Spotify recently launched its Premium Family Plan for South Africa at R99.99 per month.
The plan allows up to six Premium accounts on a single subscription. For each account, users can save their own music, podcasts, playlists, and recommendations.
With Spotify the world’s largest subscription streaming service – 130 million subscribers and 286 million users – this is a big boost for local music lovers.
YouTube – the world’s leading platform for videos – also offers a similar music streaming plan for families, however, which was launched in South Africa in March 2019.
The YouTube Premium Family Plan is priced at R110 per month and allows for up to five Google accounts per subscription.
On this plan, users are able to stream ad-free music on demand from the YouTube Music and Google Play Music catalogues.
Use of both services is subject to all members living under the same roof, and this requires users to provide a residential address when signing up.
The services will intermittently run GPS tracking in the background to ensure that users then reside at the same address.
Song selection and quality
For many, the first point to consider when comparing these services would be their music selections.
Stacking them up by the numbers, however, is not clear-cut.
Spotify’s total catalogue boasts over 50 million songs which can be streamed at a bitrate of up to 320kbps.
YouTube has not disclosed the total number of songs it offers on YouTube Music, but Google Play Music features at least 40 million licensed tracks.
On YouTube Music, music can be streamed at 256kbps, while Google Play Music allows for a 320kbps bitrate.
What sets YouTube Music’s offering apart is the addition of live performance recordings and covers from its main video platform.
Spotify, on the other hand, has a good music recommendation system.
For those looking to discover new songs and artists, Spotify employs a recommendation algorithm to curate songs and artists that match each user’s taste.
This allows it to adapt its home page to deliver music that a user would be interested in, build a list of similar tracks, or create playlist and artist-based radio stations.
Offline playing and uploading
Both services let users download a set number of songs for offline play.
Spotify Premium allows each user on the plan to download and store up to 50,000 songs to play offline, with a limit of 10,000 per device.
YouTube Music only allows for the downloading of 500 tracks. However, Google Play Music supports up to 50,000 offline songs per user.
YouTube users also benefit from Google Play Music’s uploading feature. This lets users add tracks to their libraries that aren’t already available to stream on the service – such as those they may have purchased from other digital stores.
Lastly, if your family enjoys watching plenty of videos on YouTube, YouTube Premium offers further benefits.
Google accounts with a YouTube Premium subscription are able to watch ad-free videos, and videos can be played in the background on mobile devices while opening other apps.
Users also get access to YouTube’s original shows and movies.
How to choose
Spotify Premium and YouTube Premium offer a wide range of music and useful features for families.
For those more serious about expanding their libraries, Spotify’s recommendations may be preferable, while those who are happy with their current library may prefer to use the uploading feature that comes as part of YouTube Premium.
A summary of the features of the Spotify Premium Family Plan and YouTube Premium Family Plan is below.
|Features||Spotify Premium Family||YouTube Premium Family|
|Platforms||Web, Android, iOS, devices||Web, Android, iOS, devices|
|Songs||Over 50 million||At least 40 million on Google Play Music|
|Maximum library size||50,000 per user / 10,000 per device||50,000 per user|
|Audio quality||320kbps||320kbps Google Play Music / 256kbps YouTube Music|
|Streaming devices||Unlimited||10 per user|
|Offline playing devices||5 per user||10 per user|
|Song upload capability||No||Yes – 50,000 maximum on Google Play Music|