Apple Music Radio shows in the Podcasts app: four benefits and two drawbacks

Apple delivered a long-requested feature this week when it enabled following shows on Apple Music Radio. How Apple went about providing this feature is clever. However, there are some drawbacks for now.

Subscribers have wanted to follow shows on Apple Music Radio for as long as the service has existed.

Say there’s a weekly show you want to hear when it comes out. Being notified when a new episode releases and surfacing that episode to the top of your library would sense. That feature still doesn’t exist in Apple Music, however.

Instead, Apple went in a different direction.

Starting with iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma, Apple lets you follow Apple Music Radio shows in Apple Podcasts.

My guess is this because the Podcasts app already has the infrastructure to deliver subscription content. Apple Podcasts can also deliver Apple News+ content as well. It’s a one-stop shop for podcasts and podcast-like audio experiences.

For Apple Music Radio shows specifically, the overall experience is a mixed bag.

The benefits to following a radio show in Apple Podcasts:

  • notifications for new episodes
  • new episodes appear in a list without browsing or searching
  • playback position syncs between devices
  • episodes are available offline

You could still listen to on-demand radio shows in the Music app if you preferred. You won’t have those benefits, however, and they really improve the experience.

Then there’s the downsides of putting music shows in a podcast app.

First, when you listen to a radio show in the Podcasts app, the Now Playing screen only displays the show itself. These shows include music, and you miss out on the track information.

The other drawback is that you lose the ability to quickly add the song to your library.

I love After School Radio for music discovery, and I’m so happy I can finally subscribe to it properly. However, I’ll need to drop back to Shazam if I want to tag a song if I want to identify it add it to my library.

The benefits of the new system outweigh the negatives, but I hope proper integration comes in a future version of this feature.

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