Developing your backup strategy: How to never lose your music project again
Updated: Jul 28
As technology continues to develop, more and more musicians, bands and artists are choosing to go the independent route in producing their music. The amount of data being created – recording sessions, demo sessions, video footage, photos – is growing exponentially, and with it the task of managing that data. Suddenly, as an artist you’re required to act as a record label, publisher, PR company, and more. If you’re serious about your art and are looking at making a career out of it, eventually the question of keeping your data safe will arise, and by extension your backup strategy.
After hearing too many stories of artists losing entire recording sessions, important video footage, etc., I decided to be proactive on the subject of data backup.
When I mention this topic to musician friends, bands or artists I work with, I’m always shocked by how little thought has been put into the subject. You would not believe how many times I’ve heard someone say they have their entire upcoming album on a single hard drive without any backup or copy whatsoever. Needless to say, I find this crazy, especially given how volatile digital data is. Even amongst those who do have a backup, for the most part, it is usually only one copy of their projects sitting on their desk or an external hard drive that they carry around as they go about their life. This, however, would most likely not protect their data from a fire, flood, or similar disaster. In addition, it is often questionable if this backup is even up to date.
I understand that cloud backup is getting more and more popular these days and offers a safety net for most people, so you might say: “copy all of your files on Dropbox or Google Drive and you are done” or “I just work straight out of my Dropbox folder.”
Although I partially agree with these ideas, cloud storage has its limitations. (cost, bandwidth, etc.) More importantly, if you want to be absolutely certain that you will never lose an important file, simply uploading to your cloud storage is not enough. What you need really is a backup strategy, so I want to give you some details about what that means and offer a broader perspective on the general topic of your backups.
What is a backup strategy?
A backup strategy is a system that gives you the peace of mind that your data is safe and retrievable under nearly any circumstances.
So here are a few things to consider in order to understand and develop your backup strategy in depth:
How much do you care about your data?
This is an essential question to ask yourself. To answer it, consider these 2 factors:
The emotional value of your data: how would you feel if you were to lose some or all of your music projects?
The monetary value of your data: how much did it cost you to gather those music projects? (time is also a factor)
Sometimes, the value of your data (music projects) is a combination of both emotional and monetary.
How to ensure that your data is safe
Here are 3 keys elements to consider for your music projects:
Always keep three copies TOTAL (one original and two backups)
Having three copies eliminates the risk of losing your projects under nearly any circumstances.
One of the backups needs to be stored off-site (most likely in the cloud these days)
It eliminates the risk of data loss in case of a domestic damage (fire, water damage, natural disaster, etc.) at your house or studio, or wherever you have your data with you.
The whole process needs to be automated
Since humans have the tendency to easily make mistakes, a good backup strategy is heavily dependent on the automation of the process. If you aren’t backing up your projects regularly (at least daily), you are still at risk of partially losing them. Avoiding any gap in continuity is paramount!
If you think this it’s too much work to get your own backup strategy going or that you think that you will not lose projects, here are a few reasons to consider otherwise:
Hard drive failure: Remember this, ALL HARD DRIVES WILL EVENTUALLY FAIL! Here is a list of the most common reasons:
> Hardware failure (mechanical parts inside)
> Dropped or destroyed
> Data corruption
> Electrical surge
Deleting files by mistake
Theft or loss
One last thing to consider is thinking whether or not you are responsible for music projects that are not yours or entirely yours (think of collaboration, band projects or other artists that you recorded)
Investing in a solid backup strategy may cost a few hundred dollars up front, but you will thank yourself later in case of a data disaster. There are companies who specialize in data retrieval, but the process can potentially cost thousands of dollars, and the result is not guaranteed. Again, it goes back to how much you value your data.
No matter how big or small your studio is, or how far along you are in your musical career, at some point you’ll really have to get serious about your backup strategy. It’s better to do so sooner rather than later. Imagine how much you’ll thank yourself if anything happens to your computer or hard drive.
If you want to take your backup strategy to the next level, consider checking out my free eBook “What About Your Backups?” I wrote this guide with the mindset of helping independent artists and musicians to step up their game on that topic. Inside the eBook, I go in more details on the overall topic as well as laying a clear plan of action for you to develop your own backup strategy and never lose a file again.
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY: