EM Editor's Note: Get Backup - EMusician

EM Editor's Note: Get Backup

I was pretty surprised recently when looking at the results from one of the EM polls at our website. The subject was if and how you back up your music data. Even bearing in mind that an online poll is far from a scientific sampling, I was still surprised to discover that almost a quarter of the respondents don''t back up their data at all.
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I was pretty surprised recently when looking at the results from one of the EM polls at our website. The subject was if and how you back up your music data. Even bearing in mind that an online poll is far from a scientific sampling, I was still surprised to discover that almost a quarter of the respondents don''t back up their data at all.

We''ve been recording to disk for a long time now, and there has been no shortage of information about the vulnerability of data stored on hard drives. I''m sure you''ve heard the saying, “It''s not if your drive will fail, it''s when.” Basically, your hard drive is like a ticking time bomb that will go off at some random point in the future, taking your data down with it. So it makes absolutely no sense to store precious music on it without some sort of backup. If someone from a bank offered you the opportunity to store your valuables in a safe-deposit box that you knew would randomly self-destruct, you would laugh in his face and walk away. But yet, a lot of people will accept a similarly precarious situation for their recording data.

These days, there''s virtually no reason to not back up. Hard drives are inexpensive, backup software is cheap (and you can manually backup if you''d prefer), and there''s no shortage of information on backup strategies. You can also help yourself with good file habits, like “Saving As” a lot to create multiple, incremental versions of your song files. That way, if your current file gets corrupted (which is a scary scenario because even if you are backing up, you would just be copying the bad file to the backup drive and writing over the previously backed-up good file), you can go back to the previous incremental save and get most of your data back.

Incremental saving is also quite beneficial regardless of any file issues. It gives you a way to go back creatively in case you go off in a direction that you later regret. Each time you make a significant change (recording a new track or cutting a section or whatever), create a newly renamed version. This technique is particularly useful for mixing, where it''s easy to go too far and ruin something that had been sounding good. Incremental saving could be your salvation in such a scenario.

Let me change gears to draw your attention to a situation that probably won''t affect most of you, but is something I''d like to make people aware of. This one comes out of the “don''t-believe-everything-you-read” department. There''s a website in the United Kingdom that sells an application for unlocking iPhones. I''m not going to mention its name because I don''t want to give it any publicity. On its website, the company fraudulently states that its software has won an EM Editors'' Choice award. To back up the false claim, it copied an Editors'' Choice 2010 logo from somewhere online and posted it at the top of the site. We are currently working on legal solutions to make the company cease and desist, but in the meantime, if you see a website touting an EM Editors'' Choice for iPhone unlocking software, it''s a fraud. We don''t even cover that kind of program.