The Best Ways to Store Music Files

Music files can take a lifetime to accumulate and if you should ever lose them, depending on how robust your collection is, it may be impossible to get every file back. When it comes to storing your music—or any other priceless files—the most important issue is not to limit yourself to a single storage method on a single device. For example, if your computer or media player is lost or stolen, your files should be backed up somewhere else.

SD Cards

Secure Digital or SD cards are small high-capacity memory cards that are compatible with computers, cameras and other electronic devices. Many computers include an SD card reader built inside, but if yours doesn't, you can get a USB SD card reader. High capacity cards, or SDHC, can store up to 32 GB of data—that's about 8,000 MP3 files. For even more storage, you can get an SDXC card. Most SDXC cards on the market today store up to 64 GB, or 16,000 MP3 files.

Solid State Drives

Solid State Drives, or SSDs, are replacing the traditional hard drives in more computer systems every year. Unlike traditional hard drives, or HDDs, an SSD has no moving parts, which makes it faster and much less prone to crashing due to wear and tear or accidents, such as being dropped. Although SSDs are still more expensive than traditional HDDs, the price difference has shrunk significantly in recent years. Whether you are replacing a hard drive, adding a new hard drive or looking for an external hard drive, when you compare the cost difference to the cost of replacing your entire music collection due to a hard drive failure, the difference pales quite quickly.

DVDs

DVDs can be an inexpensive storage solution, since each DVD can store about 1,000 MP3 files. If you have an MP3 CD player, you may prefer to burn CDs instead, but these store only a fraction of the files. Be aware, however, that few music players can play MP3 DVDs. CD players can usually play MP3 CDs provided they are on CD-R discs and not CD-RWs. CD-R and DVD-R discs can be burned only once but CD-RW and DVD-RWs can be erased and reused. Discs should be carefully protected, since the files can be lost if the plastic is scratched. While DVD and CD discs can last many years, the plastic will eventually degrade, so they shouldn't be considered a permanent storage solution.

Cloud Storage

Depending on how many music files you own, cloud storage services can offer you secure off-site storage. The benefit of cloud services is that they can be accessed from any computer, smartphone or tablet with Internet access. In addition, if some disaster should destroy all of your devices, the files stored in the cloud service won't be affected. The amount of available storage varies, but a basic free account with Google Drive, for example, gives you 15 GB of free storage with upgrades available for a monthly fee, as of August 2013.

Photo Credits: Shauna Hundeby/Demand Media

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