivable to imagine on-demand streaming becoming something we eventually expect to come for free with a phone or mobile OS, regardless of any attempts to differentiate via a better user experience or broader music catalogue.