Since the beginning of time music collections have been subject to all manner of catastrophes. In earlier centuries the risk was to the music itself. The singer might die, or worse, someone might sit on the lute. In more recent times we’ve been faced with the prospect of warped records, snapped cassette tape, and scratched CDs. While the risks have changed as media has evolved, one thing remains constant — true music geeks live in fear of a nightmarish event that could wipe out their entire music collection in one broad stroke.
You might think that digital music would eliminate most of the physical risk to a music collection, but that’s not the case. In fact, music collections are arguably at more risk now than ever before. While the traditional risks of theft, fire, flood, and sunlight still exist, they’ve been augmented by new risks including power surges, faulty backup media, and unstable operating systems. Not only are these new risks more likely to actually occur, when they do they’re likely to wipe out more music.
We’ve heard a lot about how media companies are trying to protect their digital assets, but we rarely hear anything about what consumers should do to protect theirs. That’s not surprising considering that major computer failures and broken iPods could ultimately lead to increased music sales.