Importance of Back Up Music Files

What!!? You’ve lost all your music!!!?  All 9000 tracks?

These are not words you ever want to hear.  It’s bad enough to feel that heart sinking moment as blood rushes to your face and the understanding that your worst nightmare is about to manifest itself into reality.  Although you try to block it out as if it it hasn’t just happened, you are unable to avoid the painful reality of your current situation.   Shock mixed with depression and anger slowly creep in and finally rage, with an unconsolable sadness takes over.  Your files are gone forever and you only have yourself to blame.

Why are you not backing up?

In this day and age you’d think that it would be second nature to back up your digital files?  People have been using computers now for decades and we all know that they do occasionally fail.  We have all heard a story somewhere that a friend of a friend lost all their photos because of a hard drive fail or even a stolen computer.  We all think it’s not going to happen to us and maybe, if you’re lucky, it won’t.  But why do I hear so many times people losing their files?

  • I can’t afford a hard drive
  • I never get viruses
  • I never let my computer leave my sight
  • Whatever, I’ll just download them all again, they were free anyway!

Some of these excuses may contain some validity, but they are not bullet proof and no-one is immune from disaster.  Here I will explain a number of options available to you for backing up your files and making sure you are free from rage and depression should your system fail.

broken hard drive

Onsite Back Up

It’s no surprise that the simplest method of backing up is to make a duplicate of your hard drive.  Technology has progressed such that it is now even easier to create automatic backups of your entire system whether it be PC or Mac.  Mac is more well known for its time machine capabilities than it’s opponent in the red corner; but Windows does have an inbuilt back up function albeit a little buried in the control panel. The “Verge” reports that windows 8 has made it a little more pleasant to use, however believes that nothing comes close to the simplicity of the Mac’s time machine.

Mac Time Machine

Without going into too much detail here using Time Maschine is nothing short of child’s play.

  • Buy an external Hard Drive.
  • Plug it in to your Mac.
  • Go into System Prefs > Open Time Machine > Select relevant Hard Drive

I feel it’s wise to back the drive up in its entirety, however, if your external hard drive isn’t as big as your main drive, then you are able to leave certain things out of the back up.  Your first back up will take the longest, you can chose how often you would like to automate your back up and so long as the drive is connected at these points in time, you won’t have to worry about it again.

PC Back Up

Many users have talked about Crashplan as an excellent option for backing up your PC (also works for Mac).  You are able to download a free trial, but also their software will allow you to back up to an external hard drive on site for free.  This is an ideal option for worry free back up and will save you the hassle of remembering to manually drag and drop files each week to an external drive.

Off Site Back Up

With the onset of cloud computing we now have options to back up to a destination somewhere online.  This is a great option should you be concerned about fire in the home or theft of both your main computer and your external hard drive.  This option sends your data somewhere offsite for an even more secure back up.  The downside of this though is that it’s going to cost you.  It can either be a monthly or yearly cost that ranges from $5 a month to $200 a year depending on the size of your back up.  As we are in the world of music, our music files can certainly take up quite a large chunk of space and therefore as DJ’s, we may be looking at our costs being in the higher end of the scale.  Again, as you are sending your files over the internet,  the initial back up may take considerably longer than you’d like.

Free Back up

google_driveIf however you have just a small selection of tracks that you must back up then you always have the option of Dropbox (2GB for free) of Google Drive (5GB for free).  Each of these offers an excellent service for backing up or storing your data.  This is a great tool to use for certain gigs you may be travelling to as well.  You’re set may only be 1 or 2 GB which means you can upload it all online before you head off to play. That way if you lose your SD Card, USB stick, or even your entire laptop for that matter, there is a still way of getting your set downloaded. You’d have to buy a new laptop or hopefully just borrow one when you got to your destination.

Whatever your chosen method, I can not highlight enough the importance of having back up music files. I would recommend that when purchasing a new computer, it would be best if you factor in the cost of backup too as an integral part of the purchase. Build the back up into the budget when making your purchase. Believe me when I say you will thank me one day.

photo credit: leslie feinberg via photopin cc