Written by 7:36 am Digital

How Secure is Your Music Library?

Do you “trust” your music files? Steven Stone only trusts his as far as he can back it up. British consumers are also leery of not having a physical copies of their music around…


If you use the Internet regularly it’s nearly impossible to avoid security issues. Whether it’s watching your favorite website get spammed or finding out your password on Linked-In got hacked, there’s plenty to worry about. But, that stuff is all “out there” in the web, so no worries, right? Not necessarily – how’s your internal security? How safe is your music library?

I ask about your music library for two reasons – first, this is an audiophile website, and secondly, your music library is very likely to be your largest personal database. In my world, my music library is even bigger than my Lightroom photographic database. If I had to recreate my music library if would take hundreds of hours of pain and suffering…

So, because I realize that life is too short to re-rip my music library I keep a triple back-up. Once a week I run a back-up via Super-Duper from my primary music files to an external hard-drive. This hard drive is only used for back-up. I keep a third cloned hard drive off-site in a secure location. Once a month replace the drive in the secure location with the drive I’ve had in my office.

But, despite all of my precautions, I still worry about data loss. Once you’ve had that chill go down your back and broken out in a cold sweat from seeing the error message “Hard Drive not found” you worry. And obviously, I’m not the only one to be concerned with the security of my music – in a study done by eMusic and the Association of Independent Music of British consumers, 80% of consumers still buy physical copies of their music. The principal reason was that UK consumers felt owning a physical copy gave them a greater sense of security. Security from what is the question. Data loss?

Even with the knowledge that if their music files are lost they will have to re-rip all from their CDs, consumers felt as if they had more control if they owned the physical media than if their music came from a streaming subscription service or cloud. Given human beings’ propensity to collect, this shouldn’t come as a complete surprise.  Without physical possession of a concrete object, many music lovers didn’t feel as if they had control over their music.

The study is rather limited (1400 respondents) and didn’t inquire about how much the bit-rate or quality of playback influenced consumers’ buying decisions (or whether the average download speed of their Internet connection had an effect on their preferences), so I wouldn’t say this is the last word on owning verses streaming.

But even if streaming and download services do manage to obtain parity in terms of sound quality and universal accessibility with physical media (I realize that a small percentage of downloads offer higher resolutions than physical media, but most downloads are still mid-rez MP3s, AND that a properly designed music data file system IS easily accessable to all digital playback devices), there will always be some small percentage of humans who will prefer to have a physical copy. That’s just the way we’re hard-wired…

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