Best way to set up RSS for a party-paywalled radio show?
January 18, 2012 3:41 PM   Subscribe

I have a question about how best to use RSS feeds for a subscribers-only, paywalled podcast.

I'm an open Web kind of guy with an aversion to paywalls, but one of my clients had me set up one. It restricted access to about half of the weekly show's MP3s, so that only paying customers could log in on Wordpress to listen to both the free and premium shows.

After ironing out all the bugs in the paywall, we found ourselves faced with an RSS problem. Listeners complained that they could no longer find the show on iTunes or on a podcast reader of their choice. Which seems reasonable, considering that podcasts are supposed to be portable and iPod-friendly instead of being restricted to 1999-style Web listening.

But I can't figure out the best way to handle a situation like this. Should the RSS feed include everything, but use password-protect authentication to require logins? If so, does that get our part-free, part-not-free RSS feed kicked off iTunes? The iTunes FAQ says it doesn't support password-protected podcasts--maybe some other service does? Or should we just give iTunes a stripped-down RSS feed with just the free ones and nothing else?

Any help much appreciated if you have ever had experience with something like this.
posted by steinsaltz to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
You can only put free podcasts on itunes. Create two feeds if you want to list anything on there.

The customers' readers are going to have to support logins to get the premium feed if it's protected that way. Your power users can use something like Pipes to convert the premium feed into a public feed that they can use on any reader.
posted by michaelh at 3:53 PM on January 18, 2012

Don't reuse the passwords for the feeds (even hashed) as that would leak them. Put some sort of autogenerated per-user token in the url. This plugin seems to be what you need.
posted by Tobu at 4:29 PM on January 18, 2012

Premium podcasts typically provide a free version; usually they are abridged, and include internal audio ads that direct people to premium usage.

They also give instructions on how to get their "premium" RSS feed and give instructions on how to do "Subscribe to Podcast" inside iTunes.

I have a family WordPress blog and use Feed Key to restrict access to the feeds. The user needs to log in to get their feed URL.
posted by artlung at 4:49 PM on January 18, 2012

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