4 best practices for backing up music projects

Have you ever lost one of your projects? Of course you have. You may have even lost all of your projects. With these best practices for backing up your data, you’ll never lose your stuff again.

One word of of wisdom: don’t pick and choose which of these you do — do all of them!

#1. Know how much backup space you need.

Before you decide what services and backup drives to purchase, calculate the amount of space you’ll require to fully backup your system. Be sure to consider your internal hard drive as well as any other external drives of samples and instrument data you may have. Here’s a hypothetical example:

  • Macbook Pro Hard Drive (250GB) – Backup needed: 500GB.
  • Projects Hard Drive (1TB) – Backup needed: 2TB.
  • Bootable Clone of Macbook Pro – Backup needed: 250GB
  • Total space needed: ~2.75TB

It is good practice to at least double the minimum capacity for a backup drive to accommodate version backup (ie: if your drive is 100GB, get a backup drive that is at least 200GB) — more on that later.

#2. Backup to as many locations as possible

The first rule of backing up data is to have your data in as many places as possible. Best practice is to have a backup on the cloud and on an external drive. Use the cloud to backup things that you can’t afford to have any downtime — such as important working projects. For example, if you have your projects backed up to Splice Studio, and your computer crashes, you can easily pull the project down within minutes. Things that don’t change as often — like instrument sample libraries — don’t need to be in the cloud.

Off-site backup is something worth considering when coming up with a backup strategy. A cloud backup is considered an off-site backup. But with your external drives, we highly recommended that you keep an identical backup drive at the office and one at home (or at your friend’s home) or something. This gives you full redundancy if, let’s say, one of your backups fails or your apartment catches on fire.

#3.  Backup frequently

The biggest benefit of cloud backup services like Splice Studio and Crashplan is the ability for real-time or frequent backup. This means that when you’re in the middle working on something, you’ll know that every five minutes or so, a backup copy is saved in the cloud. If your computer crashes, you have the peace of mind that you only have lost a couple minutes of your brilliant work.

Backing up to an external drive should be done at least once a week for safekeeping.

#4. Save versions of your work            

The idea behind getting a backup drive with at least 2x the capacity of your drive is so that you leave room for versions. Version backups are powerful and allow you to roll back to a previous copy of your project or document if needed. Getting a bigger hard drive means you have the ability to have more versions.

Reuben Raman Content & Community Manager at Splice