A year and a half ago, we warned that you shouldn't migrate your family subscription to YouTube Music if you want to keep your Play Music child accounts intact. With the shutdown of Play Music inching closer, the situation has changed a little, but the core of the problem is still present: According to YouTube's terms, children under the age of 13 aren't allowed to use the service officially — only YouTube Kids is open to them. Thus, young minors won't be able to stream once Google shuts down Play Music.
Let's start with the problem that's been in place since 2018. It has been possible to transfer your Play Music family subscription over to YouTube Music, allowing you to add some goodies like YouTube Premium on top. But the switch comes with a change of terms: YouTube only allows kids under 13 to use YouTube Kids — the regular app and the music streaming service are unavailable to them. And that's not all there is to it. When you switch from a Play Music account to a YouTube subscription, your kids will also lose access to Play Music, as it's suddenly considered one of the services they can't access.
This issue resurfaces as people are starting to migrate their Play Music libraries to YouTube Music thanks to Google's new import tool. Google confirmed as much to us when we reached out, and it additionally notes in the corresponding help page:
If you manage your family account, you are the only one who can transfer the billing. Other members of your family can't make the billing portion of the transfer but will transition automatically with your billing transfer unless there are issues meeting our account eligibility requirements.
The linked eligibility requirements point to another support page, stating that children under 13 can only access YouTube Kids and won't be able to "use any other YouTube apps, websites, or features until they turn 13 and manage their own Google Account." While this list doesn't explicitly include Play Music, history shows us that the service might very well be blocked off following migration.
The exclusion of children's accounts is extra jarring when you consider that the competition has no problem supporting them. Apple Music allows you to set up a safeguarded account for young children. Deezer offers an extra Kids mode for children under 12 as part of its family subscription. Spotify even built a dedicated app for kids as part of its Premium Family plan. Tidal is the exception and only allows kids aged 13 or older, just like YouTube Music.
But why would Google even settle for a worse solution than most of its competitors? It probably doesn't help that the FTC is investigating YouTube over harmful content that surfaces when you keep autoplaying kids' shows on YouTube's main app, among other issues. The company even explored taking all of its children's content and making it exclusive to the Kids app as a reaction, so it's unlikely that YouTube will open up Music to minors in the near future due to fear of explicit lyrics and inappropriate music videos, which could lead to further regulatory investigations.
That still begs the question of why Google wouldn't create a kids mode or an app like Spotify Kids. It's possible that there are internal considerations, but I wouldn't be surprised if the company doesn't see enough potential revenue in a niche app when a lot of parents are probably just streaming children's music via YouTube or YouTube Kids itself.
It's sad to say, but the most logical solution for you is switching to another platform like Spotify or Apple Music if kids support is important to you. You might also think it's a good idea to try creating new accounts for your kids and lie about their age, but this might lead to other problems. If you connect those to your family account, you could face severe penalties, including a life-long Google Account suspension in the absolute worst case.