DIY Unstealable Pay Per Download Service For Your Podcast

How are your podcast sales going?

It’s a tough question to answer, primarily because while there are a lot of podcasters, only a few are being able to convert their efforts into earnings.

Converting your podcast into a constant source of revenue is no easy task. Aside from working on the content and making it compelling enough, you’ll need to spend on creating a distribution service that brings revenue back to you.

While there’s a growing number of platforms on the internet that offer podcast monetization, they eat away a significant portion of your profit.

At the same time, you’ll not be motivated to spend hundreds of dollars on your podcast host, without having a sizeable audience first. In the beginning, it’s got to be free.

Efforts are being made to monetize podcasts by emerging platforms such as Mixlr which offers live podcasts but you rely on advertisers for earnings, and PodMiners which is currently building a block-chain solution for verifiable in-podcast advertisements. But there’s ground to cover right now.

So, how do you ensure that you’re taking home something? Some compensation for your effort. Some motivation to keep coming back at it.

That’s where I thought of building a DIY pay per download service that’s extremely cheap to set up, and can offer you a trickling source to earn. Let’s dive straight in.

Step 1 — Get a WordPress Website

WordPress is your go-to solution for an allrounder website builder that is easy to use even if you’ve never operated a website before. It’s intuitive and free of cost. You’ll only need to pay for the hosting or server which is usually less than $10 a month to begin with.

Pro-tip: If you sign up for Google Cloud Platform or Amazon Web Services, you can get a WordPress server free for 1 year. You’ll just need a credit card to sign up.

  • Tutorial for AWS
  • Tutorial for GCP

Step 2 — Install the AudioIgniter Plugin

AudioIgniter Plugin is a simple yet effective solution for creating a podcast audio player right in your website.

You can use the internal storage provided with your server to upload and save all your podcasts. The player converts your episodes into a playlist by simply using the WordPress media uploader.

The player can be embedded in a WordPress post by using a shortcode. See the exact way in this video.

Step 3 — Watermark Your Audio Before Uploading

Not a lot of people are conscious about going the extra mile for copyrighting their content, but it’s highly recommendable. You’d not want to end up losing your hard work to the hands of piracy just so easily.

I used a tool called Trusted Audio which lets you embed a digital signature into your audio file for free at a beginner level. You can include full audio podcast information into your episode as shown in the picture below.

Sign up for a free account on Trusted Audio and head to Watermark and Download section. Upload your episode and fill out the details required for watermarking.

The recipient section is meant for securely sharing your work with a selected individual but in our case, you can fill out a generic template as the recipient.

Once signed, you can retrieve the embedded details of your audio using the Retrieve Watermark tool. Here is what my sample audio signature looks like.

This will protect your content against unallowed sharing. You can claim ownership of your content using this signature, which is quite hard to remove.

Step 4 — Install the Sell Downloads Plugin

Sell Downloads is the key to creating a paywall for your paid episodes. You can create the pay per download system in two ways.

  • Provide a paid download option for all your episodes, enabling your listeners to willfully support you.
  • Restrict access to premium content using the sell downloads plugin.

The plugin is easy to set up and links to your PayPal account. You can receive payments with all the payment options that PayPal provides. You can upload paid content separately from the unpaid episodes. This will allow you to offer restricted access to premium episodes.

The plugin has a professional version as well where you can create discounts, but that can come later.

Pro-Tip: You can include small 1 minute teasers of your paid episodes in your general unpaid podcast playlist for users to get a gist of what you’re offering.

Step 5 — Get a Podcast Theme and Go Live!

WordPress has thousands of themes that allow you to revamp the look and feel of your website. Luckily, there are many available for podcasters as well.

I came across this list of 12 Great Podcast Themes that have some spunky themes for your podcast website! Choose one and install in your WordPress website to convert yourself into a professional-esque podcaster in no time.


This is a quick way to ensure you can earn a little while you’re on your claim to fame. The tech is simple and free to set up, giving you the freedom to experiment without losing much.

You can always try out a more elaborate option as provided by other podcasting platforms but this one is for beginners who wish to have full control over their content from the word go.

Helping the truth on it’s way. Writer. Techie. Thinker.