How Much is Your Music Collection Worth?
An even better question is, how much is it worth to you?
People would rather part with their high school yearbooks than their music.
It’s special. Intensely personal. Truly the soundtrack to our lives.
That’s why it’s so important to copy and archive your music the RIGHT way.
The other day I walked into a store and wasn’t paying much attention to anything but finding the item I had stopped in for. All of a sudden a song began to play on the store’s radio. I hadn’t even heard what was playing before, but now, my entire mood changed. It was “Hooked On A Feeling”, which will be forever known as the Dancing Baby song from “Ally McBeal”. Not only did the music have my attention, but I immediately got a picture of that ridiculous dancing baby in my mind and had a huge smile on my face. So did half of the people in the store. What is it about music that can bring you such immediate, overwhelming emotions? It transports you the place you were when you first heard it or always listened to that song.
And it’s not just the Ooogachucka of the dancing baby, but it’s so many songs, like the theme from the Dancing Waters show at Disneyland Hotel, where we went so many evenings when I was growing up in Orange County.
The hard part about protecting the music that we’ve amassed over the years isn’t collecting it, it’s making sure that our soundtracks are there for us to listen to and enjoy for years to come.
Just think about the types of music that you probably have in your home right now. You probably have MP3s that you’ve downloaded from iTunes or other sites for your iPod or MP3 player. Then, there’s your collection of CDs that you did or did not get around to ripping onto your computer and turning into MP3s. If you’re over 30, you probably have quite a few cassettes hanging around and you probably even have some vinyl albums or 8 tracks as well that are either yours or have been handed down to you by family members.
Except for the MP3s and, with a little work, the CDs, none of those things are exactly on speaking terms with your computer. And if you’re like most people, the MP3s are probably all over your computer, in a bunch of different folders. That doesn’t include the music you’ve downloaded to your phone or to your tablet that you haven’t gotten around to backing up onto your PC or Mac. And chances are, you and your family members have spent quite a lot of money on those downloaded songs, those CDs, cassettes and whatever else you have your music on.
Losing them, whether physically in a fire or flood, or digitally on a crashed cellphone or computer, would be a nightmare. People put so much money into their music collections, but very few ever think to back it up!
So let’s gather that music collection of yours and back it up. Not only will you be able to find your songs when you want them, but you’ll finally be able to hear that amazing jazz solo you have on vinyl on your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy!
1. Here CDs, Here Cassettes. Where Are Your Albums?
Grab a pencil and paper and jot down the types of music you have that you want to secure and their current location.
Using the list you just compiled, locate and gather all of the CDs, cassettes and vinyl albums that you want to secure and set them aside for a moment.
2. What About The Music That’s Already Digital?
Do you have MP3 or other digital music files?
First grab your MP3 player, your cell phone, your iPad or tablets and make sure all of those music files are downloaded to your computer desktop now.
Create one new folder on your computer desktop and name it “Backup Music (dd/mm/yy)” with today’s date.
Locate all of the digital music on your hard drive that you want to keep safe. Leave the original files where they are on your computer, but copy each one and place the copies in that new Backup folder.
3. Time To Deal With The Albums & CDs…
Although all of your music is important, some means more to you than others. Take a few moments to look at your CDs, cassettes and vinyl albums, and separate them into two different piles.
In the first pile, place music that you’ll need to copy and save in a digital format, to keep them safe.
In the second pile, place music that you:
Already have in digital format and could easily find if the one you’re holding was harmed or destroyed.
Have numerous other copies of the music in other locations. (be sure that this is actually so before you decide not to copy them)
Simply don’t care enough about to keep it disaster safe.
You can go ahead and put the music in the second pile away.
4. Convert Your CDs to MP3s
You can convert CDs right on your computer, using your computer’s music software. For a PC, that would be Windows Media Player. Just put the CD into your computer and the software will automatically pop up. Follow the instructions to “rip” your CD.
When your songs are ripped, take your CD out and save the new MP3 files to the music folder on your computer. We’ll back those up to keep them safe in a few minutes. But don’t forget to add those new songs to your phone iPad or MP3 player!
5. Convert Your Cassettes & Albums to MP3s
Here are a few easy ways we’ve found to convert your cassettes or albums to MP3s.
There are several vinyl album to MP3 recorders available including the Crosley Memory Master II 3-Speed Turntable with CD Player/Recorder. The nice thing about that one is that it converts cassettes and vinyl to CD or to MP3s. And if you only have cassettes to convert, there is the ION Tape Express.
Once you’ve saved copies of your cassettes and vinyl albums, save them to the regular music folder on your computer, to your new backup folder and don’t forget to put your favorites on your smartphone or MP3 player.
6. Save Them To Your Computer
Download the new MP3 files to your computer desktop, placing them in a brand new folder. When you’re finished, make one copy of that complete folder. Place the original folder in with the other digital music files on your computer. Then place the copy of the folder into the backup folder you created earlier.
If you don’t have access to a converter or don’t own a computer, then have a relative or friend convert them and store them for you.
And while you’re at it, how about helping mom, dad, grandma or grandpa preserve their old albums. A brand new smartphone or MP3 player full of their favorite albums would make a GREAT gift!
7. And Then Archive The Back Up Copies
Where and how you decide to secure and store your own digital music files is up to you. But here are a few ideas:
On a password-protected flash drive or portable hard drive, and take them with you during evacuation on a key ring or in your plastic evacuation bin.
On a password-protected flash drive or portable hard drive, in a safe deposit box or water/fireproof safe in your own city.
On a password-protected flash drive or portable hard drive, in a safe deposit box, water/fireproof safe, or with relatives in the city where you’ll be evacuating.
In a password-protected online file repository like iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox or on the file directory of your personal web site. That way you can retrieve them from any Internet-enabled computer.