How to store your music files the correct way

hard drive fail

Are your music files safe?

Here is a question that most of you will answer incorrectly. By safe, I mean safely backed up. These days most of us are using computers or DAWs to record and produce our songs. Your songs are in turn stored as 1s and 0s. What happens if those 1s or 0s are lost or corrupted? Many people find out the hard way, and there is pretty much nothing they can do at that point.

If you are already at that point, then check out a program called Recuva or a company called Drive Savers. These might be able to get your data back. Recova is a free program, so start there. Drive Savers is a service that is needed when nothing else has worked. Be ready to shell out lots of money though. Sometimes this process can cost several thousand dollars. Let’s plan on doing things properly from now on to avoid this.

Musicians need to start treating their saved music like gold.

Valuable paintings are protected in a museum, so why not treat your files like priceless works of art. The first step is to start making copies of everything. By copies, I mean copies. Moving a file from your computer’s internal drive to an external hard drive is NOT a backup. If there is one file total, then you don’t have a backup. Hard drives fail all the time, so make sure you have multiple copies of each file to start. I use an external hard drive to backup my files locally. I recommend and use the Western Digital My Passport drive. You can use a thumb drive even. Just make sure you get something that is big enough to store your entire catalog of music files.

Next, we want to make sure we have an off-site backup. This can include online “cloud” based services like Carbonite, Backblaze, or Amazon Glacier. Even free services like Dropbox can be useful for smaller files. It can be as simple as taking a hard drive with your backup files to your friend’s house. The point being, that something bad happening at one place won’t affect all your copies. Things like theft, fire, flood, etc. can hit one place, so make sure to have things spread to more than one place.

Check out this article by Peter Krogh. http://www.dpbestflow.org/backup/backup-overview  He talks mainly about how to backup files from a photographer’s point of view, but the principles apply to musicians as well.

If you want to learn more about hard drive failure stats, check out this article on Backblaze’s website. https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-stats-for-q2-2015/ Here you can see how certain brands and size drives hold up over time.

I hope this helps make sure your music files are safe. Don’t let your art fall victim to technical problems. Now go and backup your files!

Don’t forget about your master tapes either. If you have old tapes laying around then make sure you are properly storing them as well. Check out this website to find out more about storing tapes.

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