Create a paid podcast

In this help article, we'll walk you through the steps to create a secure, paid podcast for your members using your existing RSS feed. Keep in mind that Memberful does not host your podcast files, but rather works with your existing hosting provider.

In this help doc:

Create an unlisted RSS feed with your host

Because Memberful does not host your actual audio files, we work in combination with your existing host to create secure RSS feeds for your members. As long as your RSS feed is unlisted and not easily guessable, your content will be extremely secure while also making it easy to listen to in most podcast players.

This is the criteria you should look for when choosing a hosting provider. The more of these items you can check off, the more secure your RSS feed will be.

  1. The ability to include <itunes:block>Yes</itunes:block> tags in your RSS feed.
  2. The option not to submit your podcast to directories like iTunes.
  3. The option to disable any automatically created website for your podcast.
  4. The ability to customize the paths for the RSS feed.
  5. The ability to customize the paths for the MP3 audio files.
  6. The ability to protect a feed with a password or unique token.

With these criteria in mind, we recommend the following hosting companies based on their support of the above criteria:

Hosting company Security Rating
Transistor Best  🎉
Omny Studio Best  🎉
ART19 Best  🎉
Fireside Better
Megaphone Better
Libsyn Better
Castos Better
Buzzsprout Good
Simplecast Good

Create a podcast

To create a paid podcast in Memberful, navigate to Media → Podcasts and click Add a new podcast. You only need to provide two pieces of information to create a podcast: a name and the URL for the RSS feed. Learn more about hosting your podcast.

Add a new podcast

Add podcasts to a plan

Podcasts must be included with a plan to sell access. You can include one or multiple podcasts to a plan, and to multiple plans.

There are two ways to include a podcast with a plan.

When you first add a podcast (or edit it) via Media → Podcasts, go to the Which plans should this podcast be included? section and click Select from your list of plans.

Add podcasts to plans

You can also add a podcast in the plan’s settings via Plans → Select a plan → Plan Settings.

Add podcast to an individual plan

We’ll create secure RSS feeds for each user with an active subscription to a plan that has podcasts included.

Consider including video with your podcast

A video podcast allows you to offer your members a video version of your podcast. Memberful supports video podcasts so that you can deliver both paid audio and video podcasts to your members.

Toggle on This is a video podcast setting to display supported video podcast players in your member form.

Enable video podcast

Upload dynamic episodes

From the dynamic episodes section of the Podcast page, you can easily upload welcome and expiration episodes along with episode descriptions. The welcome message provides an opportunity to onboard new members, while the expiration message helps explain why a feed may have stopped updating and how to take action to fix it.

Dynamic podcast episodes

Learn more about dynamic episodes.

Submit a paid podcast to Spotify

Memberful can be linked to Spotify, allowing your members to subscribe to your secure, paid podcast via Spotify. Learn how to submit your podcast to Spotify.

Subscribe to a podcast

We want it to be as easy as possible for your members to subscribe to your private podcasts. In addition to the RSS feed, Memberful creates easy subscription links for the most popular podcast players on each platform. It’s important to note that not every podcast player lets users add private feeds to their library. For example, Stitcher doesn't allow this.

After a member purchases a plan that includes a podcast, they’ll see the Podcast Subscription page. The podcast apps available to members will vary depending on their platform and whether video podcasts have been enabled in your settings. Only podcast players that support video will be displayed.

When a member is subscribing to a podcast on iOS, they will see the following options:

Subscribing to a podcast on iOS

Tapping any of the listed applications will automatically take them into the app with their own secure feed pre-populated in the Add feed field.

When a member is subscribing to a podcast on Android, they will see the following options:

Subscribing to a podcast on Android

Tapping any of the listed applications will automatically take them into the app where they can access their secure feed.

If a member purchases a subscription on a desktop computer, we make it as easy as possible to subscribe in their podcast player of choice. While there are two options for subscribing to the feed on their computer, we provide a way for them to subscribe on their phone from their desktop as well.

Select an app from the list, and we’ll create a unique QR code that the member can scan with their phone’s camera. Scanning the code will automatically take them into the selected app with their secure feed pre-populated in the Add feed field.

Subscribing to a podcast on a desktop

While this subscription page can be shown within your checkout immediately after the transaction goes through, your members can also return to this page in their account at any time by logging in and clicking Podcasts.

If a member has access to multiple podcasts, you can deep-link directly to the subscription page for a specific podcast in their account by including the podcast's ID as a query string in the URL. For example:

When a member’s subscription lapses, their private feeds will stop updating. If they remain inaccessible for 3+ months, Pocket Casts, specfically, will stop trying to refresh them — even if the member re-subscribes. To fix this, the member will need to contact the Pocket Casts support team.

Review redirect settings

To make it as easy as possible for your members to subscribe to your private podcasts, we recommend showing the podcast subscription page within the checkout as shown above. However this means that if you have any automatic redirects setup for your plans, members will need to click Continue to site to get there.

This might cause issues with affiliate tracking you have on your site, or you might want to create your own subscription page on your website, bypassing the subscription page in Memberful.

There are two ways to change this setting when creating or updating a podcast.

When adding or editing a podcast, you’ll see the following option to show the podcast subscription page within your checkout or not.

Setting the redirect settings for all selected plans

You can also set this individually for any plan with a podcast included, on the Plan Settings page. Set the member benefits and content page to display after checkout, following your site-wide automatic redirect URL, or specifying an automatic redirect just for this plan.

Setting the redirect settings an individual plan

If you want to redirect back to your website, and bypass the member benefits and content page in your checkout, just select No in both places.

Prevent unauthorized sharing

Because each of your members gets their own secure feed to your podcasts, you can mitigate unauthorized sharing of their feeds. If their subscription becomes inactive for any reason (e.g. expired card, no renewal payment) their feed will stop accessing your content.

If you find that a member’s feed has been deliberately shared with unauthorized users, you can contact us at any time and we will deactivate the feed or replace it with a new one.

We also monitor access internally and can alert you if we suspect unauthorized access is being made to any of your secure feeds.

You can see the secure URL each member has access to by viewing their profile in the dashboard.

Viewing a member's unique RSS feed

Update a podcast

You can edit the name or origin URL of a podcast at any time. Since the RSS feed your members are subscribing to is controlled by Memberful, even when you update the origin URL their access will continue uninterrupted.

Editing a podcast

Integrate with our WordPress plugin

Memberful maintains a powerful and easy to use WordPress plugin that lets you protect content on your website and sync with your Memberful account. You can use shortcodes to create your own podcast subscription page on your website, link to the podcast subscription page in a member’s account, or check for access to any specific podcast to customize which content they can see.

We've included a function for checking if the current signed in user owns podcast feeds. You can use them in your WordPress theme template files: has_memberful_feed( $id )

If you pass this function an array of ids, the function will return true if the member owns any of the podcast feeds.

Learn more about Memberful WordPress functions. and shortcodes

Access RSS feeds via the Memberful API

If you’re building a custom application, you can use the Memberful API to get the unique RSS feed a member has access to.

Related help docs:

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