SoundCloud, the so-called “YouTube of audio,” isn’t really living up to that title for many users this weekend. SoundCloud’s Podcasting Community Forum has been inundated with reports of audio files and RSS feeds not working. The problem seems to be primarily affecting SoundCloud users who rely on the service for their podcasts, as opposed to music-based users. The common problem amongst most of these complaints is that media links contained within users’ RSS feeds are returning 403 Forbidden errors. Here’s an example post from SoundCloud user Hector Trujillo 12, who’s just trying to listen to a SoundCloud-hosted podcast:
I receive “Error 403” whenever I try to play or download an episode of the “Guys We F****d” podcast via my podcast app. I contacted the app developer and he informed me that it had nothing to do with the app but actually with the hosting services of the podcast’s platform which in this case is Soundcloud.
Here’s a post from user DJ FOTN who is running a podcast thru SoundCloud:
I’ve been having difficulty this morning getting iTunes Connect to Validate my feed. I’ve tried all of the suggestions and have made sure all my Artwork is set up correctly (I think), I’ve even deleted and re-uploaded the episode.
The Episode is showing up in iTunes Connect but can’t be downloaded.
When I check the feed on https://validator.w3.org/feed/ it says the feed is Validated.
Just a note, if you paste the feed into a browser and locate the mp3 link, following this link returns the error message:
Request forbidden by administrative rules.
The only clue to be found as to why this is happening comes from SoundCloud’s status blog:
April 30th, 2016 9:39 PM CET / 1:39 PM PST
“We will be doing maintenance on our site shortly that will affect RSS feeds. This feature will be disabled for all tracks until further notice. Please continue to check our Status Blog for updates.”
Considering the podcasting side of SoundCloud relies on RSS functionality, it seems likely that this maintenance is what’s causing users to get the 403 messages. No word on how long SoundCloud will be performing this maintenance. Problems like this with podcast feeds can cause them to be delisted in the iTunes Store. Hopefully, SoundCloud gets this sorted out before that starts happening to the many users who rely on the service.