Recently, I run into a problem that we producers could considers as nightmare. My external drive containing all my previous music projects failed. Fortunately, everything in that drive are finished projects. I’m still bummed about that though. Without that drive all my previous releases will stay that way and there would be no new remixes and all those good stuff. After this incident I learned achieving in a hard drive is obviously not good enough. There has got to be better way to full proof your archive. After doing some research, I’ve found several descent solution for this problem. Here are some of them.
This is pretty old skool. Once a project is finished you burn them into DVD and stash them somewhere save. It’s simple and painless. The benefit are they are cheap and also once you burn the DVD, the file will stay that way forever. Sounds pretty solid until you misplaced it. Another drawback, when you use cheap DVD, they have a life span of about 3 year before they fall apart.
Dropbox is a solid service. The beauty of Dropbox are plenty. One of my favorite aspect about it is the fact that it will always sync your file in your device with the one in the cloud. It was basically an automated process. Your file is also available anywhere whether you have your device or not as long as you have Internet connection. The problems are, your project needs to stay in your computer in order to be able to sync with the cloud. Also the free account only gives you 2gb of space. Nowadays when a project can get as large as 1gb or more, a Dropbox free account become useless as an archive tool. You can always buy more space but they can get expensive with the more space you buy.
3. Google Drive
This free service from Google is very similar to Dropbox except for the 5gb free space that you get from google. 5gb is still not enough though.
Another similar service to both Dropbox and Google Drive. I signed up to this service because I was using a Sony phone. When you signed up from a Sony phone you get 50gb of free space. 50gb is plenty but once again due to the sync nature, you are required to have that same file on both your computer and the cloud. Now you got plenty of cloud space but you have less free space on your computer hard drive.
Mega is a little bit different. Basically with Mega when you sign up you get 50gb of free virtual hard drive space in the cloud. But, uploading a project that range from 500mb to 1.5gb is a real pain in the butt. And if you make a change, you have to upload the whole thing all over again.
There are more similar service like Mega such as Uploaded, Rapidshare, Rapidgator and many more. Usually though, they required you to pay monthly membership that starts at €9.99 or more.
In conclusion, all of the archieving methods mentioned above have their own pluses and minuses. The DVD-R method is good if you’re the organized type. It’ll never work for me because I’d most likely misplaced the DVD-R. Dropbox and Google Drive are convenient but small space render them ineffective as archive. They would be perfect for collaboration project though. Box.net has sluggish software making them not very convenient to use. I find the virtual hd space approach like Mega to work best for me. I can have copy in my hard drive while at the same time I have them in the cloud too. Of course uploading and downloading to and from them are a pain. Since they are archive though, you’re not likely to work on them that often. In the end, it comes down to your preference. With all the free options available above there’s no reason not to have proper back up. Just remember, the more back up you have the better peace of mind you’ll have.