In a post-apocalyptic Joplin, I am of the personal opinion that one cannot have too many places to store their music collection within. Perhaps I’m a little OVERprepared for disaster in this aspect, but if there’s one thing that I cannot possibly live without, it’s my music, so here are places where mine lives (5 in total, yes, I’m deranged), and perhaps one or two of these options will be useful for a normal human being as well:
- COMPUTER-- At the very least, get all of your music ripped onto the hard drive of your computer. Rip at higher bitrates for better audio quality (check the “preferences” or “settings” or “options” in your computer’s ripping software to tweak this. I use 320kbps for all my ripping.). You’ll need a disc drive to upload CDs, a tape deck, some cords, and some compatible software like Audacity to convert cassettes, and likewise a record player, Audacity, and more cords to convert records, though this process is a pain (here’s a good article on how to do this: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-20076685-285/the-cheap-way-to-convert-lps-audio-cassettes-to-digital/) so only do for things you absolutely can’t get digitally or through CD. If you need to recover music you lost in the Wretched 2011 Wind, search our illustrious library’s catalog at joplinpubliclibrary.org for CDs you can check out--you can take home 4 at a time and we have a pretty decent selection (Seriously, this one time I got to help pick out a bunch of stuff...that was AWESOME!).
- EXTERNAL BACKUP DRIVE-- Once you have all your music stored digitally, this and the following 3 music storage options are available to you. Having an external hard drive is a good idea to backup your computer in general anyway (I back-up my entire computer every 10 days), and these puppies can be had for less than a hundred bucks at RadioShack and BestBuy (Seagate is well-reviewed and has served me well--survived the year 2011, even!). If you can, lock your backup-drive away in a weather-proof enclosure for extra paranoid protection.
- iPOD CLASSIC or OTHER LARGE CAPACITY MP3 PLAYER-- This option is probably only for the really big music geeks, because this little dream-machine (the iPod classic) costs 250$ for 160GB of storage. I have all my music, movies, and pictures on my Classic. I always get a little geek-thrill stomping out of the house with only my iPod the size of a cassette tape shuffling my entire music collection. Every music-dweeb should have this distinct post-millennium pleasure.
- iTUNES MATCH or OTHER CLOUD MUSIC SERVICE: In the event that all of your earthly possessions are obliterated (the iPod, the backup drive, AND the computer) which is, unfortunately, no longer something far-fetched for a lot of us, you’ll need to also have your music backed up in the cloud, which is another way of saying uploaded to the internet. There are several services that do this: I personally use both Google Music (play.google.com) and iTunes Match, but there’s also Grooveshark, Amazon, and many other services as well. They all involve time to upload and can suck the life out of your internet connection (in the case of me uploading my 9,000 songs to Google, it took about three weeks, but it won’t be that time-consuming if you have less music or a better internet connection), but wayyy worth it if your music is the second thing you grabbed last May (I know your animals come first--or children, if you’re into that sort of thing.) before climbing out of the rubble. Check out the following article for a detailed analysis on all the cloud music storage options out there (http://lifehacker.com/5812138/cloud-music-comparison-whats-the-best-service-for-streaming-your-library-everywhere).
Remember, you don’t have to be as paranoid as me, but if you choose only two of these options, your music will feel snug and safe pending any season’s weather apocalypses. If you need tech support carrying out any of these options, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try my best to answer your questions.