Back Dat Lap Up: Data Backup Services For DJs

It can happen to anyone: one minute you’re at Starbucks organizing Bieber mashups and the next you’re anxiously sopping up a caramel macchiato from the keyboard, praying to the electronic gods to spare your precious MacBook Pro. But no luck; the screen is flickering, the mouse is unresponsive and the worst part: you didn’t backup your library. This might seem like a pitfall that most veteran DJs would avoid, but many of us don’t backup our library on a regular basis, if at all.

During his recent guest set on the MikiDz Show, Fourcolorzack described an incident in which he was hanging out before a gig and couldn’t find his DJ bag. “I thought somebody stole my backpack and they didn’t, so that was the highlight of my night…finding out that I still have a career.” We asked him, “But you have it all backed up somewhere else?” Zack replied, “I didn’t. But I will when I get home, I tell you that!”

Richie Hawtin’s hard drive disaster at Coachella

Other DJs aren’t so lucky. In another instance of technological turmoil, acclaimed house DJ Ritchie Hawtin was scheduled to perform at Coachella but his laptop failed just hours before showtime. He told his Instagram followers, “Unfortunately the technology that is the foundation of my career is not playing friendly today! So due to corrupt hard drive #1 and broken pins on hard drive #2, I’m not able to perform tonight at Coachella. Apologies and see you all next week!”

So why don’t more DJs protect their libraries with all the advancements in digital file management, cloud archiving and security backup?

There’s no good answer! Some are too lazy, others cocky. Regardless of the reason, you should start backing up your library before it’s too late. Here’s some resources to help you get started:

Time Machine / External Backups

Apple’s Time Machine is included with Mac OS X

For Mac users, Apple has made the process very easy and I’m regularly surprised when I meet DJs who don’t use Time Machine. The free utility is included with Mac OS X and creates incremental backups that can be restored through an external hard drive. Time Machine enables the user to restore the whole system or specific files via snapshots that are periodically taken and organized by date.

With Time Machine’s settings, users can have their files automatically backed up on schedule or whenever the designated external drive is connected which is convenient for those who are very busy.

Here’s the caveat though – Time Machine requires an external hard drive so you’re sh*t outta luck if the drive goes bad or missing. We recommend spending a few extra dollars on a hard drive with a solid reputation. Here’s some recommendations.

So what happens if the drive does go bad or missing? To prepare for this, we recommend additionally backing up to the cloud.

The Cloud / Online Backup

CrashPlan’s backup software used by DJcity

“The Cloud” refers to any kind of online backup or storage service. Cloud backup is similar to traditional backup services except your data is transferred and stored via the Internet on secure and professional severs. This is the most comprehensive method to backup your library and ensure that even if your computer and external HD are lost or damaged, you still have a backup that’s easily accessible.

There are many companies that offer cloud backup services. At DJcity, we use a service called CrashPlan+. We like CrashPlan+ because it has a simple user interface and features solid backup options including a web-based restore option, continuous backup and multiple destination support (your data can be backed up to the CrashPlan Central cloud, an external drive, securely to a friend’s computer, or all three for maximum protection). They also offer multiple payment and storage options and have valuable discount pricing for prepaid terms.

For a more comprehensive list of online backup services, read this article.

Whether external hard drives, cloud or both, make sure you choose a backup solution! As a DJ, there’s nothing worse than losing all of your favorite tracks and playlists.

Suggestions? Comments? Leave your feedback below and let us know what services/tools you prefer.