I’ve been through countless revisions of music backup routines as a D.J., who also happens to be the owner and head geek of an I.T. company. Read below to find out EXACTLY how I protect myself from losing my Serato and iTunes libraries for less than the price of an import 12″
Going all the way back to “I’ll occasionally (translation: never) remember to plug in my backup drive and start a backup, to waiting forever for Time Machine backups to complete before finding out they were “corrupt” and had to be redone to….well, no backup at all for way-too-long stretches of time.
At this point, I’ve settled on a couple of truths about myself:
- A backup will only be successful if it’s 100% automatic.
- It needs to be easy to get this library back exactly as I have in the shortest possible time.
- I won’t store my library or my primary backup on an SD card or USB drive.
- My music needs to be accessible and browsable in the cloud, from anywhere
- The solution needs to support iTunes & Serato
- I hate Time Machine because it’s slow and buggy.
- I’ll only feel safe if my music is backed up in two different places: to the cloud, and also on another computer or network drive that I physically own.
- I need to be able to see what my entire collection looked like as a “snapshot” at any point previous point in time.
Awesomely enough, it’s not that hard or that expensive to build a solution that covers all of that — especially if you compare that labor & cost to the inevitable wild-eyed-crying-panic-attack you’ll have when you realize you left your hard drive on the trail, or dog pees on your laptop, or your computer boots up with a question mark, and you realize your hard drive is fried. or whatever, I’m sure you’ve got some good stories…every music fan does.
I’m writing this post specifically for the Serato DJ’s I know, but this advice holds more or less true for almost any type of DJ or music fan who happens to be reading this post.
And remember, this is just the way I do it. There’s plenty of other articles from DJ sites (I even referenced some below) that talk about pretty similar methods. Still, they won’t tell you EXACTLY how to use a Dropbox account and another always-on computer (or a cheap network drive) that will always have an updated version (as well as point-in-time snapshots )of your entire music library.
- Get a paid Dropbox account via a link: ($10/month. Or see Google drive or other perhaps cheaper/easier /more complicated/just do it the way I do).
- Install dropbox on your computer.
- Determine the location of all things that need to be backup up (generally the user/music folder but focus on how to verify).
- Use http://www.zibity.com/macdropany.html to sync the Music folder (or whichever as from 3 above to get your library with.)
- Leave your computer plugged in and powered on overnight — depending on where you are in the world you might finish in a night (or it might take a few weeks if you’re in the bush somewhere), but most of your should be done within a few days — you’ll know when your music folder has a nice green checkmark on it.
- Now, your entire library is stored in Dropbox, safe, and sound. You can browse the song files right on Dropbox, just like the files & folders are on your P.C. — which means any computer you download this to can become your new DJ library with minimal config required.
- Now for the fun part. Either find a spare laptop or computer with an external drive connected. Or even better, spend $500 and get a wifi-enabled network drive. And sign in Dropbox on that second device as well. Now, every time you make any change to your iTunes or Serato library, as long as you are connected to wifi, those changes will upload to Dropbox, then immediately download to the onsite backup device, which is sitting happily in your house. At the same time, you frolic around the city or world or wherever in the world your music takes you.
- If you get a new computer, just log into Dropbox, Use mac drop to any to sync your music folder to the system location, and open up iTunes / Serato, and you’re good to go. Alternately, you can just copy/sync/clone the onsite backup directly onto an SD or USB or external drive or anywhere you need it to get yourself going again. and if you need to see a point in time version of your library, can restore the folder from various points in time right out of dropbox (instructions link)
There, now you’ve got a Disaster Recovery Plan for your D.J/Music life. Congratulation
What to buy for a cheap network drive setup
- Wireless Adapter: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=8076
About Google Backup & Sync, allows you to use Google Drive instead: alternative google, use backup & sync instead: https://www.blog.google/products/photos/introducing-backup-and-sync-google-photos-and-google-drive/
“Backup and Sync is an app for Mac and PC that backs up files and photos safely in Google Drive and Google Photos, so they’re no longer trapped on your computer and other devices. Just choose the folders you want to back up, and we’ll take care of the rest.”