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Music, Audio, and Podcasting Do you use your Mac to create music? This is the place for discussions on creating and editing music on the Mac!

Backing up Music Collection


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Tapdance42

 
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I apologize if this question is elementary, but I'm not super technology-minded, and I could use some help:

I'm moving to a new apartment in a few weeks, and am contemplating donating or selling my large CD collection, which has been sitting in a corner collecting dust for the past few years. I listen to music constantly, but it's all on my iBook, so I listen via iTunes, iPod, etc. I no longer even own a CD player, other than the CD drive in my laptop. I live in NYC and don't have a ton of extra space, so it'd be a relief to get rid of the actual CDs and cases.

All of my music is on my iBook G4. It's an old computer, and I'm expecting to replace it within the next 1-2 years but can't afford to do it right now. I also have my iTunes backed up on an Iomega external hard drive.

Here's my question: Am I sufficiently backed up, or is there more I should do before parting with the actual CDs? Do I need a second hard drive? What about actual burned copies of all of my CDs? (I'm not sure if my old computer could even withstand burning 600+ CDs, but I'm guessing not!)
When I buy a new laptop in the next year or two, is it possible to transfer my music directly from the Iomega hard drive to the new computer, or will I need the actual CDs?

Again, sorry if this is really basic. I'm scared to part with my CDs and then realize I've lost my entire music collection, which has taken years to build. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!
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EndlessMac

 
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I also just backup digital music collection to an external hard drive. As long as you have two copies of your music (one on the computer and one on the external) then that should be a well enough backup solution. Transferring your music library to a new computer is easy and newer Macs has a feature called Migration Assistant which will help you transfer everything from your old Mac over to the new one.

If you are really paranoid about losing your digital music you can always sign up for an online storage website and have a third backup there. Also before getting rid of your CDs you might want to make sure you ripped the full digital quality rather than using a lower compressed quality. Once the CDs are gone you won't have the opportunity to do it. It will mean the file size will be larger but hard drives are getting much larger these days so it shouldn't but too big of an issue.

Lastly you might also want to backup your iTunes playlist if that is important to you. You can easily back them to CD/DVD under the File menu in iTunes.
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schweb

 
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And just hope RIAA doesn't ask to see the CDs you used to rip your music because what you're proposing to do is technically illegal.

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One other important point that some people forget about.
What if you were robbed or had a fire in your place, your music is likely gone.
External HD are cheap and a second clone copy stored "off site" (say a friends house or parents house) will save you.

This is just as important to plan for as the External Hard Disk you have in case of a computer failure.

DavidH
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Tapdance42

 
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Wait, I'm confused. It's illegal to sell CDs that I purchased? They're not burned copies. All were bought at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc., and for many I have the receipts. People sell CDs on eBay all the time...I had no idea it was illegal!

Am I allowed to donate them to charity? Surely this is legal, right? It is a tax writeoff but no money would change hands.

Totally paranoid now--please clarify!!
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EndlessMac

 
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I believe what schweb is talking about is that you are technically supposed to still own the CDs if you rip a digital copy of the song to your computer.

The CD cases are what really takes up a lot of physical storage space. Before I switched to buying exclusively digital song files, I stored all my CDs into sleeve booklets. It made my CD shelf a lot smaller since the CD discs themselves are not that thick and a booklet can have 4 or more CDs stored per page.
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Tapdance42

 
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Ok, thanks. So I can sell CDs that I don't care about having copies of anymore, but if it's still on my computer I can't sell it? I had no idea that was a rule. I thought if I bought a CD legally I could do whatever I wanted with it.

I guess I could put things in books, but I hate to part with the cases. I have lots of stuff that is out-of-print, and I'm pretty sure could be sold for a decent amount, but without the case I'm not sure who would buy it. It just seems stupid to keep boxes of CDs that I haven't touched in years--there isn't a whole lot of storage space in a 250 square foot NYC apartment!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapdance42 View Post
So I can sell CDs that I don't care about having copies of anymore, but if it's still on my computer I can't sell it?
I don't know exactly what the law says but I'm assuming that's what it is. Maybe someone else can clarify it better. You can probably find the answer doing a Google search though.
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schweb

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapdance42 View Post
Ok, thanks. So I can sell CDs that I don't care about having copies of anymore, but if it's still on my computer I can't sell it? I had no idea that was a rule. I thought if I bought a CD legally I could do whatever I wanted with it.
That's exactly right. You're only permitted copies of the work as long as you also still own, or are the only owner of the original source.

Technically by keeping a digital copy and then selling or even giving away the CD to someone else, you're doing the same thing as throwing that digital copy up on a P2P site in the eyes of the law.

Technically if you want to sell a CD, you need to delete all copies of that CD from your computer since you're not just selling the CD, you're selling the license you have to own the music.

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Tapdance42

 
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Thanks. That kinda sucks, though. So basically I HAVE to keep the CDs even though they're taking up room and I never touch them--I can't even throw them away or donate them to charity unless I delete the original music? I'm not terribly concerned with making money; I just don't want them taking up valuable space in my apartment.

My parents are going to be thrilled when I show up with six crates of CDs to store in their garage...
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Tapdance42

 
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One more related question--
I'm going to box everything up and take it to my parents' house for storage. That way it'll be out of my life, but still accessible if I need it, and I won't be breaking any laws However, they live several states and a couple of hours away, so it won't be EASILY accessible.

I just talked to a friend who recently had a computer crash, and ended up needing to purchase a brand new Mac. He had everything backed up on an external hard drive, but when he went to transfer his music collection, discovered that the external drive he'd used was not compatible with Snow Leopard. What kind of drive should I use/purchase to avoid a similar situation?

I'm currently backed up on an Iomega portable drive, purchased about a year ago.
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schweb

 
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This should help

Which External Hard Drive should I buy/Do you suggest?

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Schweb saved me an awful lot of typing there. He's exactly correct with regards to US copyright law. If you part with the CD, you have to part with the digital copies of any and all parts of that CD.

Think of them as the "ultimate backup" if you prefer. The solution you came up with seems like a very "sound" one. Sorry, bad pun. Couldn't resist.
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